When is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

You all may think I’m a super-confident, courageous, dauntless guy, the way I write posts about being a super-confident courageous, dauntless guy. But I’m really not. I’m actually probably a little insecure about myself which is why I spend so much time worrying about whether my hair is out-of-place or if my clothes look okay or how my abs look underneath a freshly-pressed dress shirt and v-neck sweater.

(See how I snuck that little key word in there!)

Just kidding, I don’t really have abs. I mean, sure, I actually have abs… as in abdominal muscles… we all have abs, but they’re just covered up with layers of doughnuts and bacon and wine.

But I’m talking about abs… like serious Ryan Gosling abs!


I looked back on some old photos and as much as I like to think that I did, I’m not sure I’ve ever really had abs.

Well, maybe I had abs when I was in elementary school (if by abs you mean like the distended stomach of a starving Ethiopian child from a 1980’s Oxfam commercial.)

Or maybe I had abs in high school (if by abs you mean like the protruding rib cage of a waifish uber model on the runway at a New York City fashion show.)

Or maybe I had abs in College (if by abs you mean a “six pack” of Busch Lite three or four nights a week.)

When is it okay to stop wanting to have abs… serious Ryan Gosling abs? To just say fuck it, I’m gonna let it all hang out, saggy old man skin and all. What is it about abs that makes us do countless reps of painful, hellish exercises, even when we are long past the age where that should really matter?

What does great abs really get us?

Other than the fact that a strong core helps avoid serious back problems, there’s likely no evolutionary benefit to having great abs. Did Oog walk around the cave in low-cut Saber Tooth Tiger under pants showing off his inguinal crease with all the cave chicks giggling and saying “Oooooh… Oog Hot”?

I don’t think so.

In fact, Oog probably packed on a little covering of “insulation” during those lean hunting seasons, and from those occasional days sitting on the couch eating Woolly Mammoth burgers and fermented berries.

Did Oog have any trouble impressing chicks? Guessing not or we wouldn’t be here today.

So when is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

When I’m 50, would it be okay then? That’s only a few years away. How about when I get to 60, would it be okay then to stop wanting to have serious Ryan Gosling abs? When I’m 60, even Ryan Gosling will probably have stopped working on his abs.

I stay in pretty good shape and I’ve never had any trouble keeping my weight where it should be. I work out somewhat regularly in a patched-together gym in one of my barns, and I walk a few miles a day around the house turning off lights that my kids leave on and looking for stuff that I can’t remember where I left.

But each year that goes by, the odds of actually ever seeing my abs again becomes slimmer and slimmer. They’re like that old friend in High School that you promised to stay in touch with but just can’t seem to make it happen.

But I keep trying.

So when is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

What do you think?

It’s okay, take your time… while you’re composing your answers, I’ll be out in my barn for a couple of hours trying to locate my inguinal crease.


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37 responses to “When is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

  1. If you just hold on a second or two, advertising and cultural body fetishizing will come up with a new body part for you to obsess about, like having a washboard forehead. I waited a few years and hit the jackpot when big asses became all the rage. I worked on that for years and years. Now people are paying for rump implants and I can sit (very comfortably) in my smugness.

  2. I think you shouldn’t care about abs now. You’re already doing enough turning off all those lights (what are the odds — that is my main source of exercise too!) It’s much easier for me to give up on having abs due to the fact having two babies pretty much ruined them forever anyway. Oh, and all that bacon I seem to be eating constantly…

  3. I still care. It gets harder (to get there) as you get older. But I’m a runner, and when it get’s into the 80’s in a few months, I want to be able to run down the trail without a shirt, and not have to worry about how my abs look.
    I’m 68.

  4. the only 6 pack I ever have contains an alcohol content of 6%

  5. We’ve talked about this. 🙂 Go for it. And post your “after” pics.

  6. It’s all perspective I suppose. I don’t care about defined abs any more because they don’t indicate overall health. A flat tummy, decent BMI and a good ability to oxygenate and clean the blood (lungs and liver, baby) matter more to me. I used to care about hair, and that one’s got no important purpose at all for humans! It’s just evolutionary leftovers. Funny what we obsess about.

  7. I’m working hard on rehabbing my entire body! I found out strong abs help in avoiding accidents. Your core even aids in walking. So go for the strong abs and if they look like Goslings, post a picture PLEASE! 🙂

  8. ᴀ ɴᴇᴡ ʏᴏʀᴋ ᴍɪɴᴜᴛᴇ

    Stomachs are not meant to be flat. I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, many people claim to enjoy exercise. But then, many people claim to have been abducted by aliens too.

  9. I’m sure it’s the winter layer thing that’s in your head. I very recently came to the decision that (many, but of course not all) people my age who are in Ryan Gosling-esque shape spend a lot of time achieving that and they tend to be (again, many but not all) self-absorbed. It’s not fair, but it’s a sub-conscious automatic judgment that I have to catch myself and correct, lest I judge unfairly. Be healthy and happy. Washboard completely unnecessary and often a turn-off. Not that my opinion should matter!

    • Are you saying I have a winter layer?!? J/K you are right, I get motivated when the temps warm up. Especially since its too damn cold to go out in an unheated barn when its 5 degrees outside! Don’t worry though about me being self absorbed. That’s why I blog, to get all the self-absorbtion out of my system! 😉

  10. I’ve always been more about the eyes, rather than the abs, of guys. But if you want to keep working on them, I won’t mind. As long as you never, ever, decide to start up an Instagram feed of your ab-ness. *grin*

  11. No, washboard abs are not necessary, but flabby flub-handles are a definite turn-off. (“Love”-handles? Give me a break. Do men call women’s fat-prone areas by terms of endearment? Hah!). The same exercises ward off those. There is something definitely hot about a guy who keeps in shape–no bulging muscles required.

    • I guess that’s what I’m getting at. The whole having abs is more of a rhetorical question. Its more like “when is it okay to stop giving a shit about about fitness?” I don’t mean stop being healthy, I mean stop trying to work out like a 20 year old. Probably depends on ones level of vanity I guess and like the guy who commented up above who’s 68 and still wants to run down the trail and look good with his shirt off, I’ll probably always think the same way!

  12. I’m not a huge abs girl, I mean, I won’t kick a guy with great abs off my bed (my husband would take care of that), but I’m more into men’s arms (forearms). As long as there is not a huge belly I’m ok with no great abs. Don’t worry, once u turn 50 then you really don’t care and you just want to be alive and to have fun. 💪💪

  13. I love that it’s almost all women commenting. Your men readers have already let themselves go.

  14. My wife’s giving birth to three children ruined my body.

  15. You know they say that if your abs show, you probably don’t have a healthy amount of fat in your body. So there’s that.

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