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Love Handles? It's Whatever. You're Doing Great!

There are a lot of things to like about you, including your love handles. Author and comedian Tom Papa shared an excerpt from his new book of essays, You're Doing Great! And Other Reasons to Stay Alive. 

By
Tom Papa
4-minute read
you're doing great

There are a lot of things I like about you.

First off, I love your love handles. There’s nothing wrong with love handles. You have them, you’re always going to have them. Get used to them. I have them, too. When I run down the beach, it looks like two basset hound cheeks are flapping off my sides.

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I didn’t really like them until I realized what they say about me. Each handle tells a story, like the rings on a tree. They speak of years of good times, ice-cream shops, and hot pastrami sandwiches. They tell people that I’ve enjoyed my life and there’s a good chance that the handles and I are up for anything. We love parties, late-night drinking, and birthday cakes. We eat pies, bake cookies, and aren’t afraid of dipping garlic bread into a pot of sauce when no one is looking.

Each love handle tells a story, like the rings on a tree.

That’s why I like yours, too. I know straightaway that we could be friends. When I see someone with six-pack abs, I know we won’t have fun because that person doesn’t know what fun is. Their idea of a good time is putting on tight shorts and working on their stomach muscles. Someone with love handles is putting on oven mitts and working on baking the perfect cinnamon buns. They’re fun.

I also noticed that some of you are big in the caboose. Good for you. A small backside is okay, but it takes real time and care to grow a big one. That really shows character. Nice work. A big rump is even better when it comes with big thighs and little tiny feet. That’s the balance that a good life requires.

Much of our appearance is out of our control. I’ll admit, when I see a tall, skinny guy in a perfectly tailored suit, I wonder how nice it must feel to naturally look like a fashion model. But I’ll never know because I wasn’t born that way. When I put a suit on my broad upper body I look like a former wrestler whose wife told him to get a job selling used cars on Route 17.

But at a certain point, you have to realize that we’re all fat. All of us. You’re either really fat, kind of fat, or trying not to be fat. Either way, fat’s coming. And that’s all right. Do you know why we’re fat? Because we’re winners. We’re one of the first generations that doesn’t have to fight for survival. There’s always food within arm’s reach, it’s the perfect temperature everywhere we go. Every day you wake up in America it’s a perfect seventy-two and snacky.

So you don’t have the body of an Olympic athlete. Well, you’re not an Olympic athlete. You’re Don, from sales.

So, yeah, we’re going to be a little chubby, so don’t hate on it. This is it, my friends. You’re a grown-up now. This is what you ended up looking like. Game over. So you don’t have the body of an Olympic athlete. Well, you’re not an Olympic athlete. You’re Don, from sales. You have a fat ass. You wear khakis and hike them up when you walk. That’s okay, we still like you.

So don’t tell me what you’re quitting. I don’t care. I don’t care what thing your low self-esteem told you that you should quit this week. Every day, someone comes up and tells me that they’re quitting meat, or gluten, or chewing. I really don’t care. You might be feeling bad about yourself, but you’re my friend and no diet is going to change that.

Honestly, you looked awful yesterday, you’re going to look a little worse tomorrow. Why are we even talking about this? Let’s get some ice cream and enjoy the day.

Now look, if you want to feel healthy and exercise helps your mind, I’m all for it. A good run around the block can completely change my mood. But don’t starve yourself and run around like crazy just to change your appearance. You’re fine just the way you are. Stop pressuring yourself. No one is asking us to take our shirts off for a magazine cover. Unless they start printing Kind of Chunky Weekly, we’re safe.

You’re fine just the way you are. Stop pressuring yourself. No one is asking us to take our shirts off for a magazine cover. Unless they start printing Kind of Chunky Weekly, we’re safe.

You do your best, you try and work out, but you’re going to skip. A lot. And that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Do you know why you miss workouts? Because you’re an intelligent human being and you know your life isn’t being threatened, so you’re not going to run your ass off for an hour and a half on some pretend getaway machine.

You’re doing great.

From You’re Doing Great! by Tom Papa. Copyright © 2020 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.