I’ve been a big guy my whole life. Growing up, I was always one of the tallest kids in my class, and I graduated high school with a solid frame of 6 foot 2, weighing 230 pounds. I then became a Division II offensive lineman and finished my football career at a massive 320 pounds. I was eating six enormous meals a day, lifting stupidly heavy amounts of weight, and waking up long before sunrise to complete bowel-loosening conditioning workouts. After I quit the inglorious, obscure, and partial scholarship world of D-II athletics, I immediately began to chip away at the excess bulk, and by graduation, I had dropped 50 pounds.
Looking good as a bigger guy isn’t hard at all if you try. I dated my fair share of cuties throughout my oversized playing career, and I never felt like a tub of goo when I looked in the mirror. One day, I just noticed that I was literally the biggest person in the room most of the time, and the confidence that came with that realization has worked out pretty well for me. But with the onslaught of postgrad happy hour weight creeping in, looking your best as a big man is getting harder than ever. Here’s my game plan for always having a shot with the ladies, even when you’re a hefty-sized dude.
- XXL slim fit shirts. Quizzically named, but these are lifesavers. I love them because they’re tight around the shoulders, but they give the ribs just enough breathing room to avoid pit stains. Shop big and tall if you have to, and always know your size just in case you stumble upon a deal.
- Undershirts. They’re $10 at Walmart–there’s no excuse.
- Personal hygiene in general. This means keeping your teeth from yellowing, upgrading to something other than Axe shampoo, and keeping your face and neck well-groomed. You are not Tom Brady, and unkempt scruff isn’t as cute as it once was.
- Don’t go more than four weeks without a haircut. Over the years, I’ve had pretty good luck with women stylists over 40 and gay stylists under 30. Find something that works and stick with it; I always ask for the Jon Hamm or the Tim Tebow.
- Push sleeves up to the elbow. Different men have different rules when it comes to sleeve-rolling, but as long as you don’t roll the cuffs more than once, you should be fine.
- Forearm veins. I have a theory that bulging forearm veins are to girls what bulging cleavage is to guys: pleasant to look at. Even if you’re in terrible shape, start knocking out daily pushups and they’ll show up in no time.
- Steering wheel squeezes. This sounds ridiculous, but it completely works 100 percent of the time. As per above, when you want your veins to pop right after getting out of a car (like when picking up a date), squeeze the steering wheel hard (as you would a stress ball) repeatedly up to 20 times. Repeat if necessary.
- Buy top-of-the-line khaki shorts. As big men, our calf muscles should always look firm and sexy in shorts, because they have to prop up the rest of our mass all day, every day, for the rest of our lives.
- Shoulder shrugs and planks. Never forget these two exercises at the gym. Big traps go a long way toward lengthening your torso (a trick I learned from Cosmo) and having a strong core keeps you in the game come beach season.
- Keep a base tan between April and October. Make an effort to go outside or hit the booth. Lesser of two evils: the only thing worse than a dumpy-looking guy is a dumpy-looking guy with a farmer’s tan.
- Have cooler hobbies than in shape dudes. We all love video games, but that’s strike two for someone who thinks being big is strike one. Downright lie if you have to. For example, I like skydiving, swimming with sharks, and hunting bears. I’ve only done one of those things, but who the fuck cares?
- Be more interesting than in shape dudes. They’re your competition, so win or go home. Same logic as above–be a problem-solver and figure it out.
- Never order a burrito bowl. That’s just embarrassing.
- Beards help erase double chins. So does tilting your chin slightly up while speaking and listening in conversation.
- The friend zone is your ally. I love having girls as friends. They give you girlfriend-quality fashion advice, plus they’re awesome to stand next to at bars. You can still flirt with girls and be nice to them even if they have no intention of sleeping with you, which keeps your skills sharp. Plus, when other girls show interest, you’d be shocked how many alcohol-induced bad decisions have shattered what was once the friend zone.
- Be good at stuff that girls need. Auto mechanics, shoe salesmen, and plumbers never stay single for long, because no girl wants to end up with a guy who can’t unclog a toilet.
- Work out. Come on bro, the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. If it was easy, everyone would be in shape. I’m not saying you need to go all “Rocky IV” and run through a blizzard up a mountain, but you should at least have a gym membership. Or an apartment fitness center. Or a backpack full of old textbooks. Jog when you can, drink your liquor straight when you can, and keep raging. It’s all you can do.