#TBT: He-Man Anxiety and Bodybuilding

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com August 07 2014 3:00 AM ET

Can we laugh about this yet? Apparently not. The percentage of American teens using steroids and human growth homone is climbing a couple of points each year. Maybe there are just too many Avengers movies and mixed martial arts television shows. These ads from the last century reflect a nation that was still suffering in many quarters from the malnutrition of the Great Depression, the American body before obesity was the norm. The question would be whether these ads were appealing to men because they wanted to climb the evolutionary ladder to a better choice in female partners, or for the approval and admiring glances of other men, especially big muscular ones.

So, uh, where are the girls now? List of things to do: 1. Put on 40 pounds of muscle; 2. Go punch that really cute guy who made fun of you in the face; 3. Get nipples. By the way, this transformation happens in two weeks ... at the baths.

Wonderbar is wunderbar! Except for the gallons of whatever that fluid flying from your body is. Attention! Mop up in the weight room!

Rocky seems awfully attached to the idea of Bob getting big muscles like him. Will Bob have to bleach his hair too? Oh dear, one of those boyfriends that wants you to look just like him, again.

Gain flesh through Dynamic-Tension. Then you can have sex with that woman who looks kind of like Mom.

You're young, it's April, and you are best-looking boy in the gym. Isn't life grand?

Wait, what? Oh, sorry, I read that wrong. Damn Tumblr images. Why can't people upload bigger images so I can read them?

Here's the conundrum: Do you want to be as tough as a marine? Or do you want to attract some nice, tough marine with your very high-cut,yellow briefs? 'Cause either way, it's all fine with us.

Boys! Men! Anyone! Help me! I am having uncontrollable hallucinations about severed heads of  female fashion figures hovering over me like harpies.

This ad is basically the recipe for every war ever fought. Some of us like skinny guys.

"Come on, pal, give me 10 pleasant minutes a day in your own home." Sorry, pal, the husband is home. I can only travel.

"Oh. Jack, you're wonderful. You are perpetuating the alpha male mythology and subjecting yourself to arrest and then the consequential prison rape you will be vulnerable to after your incarceration for battery. All I can say is — what a MAN!"

'Cause here's the real tea, Mary. You're not just skinny, you're old.

There sure is a lot of "Buddy, Pal" bullshit going on here. Can't you appreciate me for my willowy nature?

Please, no pulleys. But I might be very interested in the book of photographs.

Are those trophies water-sealed? Because I need something for the tulips on the organ.

Stunts? You want stunts? I'll tell you about stunts. It's all about that time at the Cafe de Paris with Wallis Simpson and Jimmy Donahue. She was absolutely outrageous. And David was sitting right there at the table with them!

One of the unfortunate effects of steroids is a succubus-like growth of a female form on the chest or shoulders. So, yes, Franco knows it's there. Just be polite and don't engage it in coversation.

Here poor Arnold has one of those growths that's fully formed. It's an enorous burden, especially since you sometimes have to support the weight of it yourself. The upside it that your biceps get just that much bigger. Better not look this one in the eyes. She looks mean.