When To Show Off and When Not to Show Off

As a roller coaster enthusiast I often spend my days off riding coasters and this July 4th Holiday was no different. I went with my brother and niece to Cedar Point (a large amusement park in Sandusky, OH. If you haven’t heard of it just watch the Travel Channel during the summer and it will be mentioned sooner or later) to ride their latest entry into the coaster wars, Gatekeeper.

I didn’t expect anything unusual to happen this day – other than a good time on “America’s Roller Coast” – but something happened that got me thinking about when is the right time to show off your hard earned gains in the gym and when is not the right time.

Now guys, let’s face it. There’s no real sense to  having boulder sized shoulders and bulging biceps if you can’t break out the old tank top on a nice summer day occasionally right? Even I have been known to wear a tank top or two back in the day (last week?) with the thought of “yeah, I look good” and there’s nothing wrong with this. So, as one could predict there were plenty of guys in the park in their tight Under Armour shirts and tank tops, clearly letting the guns out for some air yesterday. Hey, if I were still in what I consider “top shape” (which is a relative term for me) I might have done the same. No harm, no foul as they say. I should also mention that there were also a lot of gals doing the same thing, though they weren’t showing off their bis and shoulders but their, umm, pecs shall we say (again, no harm there either).

But here’s the interesting thing that happened. It turns out that there where a lot of scattered showers yesterday one of which happened while we were in line for Gatekeeper. Now as every dedicated coaster enthusiast knows you don’t let a little rain force you out of line. In fact, we knew that there was a strong possibility of rain and had come prepared (I was in a Nike “dry fit” shirt and sandals so that I would dry out quickly for example). So we’re in line and the sprinkle becomes a regular down pour. That’s when I hear my niece say “oh it’s raining and Mr. Six Pack has to take his shirt off.” From several rows away she had spotted a guy, who to be fair was in exceptional shape, and his friends who had decided to take their shirts off because of the rain. Now it was still raining so this wasn’t done to wring their shirts out or even to use the shirt to cover the heads of their girlfriends (especially since these guys seemed to be without dates at the moment at least). Nope, I think my niece was right, they just looked for an opportunity to show off their abs. “Oh well,” I thought, “if I was in that good of shape I might do the same thing I guess.” The line kept moving as people ahead of us got out of it to seek shelter and the rain continued. I then hear the comments of a couple young women ahead of me in line as they had notice “Mr. Six Pack” and I was a little surprised. Instead of hearing “wow, look at the build on that guy” I heard “Abercrombie model.” I followed their line of sight and sure enough, they were looking at Mr. Six Pack and his buddies. By the way, he was probably a little big for an Abercrombie model but not a competitive bodybuilder. I’d say fitness model size and shape for what it’s worth.

Now by this time Mr. Six Pack had reached a point in the queue where he could be seen by just about everyone in line (it’s hard to describe it was a corner near an open section). He’s there for a moment when one of his friends nudges him and says something to him and he looks around and I presume he notices that he is essentially visible to everyone. How does he react? Does he go back to his conversation? Put his shirt on (since the rain is letting up)? Or just ignore that he is so visible? Nope, none of the above. He smiles and strikes a bodybuilding pose (I should know the name of the pose but it escapes me at the moment but you’ve seen it a thousand times a single bicep flex with the alternate arm pointed to the heavens. Arnold was the master of it).

Now the women in line ahead of me have a different comment “yeah, he looks good but he also looks like a tool.” So where a moment or two ago they were enjoying his impromptu show (taking the shirt off) with one pose he lost their interest. Now he was several rows away, you couldn’t hear anything he was saying, he didn’t stand on a railing and force anyone to look at him, but by posing it was clear that he knew how he looked and didn’t mind that everyone was noticing him. This turned him from a “model” to a “tool.”

What’s the lesson to take away from here? Well, I think it’s simple. It’s okay to look good, and it’s okay to occasionally let others know you look good as long as you don’t let others know that you know you look good, too. There’s a fine line it seems between “nice” and “yuck.”

Let me know what you think.

Oh, by the way, I kept my shirt on the whole day – much to the delight of everyone else in the park I’m sure!

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