[UPDATE] The Perfect Male

By: Jerry Askin Email
By: Jerry Askin Email

Tallahassee, FL ---

Women aren't the only ones concerned about their physical appearance and how people view them. The image in the mirror impacts men as well. That's obvious when you stop in any local barber shop.
"I came to get my haircut. I try to be fresh. Being fresh is very important to me. I think image is very important," says Marcus White.

It's so important in fact that Marcus stops by Clipper's every two weeks.

"It's such a high standard for women. I think men should - not set the same standard, but as a heterosexual male - I do feel like we do need to keep our standards up as well because we have an image to keep out here," says White.

Many barbers say they can appreciate clients who are concerned about their body image.

"It's very important. Hygiene and grooming because it means that you care about yourself and the way you look. People are going to judge off what they see off eyesight. Most people judge off exterior, not interior," says Christopher Williams, a barber at Clippers.

Barbers at Clippers say men should get their hair cut about twice a month just to keep their hair looking fresh.

"I have clients that don't like it to look like they need a haircut. So, they might come twice a week, pay the extra money, just to keep their hair looking like it never grew back," says Williams.

And it turns out the ladies like it. Most women we talked to say they were more attracted to men who keep themselves up.

"Looks nice. He works. Keeps himself up, even at work, just an overall," says Danielle Rockmore.
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Joannie Williams says, "I think it's important in the way we feel. It makes us feel better. And I'm sure guys are the same. It probably makes them feel better when they look better."

Hair style may not matter much as long as it's done well and carried with confidence.

"Because it shows that he is trying to keep up with himself. But I'm cool with dreads, afros, and all that other stuff, but just keep it up. As long as you have a nice upkeep, just maintain," says Alexis McGriff.

But for some men maintaining a certain image has gone from the barber shop to the doctor’s office.

Danielle Shelton is the clinical director at the Canopy Cove Eating Disorder Center in Tallahassee and says today more men are showing interest in plastic surgery.

"We have had men and women who have gone above and beyond to make themselves look good. It's definitely more prevalent among females it appears, but men are definitely trending in that direction."

Licensed psychologist Larry Kubiak who works at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital agrees.

"The only way somebody can love me is if I weigh a certain weight or if I correct this imperfection in my nose or in my ears or whatever body part it is," says Kubiak.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons named the top five surgeries for men as nose reshaping, hair transplantation, eyelid surgery, liposuction and breast reductions.

14% of Botox injections make up male cosmetic procedures, 15% are liposuction and eyelid surgeries, 20% are laser hair removal and 24% of nose jobs are carried out on men.

And doctors say the trend is growing and growing.

Many men in our area say keeping their physical appearance up makes them feel better and gives them more confidence.

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Tallahassee, FL ---

If you drive down Capital Circle Northeast in Tallahassee you're bound to see Donald Griswell running down the road. The 58-year old says he works out at least three days a week for several hours - all so he can maintain a healthy and fit body.

"Because of the way it makes me feel, the energy that I have during the week and all through the day. It's just amazing," says Griswell.
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Griswell says it's not just athletes who hit the gym and work out. He says even at his age, he's become addicted to working out - striving for physical perfection and the ideal male body image.

Griswell says, "It's no longer a female thing, men now must understand that we are prone to keep our body just like we want the female to keep in shape."

The Obesity Research Journal did a study on body size satisfaction noting that those who were satisfied with their body size were more likely to engage in regular physical activity than those less satisfied. The study also noted that 55.8% of the men who reported being very satisfied with their body size were regularly active.

Griswell isn't the only man we found obsessed with body image. We visited a Tallahassee gym and found several men, like Brad Yates, who admitted being obsessed with keeping up their physical body image.

"It becomes addicting. I miss a day, I'm downing myself you know - I got to come to the gym, I got to make time. I don't care if it's nine at night or six in the morning. I come to the gym," says Yates.

Yates says he hits the gym at least five days a week and is addicted to perfecting his body.

"Image, how you feel, how other people look at you. Somebody that's in shape is looked at different than somebody that's obese," says Yates.

Yates is a firefighter EMT and he says for his profession, constant working out and being in shape are crucial. And a local psychologist agrees that professions such as law enforcement, wrestling and modeling - to name a few - require men to be physically fit and healthy. And he says it could be the difference between getting a job or not.

"The man who presents himself better, who seems to be a better body size and shape and all other things being equal are more likely to be selected for a job," says behavioral psychologist Dr. Larry Kubiak.

Some men say working out not only makes them feel better and improves their body image, but it's necessary.

Michael Brown is in the military and says he does physical training every morning and works out seven days a week. He says physical perfection is vital to his job and that every man should value their body image.

"Just being a man in general, I think that your body is supposed to look a certain way. It's easier for you to live and have a healthier life later on down the road," says Brown.

Some say they'll even perfect their diet including only protein and vegetables and no sugar. Jeff Butler says when he cheats on his diet he knows his next workout will have to be harder.

"I know it sets me back because it's not easy trying to get in shape, you got to stay very strict to your diet in order to do it correctly," says Butler who works out six days a week.

Some women we talked to say they like when men keep themselves up and strive for physical perfection.

Joanie Williams who agrees with her husband and all men being in shape says, "I want him to be healthy. That's the main thing and working out, getting healthier, you're going to get a better body."

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Tallahassee, FL ---

Muscle shirts, tanning, and even eyebrow waxing; Men in today's society are becoming more obsessed with their body image. From hitting the gym to perfecting their diet, some say they'll do what it takes to make sure their body is on point.

"The goal is to always have a positive consequence, so if you don't workout, you're going to have a bad consequence. If you eat the wrong things, you're going to have a bad consequence,” says Nigel Godfrey.

Godfrey is a personal trainer. He says he works out five days a week and has a strict, natural diet to keep his body in shape. As a personal trainer, Godfrey says he pushes his clients to their limits - all so they can be fit, active and healthy.

"I want everyone to be fit and functional in every aspect of life. I want grandparents to be able to pick up their kids, mothers and fathers to be able to run around with them and teenagers to be active," says Godfrey.

Godfrey wouldn't describe himself as an extremist, but there are some guys who take exercise and diet to a whole new level. Behavioral psychologist Dr. Larry Kubiak says he's seen an increase in males who want that perfect body.
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"Men are becoming increasingly concerned about their health, about their appearance and even now some men are seeking appropriate surgical techniques," says Kubiak.

But Kubiak says some men go to the extreme.

"If you're spending hours a day at the gym, if you find yourself forcing yourself to throw up, if you feel like you've eaten too much, if you eat a piece of candy then tell yourself you've got to go to the gym for hours to work that off, then you've got a problem," says Kubiak.

More than eight million Americans suffer from an eating disorder and one million of those are men. Kubiak says it's not uncommon for people to have clinical levels of depression or anxiety disorders that may need medical attention and therapy. He explains the two most common types of eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa is when someone starves themselves. And then there's bulimia - that's when someone forces themselves to vomit many times a day. And they'll engage in excessive exercise to maintain their weight.

Dr. Larry Kubiak says he's even seeing boys as early as elementary school working out excessively and struggling with eating because they're obsessed with their body image.

“Even more so now, there's an image of what acceptable male size is and I think now it's trickling down to high school, elementary school even where males are being teased because they don't fit the ideal male image,” Dr. Kubiak says.

Kubiak says some men even become suicidal based on their body image and consider killing themselves. But men like Jeff Butler who works out five to six days a week, say they eat healthy and work out regularly because it makes them feel good.

Jeff Butler says, "I'm in shape and when I'm older I want to be able to do the same things I've done my whole life, be able to play sports and interact with my kids, and working out makes me feel good about being able to do that."

For more information on eating disorders and how to get help if you're a victim of suicide or depression, contact your local psychologist or eating disorder specialist.


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