I find it interesting how society loves bad guys. The same way Jimmy Conway was the kind of a guy that rooted for the bad guys in the movies, men have idolized villains for generations. For example, there are swarms of urbanites walking around with black and white Tony Montana pictures on their shirts. There are dozens of rappers referencing Scarface, which is a prime example of nothing other than an immigrant suffering an early death after experiencing short lived success as a drug kingpin.
It’s fun to fantasize about the bad guys. They live by their own rules, answer to no one, and are seemingly devoid of society’s rules. While most of us are slaving away at jobs we hate, taking shit from people, and just barely scraping by in life; it’s easy to see why we enjoy watching a character that doesn’t do any of these things on the big screen.
I’m no different. I happen to hold the main character from American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, as played by Christian Bale, in high regard. I have realized that I think about Bateman when doing normal things like shaving, maintaining personal hygiene, exercising, and dressing. I use the characteristics of this lunatic as a way of motivating myself to stay in shape and look my best. I’m aware of how odd it is but I think the outcome is worth the strangeness.
When I exercise in my bedroom I take regular breaks between sets to look in the mirror and examine the tightness of my muscles, often marveling at myself as Bateman would. It helps keep me going. It helps me to break through the barriers of finding the time or motivation to exercise each day.
After a vigorous exercise, a shower is in order. My American Psycho fixation does not leave me as I take joy in scrubbing my body and exfoliating my skin. When I shave I often think of Bateman’s tips on shaving which I cannot recall precisely from the novel, but are somewhere along the lines of always shaving in the direction the hair grows, saving the chin and sideburns for last in order to let those tough hairs soften, and to not use any alcohol based aftershave because it makes you look older. In fact, I’ve often mentioned not doing things for fear of it making me look older.
“I don’t work very hard on Sundays because it makes me look older,” I’ll say.
Patrick Bateman’s meticulous narration of his attention to detail in dress is in the back of my mind whenever I wear a tie. When I go to restaurants and see a sign proclaiming its “Zagat Rated” I make sure to reference it to my girlfriend.
When I go to networking functions for my film gigs I’m always at a disadvantage for not having a business card. When I began looking through Vista Print’s templates, all I could wonder is why I couldn’t find a nice simple bone color. And I surely was going to put the title of “Vice President” under my name if I could.
As weird as it is to go about my day thinking of myself as the murdering, womanizing, psychopathic Pat Bateman, I refuse to stop. It gives me a reason to take care of myself. And if staying in shape means preferring to refer to my gym as a “health club” then don’t try and stop me. But if I start looking in the mirror rather than my partner when making love, I’ll admit to having a problem.