I knew growing up would mean a lot of changes for my friends and me. I thought I was prepared for them. I wouldn’t mind seeing Pete less when he got a girlfriend. If I never talked to Jeff again after he went to college on the other side of the country I wouldn’t have minded. If Nick started getting really into Ayn Rand and became insufferable, I would have been intellectually and emotionally prepared to deal with it.
But then they got thin.
All my friends and I stayed close. They just all lost weight and started dressing better. And here I am in my Godzilla T-shirt wondering when the life I knew ended. I went to high school with a gang of lovable goofs. Nerds, really. Gym class was anathema to us. We ate a lot of pizza every Friday. Everyone dressed like slobs and we never exercised and we were happy about it. We weren’t much to look at and the girls didn’t love us. But we liked ourselves and everyone had fun.
Somewhere along the way one of my friends became a pescatarian. Did I miss the warning signs? Did everyone else get a memo about having to look fit all of a sudden? Now when I hang out with my friends all I hear are conversations like this:
“Do you want to do shoulders today?”
“No, I did shoulders yesterday. How about we do legs?”
Let’s exercise our fingers! Super Smash Bros! (me)
“Want to get something to eat?”
“Nah, I already had half a salad.”
I hate you. (me)
“That’s a nice cardigan.”
“Thanks, I had been eyeing for a while.”
This is the worst. (me)
On one hand, I’m right in the sense that people shouldn’t really care what other people think about them. If a girl doesn’t like you because you don’t have a six-pack, that isn’t your problem—it’s hers. But of course on the other hand it probably is objectively better not to be a fat slob. My friends look better, are healthier, and probably feel better about themselves, so more power to them.
But I hate them.
I’m just being selfish. I don’t like working out. I’m in danger of being the fat one. I used to be the athletic one because my dad made me play Little League for years. My ego can’t handle this. I’ve been on the fun side of fat jokes for years and I’m not sure I can handle reversal.
My friends look good in their boat shoes and khaki shorts, but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the ratty New Balance and dad jeans they used to wear. I’m not going to switch my wardrobe just to conform to whatever is cool now. I’ll stick with my Converse and funny T-shirts and I think my jeans fit well. Maybe I could stand to lose a few pounds. But I will not lose my freewheeling attitude.