The fickle world of the fashion pages has decided finally to fall on my side.
Sadly this does not mean that my brightly coloured chinos are being trumpeted by the haute couture houses. Nor does it appear that favourite tasselled loafers are making a break for the front page of Paris Vogue.
Rather it appears that the slither of fashion au courant is the, apparently, desired physical shape of ‘the dad body’…
I discovered this new athletic phenomenon when thumbing through a supplement in The Times a few weeks ago and had assumed that it was a ringing endorsement for bodies shaped like my father’s, Stephan Fry’s, or Flávio Briatorio’s.
These inimitable gentlemen have appetites for the finer things in life – refined clothes swathe their large wine filled post-luncheon bellies, stories flow from their wine-stained lips and the idea of a protein shake sends their body into convulsions! These chaps do indeed have bodies to admire but perhaps not ones to be advertised in health supplements.
I cogitated on the matter further, thinking of a Rwandan friend who always complains that in Kigali the ladies shun his rippling physique for his more corpulent chums – the larger the gent the bigger the harem of admirers.
Had this phenomenon spread to our more vain Isles? Was it time for us to eat and drink like Ernest Hemingway?
I eagerly hoped this was the new calorie laden diet I had been waiting for – down tools never exercise, unless walking to the pub or restaurant counted. Gorge on woefully naughty nibbles and become perfectly potbellied and be admired the world over.
However, when I followed my investigative nose and delved further into the subject, I discovered this was – regrettably – not the case.
The Dad body appears to be a retrospective diet based on Leonardo’s body – not the genius humanist Renaissance man – but the usually stick thin Di Caprio.
The brilliant actor has been on a sabbatical this year, pottering around the world from five star beach resorts to opulent yachts. With this ‘travelling’, Leo has eschewed his Hollywood diet and exercise regime – shunning the endless agonies for the pursuit of perfect abs – and enjoyed a few club sandwiches and lunchtime bots of Rose. Coupled with a smattering of light gym work and the odd cardiovascular session, Di Caprio has accidentally pioneered the dad body.
Before you spit your gin across the computer in an expostulation of disbelief, I am in no way shape or form comparing my limp pale torso to that of a beautiful Hollywood actor’s!
It is merely that old Leo is the current poster boy for hungry dipsomaniacal chaps who like to play a smattering of sport twice a week. We like life and are adamant that we will eternally fit in our funeral suit but won’t say no to a second helping of steak at Le Relais de Venise or that seventh G ‘n T.
So it appears the ridiculous desire for us chaps to follow diets and obsess about our body shape is coming to an end – and I say amen to that.
Those who want to obtain a sportsman’s body need motivation, abstinence, money, early bedtimes, and an enjoyment of the gym. The gym has been an ungraspable concept to me – I like to play sport with a competitive end to it; but please kill me if I ever have a ‘leg day’!
There is also a hollow sadness in eyes of the chaps one often sees shuffling to the gym before work – I’m told that in their little backpacks they have a couple of protein shakes and bars, which apparently complement the endless Tupperware boxes of grilled chicken and broccoli. The lonely half an hour on the treadmill is conjoined by another silent half an hour doing certain routines suggested by Men’s Health magazine.
Whilst all of this is taking place at 6.00AM, the children of the dad body are sleeping like satisfied bears. Breakfast will be toast or yogurt, perhaps something unhealthy. We may have lunch but will definitely have supper washed down with a bot. Exercise isn’t diurnal, it is often a game of squash with a pal or cricket with loads of them and a lonely swim or run to keep us match fit for the others.
The irony of this apparent new fad is that the metro gym bunny will now be scouring all sorts of health websites and consulting the mags in the pursuit of the zeitgeist body, which is essentially a normal bloke’s body.