Body Heat

The popular opinion has it that Americans are overweight. OK, morbidly obese. It’s true that you will see many of them whose mere appeareance will make you start a diet. The same thing is true about New York, but not entirely. What may surprise you here is a large numer of people with perfect bodies. Doing sports is always fashionalbe here, always welcome and generally encouraged. Turning 30 is not an excuse to trade your stomach for a bulging tire hanging from your pants.

What’s more, you’ll see people here wearing their sports attite at every time of day, no matter the season. I remember being surprised when visiting the city in winter, when I kept seeing women and men in their sneakers, sweatshirts and shorts. Now I know all of them were on their way to the gym. The number of gyms in Manhattan is truly astounding – there’s practically one at every street corner. For Manhattanites, it means that they can get to their gym in a matter of minutes, which is why they don’t even take an extra pair of training shoes – they just wear them right away. Many New Yorkers do sports practically every day.

Jogging is at the top of the list of their favorite activities. Almost everyone runs over here and they do it in just about any place available. Practically any place is good for a little jog (or at least the joggers seem to think so). New Yorkers realize that the pace of living in their city requires keeping their bodies in good shape.

Another factor is the outside pressure, which is considerable. Sometimes it seems to me that New York city is like a great fashion show, or rather a market in which bodies are the main merchandise. If you take good care of your own body, it means that you’re consequent, you can keep temptations in check and you are a formidable person. And New York always can use formidable people.

Summer is a perfect season to see how consequent you’ve been in the past couple of months. It’s then that everyone peels off layers of clothes (it sometimes seems to me that they’d rather walk around in underwear) and start to flex their muscles. The exhibitionism level grows in a proportion that is not necessarily congruent with the objective level of one’s attractiveness –but always connected to the level of self-confidence. Since summers can be sweltering over here, men often wear the so-called wife-beaters, which expose naked shoulders (it’s worth to suffer through winter and spring for that sight…). Women wear outfits that show nearly everything – be it by virtue of the textile’s texture or the length of the design. You’ll have to admit yourself that to engage in follies like that you need a body that’s attractive. The fact that everyone may have their own definition of what the latter means, is a different story altogether.