Can you feel it in the air? Spring is coming and many in Dubrovnik are waking up from their winter slumber, getting ready for warmer and busier days. People are slowly shedding away layers of clothes. Summer threads are lurking ominously from our closets, counting down the days until we have to try them on to see if they still fit.
I myself am at the gym more and more, struggling to get as fit as possible before the long and arduous tourism season ahead of me. It always bothered me that I need to be fit just because society deems is important to be physically attractive. Being healthy is one thing, but nowadays you are expected to look your best all the time. God knows we have our physical appearance well documented by ourselves or those around us and posted on social networks where our pasty torsos basically fall into public domain. I was never big on sports and gym-going experience was especially unappealing to me. Lifting and lowering chunks of iron while listening to the latest eurodance hits and counting repetitions was never my idea of two hours well spent. I've changed my outlook on exercise in the last five years or so and nowadays I enjoy working out (most of the time). It is mostly out of desire to keep healthy. I'm still frustrated that people will almost always congratulate you on your dropped weight before they do so when you achieve something great in your line of work, start a professional blog, or make an amateur movie, but I guess that's just the way of the world.
Does that make you happier?
Having said all this, at least I’m not a woman. As difficult as it is for men to keep fit as much as the media or movie industry would have us be, things are way more difficult for women whose physical appearance is dissected and scrutinized to the finest detail. It’s a stressful state of affairs and I can only imagine what it takes to navigate through the jungle of self-help, beauty, popular psychology, or nutrition advice being hurled at women from every direction, every day. Truth of the matter is, we are all looking better and better as people, women especially. But, does that translate into feeling happier?
Somehow, I get the feeling happiness remains as elusive of a concept as ever. It seems society is relentless at feeding women various fears and doubts aimed at making them permanently discontent and frustrated. It stands to reason – people who are dissatisfied with themselves or believe there is something wrong with them are much more likely to spend money trying to cure whatever ails them than those who are happy. What can you sell a happy person? Perhaps a cappuccino and an occasional three course meal, and that’s about it.
Working on your physical fitness is smart and sensible, but the fact is, there is no universal definition of what is sexy or pretty. So, as a belated International Women’s Day gift: Women, next time you are frowning to yourself in the mirror, keep in mind you are most probably way more beautiful than you think… at least to us regular guys. And if you start hearing the approaching footsteps of insecurity next time you undress at the beach or try on that summer dress before going out, remember it’s probably just the echo of big business trying to get you to buy what they’re selling. Just close your eyes and ignore it until it’s gone.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.