To the men we adore:
Despite evidence to the contrary, we respect your opinion.
We don’t set out to put you in hopeless situations; it just happens. We have some weird genetic code that makes it inevitable.
When we get dressed, and you tell us that we look fantastic, we honestly want to believe you. But in a matter of seconds, we can have an entire dialogue in our heads that goes something like this: “Of course he’s going to say I look great… He’s ready to go and I’m still deciding what to wear. He knows that if I can’t find something to wear, this will NOT end well. Besides, would he really tell me that I look bad? He’s too smart for all that.”
The crazy thing is that we want to knock your socks off. Really. It’s just that we’ve convinced ourselves that you’re only complimenting us out of a sense of obligation. Well, that and self-preservation.
When we feel out-of-shape, we’ll say as much to you, and you’ll be in the unenviable position of figuring out how to respond. Say no, and you’ll be “saying it because you have to.” Say yes? Tread carefully, my friend.
Each of us realizes that we’ve marginalized your opinion. No matter what you say, your opinion will always take a back seat to our own. If we think we look horrible, it won’t matter that you think we are beautiful. It’s not that your opinion doesn’t count. It’s just that, if we don’t feel beautiful, no amount of convincing will change that.
To add insult to injury, you’ll hear our girlfriends pay the same compliment you did and offer the same reassurances. And we’ll say thank you, without any blowback.
Seems crazy, I know. The fact is we are more comfortable with you than anyone. We can let our guard down completely and be ourselves. You’ve seen us at our worst, yet here you are. And though we may not say it enough, we are so very thankful that you haven’t given up on us.
To show our thanks, we will do our level best to remember that it’s quite possible you really mean what you say. We vow to get rid of the fun-house mirrors in our houses that are distorting our self-images, and to see ourselves as we see others. We’ll stop focusing on our perceived flaws and find some things we like about ourselves.
Since we’ve stopped being martyrs, we’ll shop to find clothes that look amazing on us. And we’ll do it now, not when we think we’ve “lost enough weight.” Most importantly, though, we’ll realize how lucky we are to have men who love us unconditionally.
The Women Who Love You