I’m a guy and I have proof of that available. With my pit hair, alphabetized jersey collection, inundated Bumble profile, and enough testosterone to fuel an African Elephant, there is no denying my masculinity. Under the guise of my XY chromosomes, I revel the opportunity to unwind to Sports Center with a shitty whey protein mix in hand. With such apparent machismo, normally, I’d hide the guilty pleasures that could revoke my man card. Not a soul would know I piss sitting down nor that candy gum drop medley is the scent of my Garnier conditioner. Fortunately, the gender bending stigma of enjoying fashion shows is no longer taboo, as our shining for designer chic has become unisex. So, when The Super Bowl of the fashion industry broadcasts, you can bet your ass my DVR was set to capture every frame and curve Victoria’s Secret graced us with last Tuesday. I took $9 dollars to Duane Reade and bought the two MANdatories, hand lotion and tissues. For us guys, it’s no secret that we are watching for the treasure that lies beneath the scant braziers and ornate wings, rather than the latest and greatest in lingerie. I’m definitely a guy and I know why I watch. But, majority of the audience is still fem, and my sister, mother, girlfriend, and coworkers all confirmed that they had zero intent on purchasing the 4-figure underwear. So why watch? Well, in the world of gender neutral bathrooms and Kris Jenner, it’s clear that we’re not so different, you and me. In laymen’s, girls are also watching to see the hottest girls on Earth. Unlike us though, they’re not smiling and the tissues on deck aren’t happy ones either.
I have heard the war cries, and know full heartedly what happens when girls see other girls that are “prettier” than themselves. Call it jealousy. Call it frustration. Whatever the label, when Candace and Gigi and Kendall strut their near X-Rated beauty down the cat walk…it pains you. I kept my ear to the pavement and heard the female sentiment towards the angels as follows: There goes perfection, or at least what society see’s that to be, and here I sit, a fugly monstrosity, doomed to die fat and alone. They are the angels and we, the hell dogs, so let’s open our gullets and eat to the bottom of the Benny & Jerry’s pint…fuck Halo Top. I am emotional!” Y’all took the same $9-dollar budget to Duane Reade and paid for your version of the Victoria’s Secret starter pack. Sugars, carbs, alcohol, and, you even raised the ante by buying TWO packs of tissues…one for the left eye and one for the right. Also, it’s worth pointing out that you will be watching the show with the squad, rather than in candle lit solitude like the boys, as misery always seems to love company. If a VS Angel epitomizes the female specimen, and represents #Goals, then why is the grocery list for the occasion more suitable for a sumo wrestler?
Before the banshees and harlots and sirens cry foul that some dumb writing guy doesn’t understand tonight’s plot and plight, I will counter and say, that I am trying very hard to do so. I agree. Bodily appearance and the emotional pressures women feel are more substantial than that of men. The VSFS shines a flood light on that issue, exposing the tentacles to this societal problem. In all honesty, it seems to be an archaic gender norm that we will always be fighting tooth and nail to debunk. Even if you live under a rock, the 2017 sexual misconduct narrative makes the challenge of dissecting gender inequality even more daunting…which is why this can of Title 9 worms will remain closed tonight. So please, don’t hate me.
Rather than waging war against an enemy like sexism, let’s instead draw swords against the more topical pressure you don’t need a cervix to feel. It’s like we see our dreams in motion, then do the exact opposite actions to achieve them. Our coveted Angels are walking, so we celebrate with a munch-sesh that couldn’t be more contrary to the #Goals that the angels stand to be for the female body? Our behaviors and habits make us regress more often than not; ones into that forbid future actualization of the goal. Cmparisons are one of the best ways to trigger bad behavior, and that is the root of today’s evil. When the “normal” girl has to juxtaposes herself against a 6-foot, 110lb South African goddess who appears to have been chiseled by Michael Angelo himself, it nudges us into a strange, self-cannibalizing predicament. A perfect body, is answered with a binge mentality…but this wasn’t the fault in having #goals (“wanting to look like that”) rather it’s the pitfalls that present themselves when a bar is set wayyyyy too high.
Ok, so we have diverged from the topic of body and sex appeal, and we are going to find a common cord we can all relate to and we’re going with performance #goals, say, in the office or at work. In this lens, the VS Angel is equitable to an 8-figure income. The couch potato eating Doritos on the night of the show, is the entry level employee still in year one (me!). I’ll put my own 9-5 under the microscope, where the road from A to Z is as long and toiling as any. To achieve the 8-figure goal, metrics and volume standards are implemented. Sales is just the Law of Averages in motion, where increased output is the best way to inflate the probability of success. So, metrics and volume act as the rungs to the ladder, and the standard for a good call day can be set. The smart sales manager will set a feasible goal that allows the reps to surpass it daily, albeit with 5mg of Adderall and iced coffee. 50 calls in 8 hours? No problem. What about 100 calls? Well now we have an issue. When the standard is set too high and deemed impossible, we start to allow ourselves to fall short of the goal and accredit the failure to the pie-in-the-sky benchmark. At my desk job, a 100-call mandate may actually result in a performance dip, as a wave of fuck it cascades on the team and dissuades the ambition to push for that hard. Boom, now I’m making 20 calls in 8 hours, and you’re wearing a Snuggy eating potato chips and Nutella. The movement from A to Z seems near impossible, so both our logic and momentum crumbles. I cry for more money, but the means to get there seem too grand, so I forfeit. On Tuesday, some cried for a bust and waist identical to Alessandra, instead spent the $9 dollars at Duane Reade.
Here’s the quick science. Every sales manager, fitness trainer, life coach, and self-help guru will tell you that the key to goal setting is to set SMART goals. A work place psychologist named Dr. Edwin Locke devised this acronym, saying goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. When goals aren’t SMART, they become detrimental toxins, capable of thwarting our efforts to this regression point. Example: See hot girl, aspire to be hot girl, try to be hot girl in 5 days, fuck up the “master plan”, eat like truck driver.”
Failure Becomes Excusable: Victoria’s Secret Angels gallivant in negative dress sizes with their picturesque skin and gravity defying booties. Not crazy to imagine some people may want to be a model (or top salesman). Specific? Hardly. “Perfection” is now the goal, but that’s can’t not measurable. Our shortcomings are then coupled with an excuse for the failure. The lack of kale supply and blue powder diuretics means the weight loss goal wasn’t plausible this week. Strike One.
Failure Becomes Acceptable: Our excuses for our shortcomings start to pile up. I couldn’t make 100 calls because my lunch meeting overran and the phones were down between 2-2:10.. The goal was never attainable. We let ourselves off the hook last week, so what’s wrong with extending our deadline or ultimatum until next week? I lost today, but that’s why we have tomorrow. Strike two.
Failure Becomes Expected: Failure is now becoming part of our schedule, and your desire to walk with the angels is too fleeting to ever achieve. If we just want to shed some weight and build our stamina in the gym, we could call that relevant, but we want the whole 9 yards. In my example, 100 calls would take 100 hours…that is a time-bound, but I don’t have the hours available. I’ll never meet the standard, so why bother? Failure is now part of the genome, and we totally and completely let ourselves off the hook. Failure has become expected, and the fuck it mentality is now your calling card. 10 calls a day. 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Strike three. You’re out.
If you’re still here, you’re probably even more depressed than the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show left you. I apologize. In all honesty, two claps are more than deserved for the people in life who utilize each day to better themselves. The name of the game is progression, and goal seeking behavior is one of the best ways to assure successful human development. The Victoria’s Secret subject matter is full of tumult, as our beloved lady friends want perfection and are shown that the Perfect 10 is indeed possible, upon seeing the models take the stage. Like making the NBA or holding down the fort in a corner office on Park Ave, this standard is only achievable by an iota of the applicants…if that. While the spoils of perfection are “possible” for some, for most, they are not and will never be. **Millennials sob** A goal should be set to catalyze action in the right direction, not derail the freight train to Self-Loathing, USA. Perhaps it’s the guys fault, for the weight we place on image for you girls. We can’t shoulder all the blame though, for your desire to look the way you want to look –or look the way they look-, will always be a self-prescribed affliction. While you are all VS models in your own light, the divine creatures we ooed and ahhed are the one-offs. Set your own standards and crush them. Don’t chase someone else’s waterfall, because once failure is expected, the battle has been lost.