I was sitting at a table at Supply Side West in Las Vegas last month, thumb-typing emails on my Blackberry. I’d gone there to learn about more sourcing options for our new GreenSmoothieGirl line of products.
Everyone was eating lunch, and seats were limited, so I sat with strangers.
Pizza Guy looked as if he’d spent a lifetime of eating pizza like the one he was working on. What does that look like? Inflammation shows up as puffy dark bags under his eyes, he’s carrying extra weight, and he has saggy jowls.
Burger and Soda guy looked…..about the same.
Then Salad and Fruit Bowl Guy came over. Well HELLO. In his 50’s, about the age of Pizza Guy and Burger Guy. Salad Guy was fit, thin, and energetic, radiating positive energy in his conversation with a colleague.
I wish I could have taken a photo for you. I wanted to. It was like those photos of dogs with their owners: see how they look alike?
But that would have been so rude. (How does PeopleOfWalmart.com get away with it? Questions like this keep me up at night.)
I sit there and think about how I can get a photo in a socially acceptable way, before concluding that it would be impossible. Just like I abandoned taking the photo I wanted so badly at the Salt Lake airpor: A 7’1” female college volleyball player was in the security line, standing next to a 4’1” dwarf man. I know, I know. It’s awful. But what a picture it would have made. (I wanted to show my kids.)
Someone should show all the 25-year old men age-progression photos. Here’s what you look like eating that for the next 20 years. Here’s what you look like eating this. It might influence outcomes.
After lunch, I stop at a booth at the trade show and the two women running it offer me a sample of their protein bar. I look at the ingredients and say, “Sorry, I can’t eat sugar.” One turned and said to the other, “Well, of course you don’t. That’s why you look like THAT,” pointing a finger up and down the length of me.
This applies more and more as we age: that lifestyle shows up on us. Some young people can eat crap and get away with it for a while. It will, however, catch up.
(Luckily, we can repent at any age. Our cells regenerate, heal, and aging reverses. Nobody would have said that to me 20 years ago when I was 200 lbs., eating lots of dairy and sugar and diet soda and Processed Whatever daily.)
Turns out real men do eat salad. If I were going to sail off into the sunset with one of those three guys at my table, it wouldn’t have been with Pizza Guy or Burger Guy.
I’d choose to be marooned on an island with Salad and Fruit Bowl guy. Not just because I wouldn’t have to worry as much about a repeat of the Donner Party, with a guy who eats only plants.
Call me shallow, but he just looked handsome and youthful and positive and all good things.