Q: I’m 14 and I’m the skinniest kid in my class by a long haul. A lot of my friends seemed to come back from the summer holidays with huge chests and shoulders, but I didn’t. I’m afraid chicks won’t talk to me if I’m not big, is it worth looking into supplements?
There is nothing wrong with you, this is part of being young.
Ah, size. While girls are trying to get rid of it, your mates are all trying to stack it on. Image consciousness is easily one of the most common causes of stress in young men, even if it’s usually the ladies who receive most of the attention. So in tackling what is a pretty significant issue, let’s start with the obvious.
You are you. You are not anyone else.
This might sound obvious, but to a lot of dudes, it isn’t. We spend a lot of our formative (read: highschool and uni) years wishing desperately that we were someone else. That someone else might have bigger arms, a broader chest, a deeper voice, less pimples, a gigantic penis, whatever. Some of these things you can put in hours of work on. Others you can’t.
But ultimately, God, Buddha or your parents gave you one body and that’s the one you’re going to have until you die.
It’s a sobering realisation and I feel for you, because it can be really hard. I hit puberty very late (sixteen and a half) and spent most of highschool being at least a head shorter than every girl I was trying to hook up with while still being called in to sing the female parts in the choir. I was convinced that I would never grow, that no woman would ever talk to me and that I would be skinny, scrawny and alone forever.
Needless to say, I grew. We all do.
As for ‘getting massive’, this is a socially driven idea. Once you start travelling, you’ll notice it’s also quite specific to your environment. For instance, go to London and skinny guys are all the rage. They actually design their male fashion around that body type. The same goes for certain inner-city areas in Australia. Being a solid brick wall with twigs for legs is not (despite it sometimes seeming this way) the gold standard for men.
Getting big can also be very dangerous. Supplements and weight gain, especially while you’re still going through (or have yet to start) puberty, can have longterm effects on your height, muscles, skin and potentially even your genitals. If you think you’re short or little now, imagine stunting your growth and being five foot nothing for the rest of your life because you picked up weights too early.
Perhaps most important to remember is that a lot of those ripped, shredded guys you see walking around the beach now often face numerous health complications later in life. Many others are actually athletes, or work in manual labour which builds muscle naturally. The average student is not going to ever be exposed to that kind of strain. Sitting in lectures or riding public transport is not the same as swimming laps or lifting slabs of concrete.
We all get old and big and fat eventually. Enjoy being small enough to stretch out your legs on a plane! There is nothing wrong with you, this is part of being young. Anyone can be big. But nobody can be you.
Emerging from the forum Mancave, our Cave Man regularly appears to answer all your questions about being a guy. Got a questions for Cave Man? Swing it his way.
Cave Man is a 25 year old guy who has a history of writing stuff tailored to men. Cave Man's not a psychologist or medical professional and isn't available to give official advice, but he's here to pass on some of his knowledge on all things to do with being a guy in the 21st century.