Being A Back Guy Living In An Ab Guy World

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I’m a back guy. Always have been. I popped out of the womb looking like a longshoreman from the early 1900s who just got off his sixteen-hour shift unloading cargo down on the docks of the Delaware River. If you saw me on the streets, you’d immediately assume I was either a ditch digger, an old school coal miner that prefers using a pickax and has yet to adopt and accept modern day machinery, or a mover who specializes in heavy antique clocks. That’s just what a monster back says about a man. It’s blue-collar, reserved, and unpretentious. The modest muscle in an immodest world.

We live in a social media obsessed, look-at-me society driven by flash. Everywhere you look — whether it be in the movies, commercials, billboards, your girlfriend’s text messages from her coworker Billy who’s “just a friend” — it’s engrained in our heads from a young age that you need to have rock hard, chiseled-from-the-lightning-hands-of-Zeus-himself six pack abs. This shallow and vain culture has done us a great disservice with this extremely distorted portrayal of masculinity. It couldn’t be more wrong. You know who has abs? The 140-pound twig who has never worked for them a day in his life. Or, the guys that have the audacity to walk into a prestigious steakhouse, look the waiter square in the eye, and utter the words “lemon pepper grilled chicken.” These assholes no-call no-show to happy hour with the boys all the time and skip out on game day drinking because “that’s wasted calories, brah.”

That’s not a man. Real men aren’t threatened to be blown away like a plastic bag into the midnight sky with the slightest breeze. Real men order the biggest porterhouse on the menu, load up on sides, and bring a 30 pack to split with a friend for the early afternoon kickoff. Real men aren’t ab guys; they’re back guys.

Triple H, Quasimodo, the green alien from Space Jam: all back guys. Do you think an ab guy is tossing motherfuckers off cathedrals out of revenge? Of course not. But our boy Quasi sure did. He chucked Frollo off Notre Dame like he was a crumpled up piece of loose leaf paper. The green Monstar? Stopped Michael Jordan dead in his tracks at the end of Space Jam. It’s not his fault MJ stretched his arm half a basketball court in length for the game winning dunk. How was he supposed to account for that? And why wasn’t the Toon Squad investigated for performance enhancing drugs? What exactly is “Michael’s Secret Stuff?” All I’m saying is extending your arm that far just doesn’t seem natural. Plus, Bang, the green Monstar, contributed a workmanlike, low key six important points throughout the game, all by dunks. He didn’t get too cute with it, and was all about having a team first mentality. Quintessential back guy move, never taking the “me first” approach.

Back guys never flaunt our mountainous wings or parade around perched out like a peacock trying to lay pipe. You ever try to take a back selfie. You can’t. Overlook the fact that it’s not even in a back guy’s DNA to even attempt such a narcissistic stunt, there’s just no comfortable way to physically perform the photo. Do you look at the mirror through the camera or do you look straight ahead? It’s just one awkward flex while holding onto your phone that never comes out remotely right after another. So rest assure, ladies, you’ll never get an uncomfortable shirtless selfie from the back guy you’ve hooked up with over the weekend. For both aesthetic reasons and fundamental principles.

It’s never a dick measuring contest or demonstration for all to see at the gym with a back guy. He puts on his long sleeve t-shirt, throws on some ’80s hair metal, and gets to work. While ab guy is taking up two adjustable cable stations while doing windshield wipers holding onto the middle pull up bar, back guy simply keeps to himself and reps the entire rack on the lat pulldown machine with ease. Back guy grab. Back guy pull. He’s not the dingleberry who uses his whole body for momentum, either. Much like our general attitude in life, it’s cool, calm, and under control.

Sure, it may be unconventional to today’s standards and it may not be a glamorous life, as women and the rest of the world may overlook and under-appreciate us much like we overlook and under-appreciate our team selecting a lineman in the first round of the NFL draft. But us back guys have always preferred to fly under the radar anyway.

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