Comedian Russell Kane on bigorexia: ‘What I learnt from my dad’ | BBC Ideas
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Comedian Russell Kane on bigorexia: ‘What I learnt from my dad’ | BBC Ideas

November 16, 2019


We are in an epidemic of bigorexia
and male body dysmorphia – men who look in the mirror and
see either Peperamis or blobs, rather than the medium-sized body
they’ve probably got. I’m talking about men descending
into the equivalent of anorexia. Bigorexia. Neurosis about
the way we look. Looking in the mirror
and seeing what isn’t you. Going after an unrealistic goal that
can ultimately damage your health. On my latest lads’ holiday, five of my friends
refused to take their T-shirts off because they were insecure
about how they looked. Back in my dad’s day it was like,
man boobs out, bombing the pool. Steroid usage, massively prevalent. Just look at the reality TV shows – you can’t get that body just
from doing a little bit of cardio. If you think I’m just being dramatic, we live in an era where
male suicide is at its highest. Male eating disorders are on
the rise. This is a huge thing. Men are looking in the mirror
and their brains are tripping out. The end result, Cardiff high street is full of people that look like they were
made by the X-Men. These are men injecting themselves.
This is bigorexia in action. I ask these men,
they say back to me… “Women want a big strong bloke
that’ll lift them up.” Sometimes they drop into morse code – dot, dot, dash, dot, dot,
dash, testosterone, dot, dot, dash.
Meat, metal, football. Listen ladies, I don’t presume
to understand what women want. But mostly, gentlemen, the primary characteristic
that a woman is looking for is a man that isn’t an arse – something that will be made
much, much worse if you inject yourself
with steroids. Ironically. Bigorexia is not new.
It has come in several phases. It started with Joe Weider
and Arnold Schwarzenegger when bodybuilding
exploded years ago. My dad was heavily involved. My dad’s neck
was bigger than my thigh. It’s true though. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t
eat healthily, be a bit toned, do some exercise,
make an effort, gents. Everyone likes that. What I’m suggesting is,
in our culture, it can be a bit of a turn off
to be a bit too perfect. I know it goes against everything we
know about Darwinian evolution, but British people are not
attracted to perfection. It made me the opposite
of my old man. He was 17 stone, shaven-headed,
doorman, metal welder, lifeguard, semi-competitive bodybuilding
oiled athlete nut job, and he had me for a son – a skinny Peperami stick with a
glittery question mark over the top: “I quite like theatre, daddy.” But I do have a connection to this. I’ve never used steroids myself.
Really, Poirot? But my dad did.
My dad massively used steroids. He injected it. He lifted massively heavy weights, and it turned his aortic valve, the
one that looks like a Mercedes sign, into a bicuspid
double triangular flap. That could happen to you gentlemen. So instead of three flaps opening every time you breathe
in and out, two. And over the years it sticks,
sticks, sticks, sticks and if you make it to 60,
you’ll be lucky. That’s what happened to my dad.
Heart attack, boom. Gone. Very sad. The only up side? I can now do stand-up about
him and pay my mortgage. Stay healthy, gents.

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