PC 55 Male Waistlines

If you’re female, you don’t need to read any further; of course, you may want to?

We’d had a small supper party the night before. It was an autumnal meal, fairly simple yet wholesome; bruschetta, roasted vegetables and salmon, and apple & blackberry crumble. Oh! And custard – because you can’t have crumble without custard! What follows are thoughts that flew around the inside of my empty skull in the early morning, about 0415. I could not get back to sleep and had to write them down. To do this, I put my bedside light on, apologising to Celina for doing so. On other occasions I have come into our living room and, having poured myself a small glass of orange juice, scribbled half-asleep by the light from the open fridge door. It’s always curious to discover if any of these dubious pearls of wisdom are readable in the cold light of morning; only you can judge the content!

You may recall my rather immature descriptions of feeling bloated in PC 28 ….. “ … I felt like one of those large rubber bouncing balls, with two large hand holds, that children can ride on. “Bounce! Bounce.!” ….. except I had feet at the other end ….. just the middle that was so bloated. Puffer fish pump themselves up when confronted with danger. That was exactly how I felt, like a Puffer fish!

My tummy felt full, as I imagined it would be if pregnant; it was stuffed up under the ribcage! There was a photograph many years ago of a supposedly six-month pregnant man, wearing a godforsaken sweater, advertising the Family Planning Association? “Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?” ran the subtext. Well, in this early morning, that’s me! I needed a pee. I got up and sleepily walked to the ensuite; I had somehow to get my huge tummy in so that I could stand over the loo. A chum of mine once said that one of the problems of developing a belly is that you can’t see your willy! And despite what you girls think, we need to! OK! You can do it by feel, but there’s something very necessary about a visual. One sees it in public loos. Chaps unzip or unbutton and bend forward to make sure it’s ….. still there? … hasn’t got caught up in your knickers? … ‘out’, so that when you pee the output goes where it should? These are all legitimate concerns for us men; well, certainly for me!

I’ve always thought that my behind was a sensible size, in proportion to my body, as it were, not too big and not too small; shades of Goldilocks and the three bears huh? Well, all this Bikram Yoga changes your body shape, so much so that my bum has become quite small – at the same time as my tummy sadly has got, er, larger. OK! I know there is a tendency for male waistlines to grow larger from middle age, but my centre of gravity used to run down through my spine. If I leant forward the body adjusted to a different centre – or you fall over, forwards or backwards. But now, with an expanding stomach in front, and a shrinking bum er behind, you have to lean a little backwards to maintain the centre of gravity. However I greedily attach myself to the belief I read in some well-respected medical magazine that taking Statins, as I do post-heart bypass, encourages the intake of some 10% more calories than I need –so straight onto the waist line! Nothing I can do about it then?!!

Carly Simon’s 1972 song “You’re So Vain” always runs around inside my head! In fact the newspapers only this week reported she’s admitted that one verse refers to Warren Beatty. So not me then! Am I? Vain? Since my tummy’s got bigger, I hate walking past a shop window and seeing a reflection of myself. My military training, so many years ago, had taught me to stand upright: “Neck in the back of the collar! Mr Yates Sir!” Sergeant Cameron screamed two inches from my face on the parade ground at Sandhurst. Now worn-out neck vertebrae prevent this. “Who’s that old man with the pot belly? Oh! God! It’s me!!”


The growing tummy has an effect on my clothes obviously. At what point do I give up trying to pretend that I still have a size 34 inch waist and recognise that even I am not immune to the ravages of time (you hear the personal disbelief loud and clear in these words?) But it would mean taking quite a few clothes to the charity shop so there must be another way? Currently, by the end of the day, the waist band of my knickers has been folded in two by the tummy pressure. The measurement Body Mass Index comes to mind, as well as that ratio waist to bum. If your bum’s getting smaller and your waist bigger ….. er …..

One of the causes of my tummy getting bigger could be water retention. We sweat so much in our Bikram Yoga sessions, about a litre and a half, that the body adjusts by carrying more fluid, in preparation; otherwise you could get dehydrated quite quickly. You might also think that all this Bikram Yoga should give one a ‘six-pack’, so there would be no possibility of developing a middle-aged spread. We certainly do some 14 double sit-ups in each session, and yes, there was a hint of one some years ago, but sadly I suspect now that the weight of my tummy has crushed it ….. or maybe simply buried it!!

Of course most people tend to lose weight when they are going through the dying embers of a relationship. I say ‘most’ people because some binge-eat to cope with the sadness. The converse is certainly true; when you are in a loving and fulfilling relationship …… you put on weight. Maybe my growing waistline is simply a reflection of my wonderful life with Celina …… and I should not worry at all? Pass another piece of coffee cake please? I climb back into bed ….. and the dreams restart.

“I had a dream.” Ah! Yes! Now, can I read what I scribbled?

Richard – 21st November 2015 – richardyates24@gmail.com

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