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The Ipanema Boardwalk

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The Ipanema Boardwalk

On the boardwalk at Ipanema Beach, it's a sunny Sunday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro. Skateboarders, rollerbladers, joggers, surfers, bikers, juicers, tanners, vacationers, staffers -- they all pass by, skin shiny and mildly naked. Sand and salt and vanity fill the air.

There are small outdoor gyms every couple hundred meters along the beach: bars for pull ups, dips, incline push ups and stretches -- a jungle gym for adults. Men stop and quietly pump up their muscles for the day, then move on. It's a place where everyone is keenly aware of those around them. A surprisingly abnormal number of men have six packs and bulging arms. A modest, yet in-shape, man can't help but feel a bit intimidated and envious at the chiseled physiques roaming around. Short, stocky men with barrel chests, powerful backs and perfect arms. He may think to himself: if only he could look like that, the day would be so much better.

And one imagines that the shorter men with chiseled physiques may look at the taller men and think to themselves of how many tall guys there are at the beach today, and how it intimidates them and makes them envious. How …

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