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Home Is Where The Tart Is

My husband and I have “date night” every Saturday after we get our kids to bed. He’s told me numerous times that it would really turn him on if I’d dress trashy. Over the years, he’s bought me many provocative outfits I’ve never worn (leather miniskirts, leather pants, a tartan schoolgirl skirt, chain belts, stiletto-heeled boots, “Daisy Dukes,” midriff-baring tops, etc.). When I try to explain that flabby thighs in miniskirts and a tiny cropped top plus a tummy bulge are not sexy, he just tells me I’m hot. Why can’t he see that I’m not as svelte as I used to be?

--Reality Check

He’s thinking “Woo-hoo!” You’re thinking “Mooo, mooo!” Even if you are a bit of a heifer, is it really in your best interest to correct him?

Like a lot of married people, when you pledged “’til death do us part,” you probably didn’t give much thought to how, exactly, you’d make that happen. It starts out promisingly. On the first date, everybody dresses like they want somebody to want to have sex with them. And it often works. Then they land the person, and they dress like they want somebody to want them to fix their toilet. And it often works.

It doesn’t help that women waste weeks, months, or years of their lives staring into the mirror and bemoaning their ugly elbows or freakishly-enlarged pores. If your husband is even aware that you have pores, I’ll give you $5. While there are “leg men,” “butt men,” and “boob men,” most men don’t disassemble the women they care about into their individual figure flaws. Most men don’t want stick figures, either. In studies by psychologist Paul Rozin and others, men consistently preferred women with a bit of meat on them -- just not so much that they need to be hoisted out of bed by three orderlies with a Hoyer lift.

If you want your husband to be there through thick and thin (or thick and thicker, as the case may be), you’d better work on seeing yourself through his eyes. Chances are, when he’s begging you to put on that Catholic schoolgirl uniform, what’s on his mind isn’t how little time you’ve spent in Pilates. What should be on your mind is slipping into a sexy little French thing called “bien dans sa peau” -- being comfortable in your skin, much like all the hot black and Latina secretaries I used to see when I lived in downtown New York City. A lot of them were fat, but they wore bright, tight, sexy clothes, and strutted around like they were fat and proud.

Of course, with all the bulges and folds you purportedly have in your skin, getting truly comfortable in it might take some doing. Fake it until you make it. Pick some hussy from the movies and play her on date night…and beyond. No, you don’t have to dress like you’ll be the featured stripper at the PTA meeting, but would it kill you to throw on a low-cut top, a skirt, and cute shoes before the hubster comes home? The guy’s been patient with sexual vanilla for quite some time, probably because he loves you. He does have his faults. Like, maybe he’s blind. Maybe he’s dangerously nearsighted. And maybe you should count and recount your lucky stars. Whatever you’ve got, he happens to want. Can’t you run with that? I mean, as fast as you can go while being chased around the bed in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform and thigh-high stiletto boots.

Posted by aalkon at July 20, 2006 9:00 AM

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Perfect answer Amy. I stayed away from the dating market for a long time because I thought I was too fat, too out of shape, to have anyone interested in me. When I finally took the plunge, I discovered that a number of men like me just the way I am, and some even thought I was beautiful (They DO need their eyes examined). Men don't necessarily see the flaws, they see a woman who loves them and wants to please them. Lower those inhibitions and go entice your husband!

Posted by: Gail at July 20, 2006 7:59 AM

Robert A. Heinlein once wrote that, "Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth." (More quotes from Heinlein, one of the old-time libertarians, here: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein . I suspect he and Amy would get along well despite certain disagreements, especially given his bias toward redheads.)

Now obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, blah blah blah, so I'm not going to pass any "objective" judgment on this woman's looks (especially since I've never seen her). All I will say is: When you run into a functional delusion that harms no one and has the potential of making one or a few people deliriously happy at no cost, for Freya's sake, PRESERVE IT AT ALL COSTS.

Posted by: marion at July 20, 2006 8:56 PM

Thanks...used a Heinlein quote about love in my column once. Brilliant guy. Wish I'd gotten to meet him before he died.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 20, 2006 10:58 PM

Outstanding answer!

I to have a girlfriend that also thinks she is "too flabby" and there have been times where I have bought her things that she would look very; beautiful, sexy, attractive, alluring, and - most of all - good in, and she still doesn't understand how beautiful I think she is. She also thinks I need to get my eyes checked, I have, and even with glasses my vision of her is still perfect.

I originally saw this column in the local paper and was planning on cutting it out and sending it to her but someone in the office threw out the paper before I got back to it.
Thank you for all that you do!

Now I can really show her how I feel, she is my fantasy! Keep up the good Amy. Bravo!

Posted by: Mark at July 21, 2006 6:17 PM

Also, she says "over the years" so they've been together a long time. She didn't go to bed at 110 lbs and wake up at 350, it's a gradual process. You grow old and ugly together and don't notice the change.

I saw my ex wife a year after our divorce and noticed this, thinking "my GOD what an ugly bitch!" I never noticed the change when it was happening, only after I hadn't seen her for a year.

Posted by: steve at July 22, 2006 3:59 AM

I have yet to meet any woman who doesn't think there's something fundamentally wrong with the way she looks (myself included), so for all we know, "Reality Check" could be a real hottie.

I would agree that she should not try to talk him out of thinking she's attractive, but she should find her own way to dress sexy, something that makes her feel good. A low-cut top, skirt, and cute shoes sounds good to me.

He shouldn't pressure her to go out public wearing some kind of costume he bought her -- being uncomfortable and embarassed is not sexy.

In the privacy of their own home, though, why not?

"Reality Check's" husband might also look at what behaviors of his might be suggesting to her that he doesn't really mean it when he says she looks good, because actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: Jen at July 25, 2006 8:10 AM

I came across your site whilest looking for a quote by Groucho (I'd never be a member of ...)
and noticed this thread. When i was married, i
found that to be true: Most women (no matter shape
they are in), have this self image that is very
self degrading. I tend to "thank" hollywood, the
fashion industry, and of course the Playboy mentality
that creates these absurd situations. I've dated
women who playboy bunnies (no content, predjudiced, and neurotic if not psychotic)
tendencies, with all of the pressures on us,
i'm suprised any of us are "sane". In general,
give me a woman who thinks of herself as sexy,
self-confident and intellegent and compassionate
-- the rest of it will work itself out. Of course
the prob is finding someone that's compatible.

-- Frank L.

Posted by: Frank Leeding at July 30, 2006 12:22 PM

I know this is an old article, and this point has been touched on already, but I want to emphasize how important it is for anyone who's uncomfortable with his or her body to find his or her own way to dress sexily, whether in public or in bed. Being uncomfortable and embarassed is not sexy anywhere, not even in the privacy of one's own home. It won't do this couple's sex life any good if "Reality Check" puts on those heels and that tiny little skirt and feels so self-conscious that she's not able to enjoy having sex with her husband. It sounds like they need to meet halfway--and move in a sexier direction together from there.

Posted by: Nora at October 30, 2006 5:43 PM

"much like all the hot black and Latina secretaries I used to see when I lived in downtown New York City. A lot of them were fat, but they wore bright, tight, sexy clothes, and strutted around like they were fat and proud."

wow, that's not racist at all.

Posted by: student at January 17, 2007 11:49 AM

No, student it's not. You, however, may well be.

Posted by: Brett at January 21, 2007 8:11 AM

Most of the time (when i'm *way* too sobre) i think this IS the matrix. But, the one in-contro-vertible fact is this: Act as if it *isn't* the matrix; ie, with compassion, understanding, and when a naxi type show up go into ABSURD-MODE-3 (ie, bring out THE red onion)..
all the best. *working on some new LARGER scale images - how little did i think / know that my art teacher's yelling a9 well not quite 0v would one day come back to haunt me ... FILL UP THE PICTURE PLANE!!!!

- frank..
also this just in: new decimal points detected on planet XJ-1729 !!!! - film at eleven.

peace to all...

and of course

JOHN CAGE - CONCERTO FOR TOY PIANO - and the orc'd versionS.


Posted by: FrankLeeding at November 8, 2007 12:11 AM

Yeah, that about says it all. WHATTHEFUCK???!!!!!

Posted by: Pussnboots at February 14, 2008 9:37 AM

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