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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

401

On Quickie Weddings and Frustrating Fantasies

I'm not really sure who to ask.  I'll try to keep this short: I recently met a guy who's my age (30, if it matters), and even though we only spent about four days together (I was in the process of moving), we really got on well. My soul is always just screaming "I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU," but I thought I was old enough to be past that (that is, for lack of a better word, "puppy love"). Basically, we barely know each other but it seems that we're perfect together. I'm thinking of pulling a Britney and getting married in Vegas next month. He feels the same; he brought it up. Is this the worst idea in the world? It worked for Dharma and Greg ... right. I'd love your opinion and also love to hear what the Hairpinners have to say. 

P.S. Oh gosh, you're going to point out that "we barely know each other" part, aren't you? But again. It worked for a sitcom couple so can it work for me?

I don't think I can answer this one way or another without knowing what marriage means to you / what you're looking for in a (presumably) longterm partnership. I do have a few points I'd like you to consider, though, and a few questions I'd like you to ask yourself.

I can state with all the authority of my “answer lady” credentials that loneliness is a universal human condition, and that humans universally look for ways to escape that loneliness almost constantly. And I want to point out that women are subtly (and unsubtly) threatened with the “worst case scenario” of “spinsterhood," and that I think sometimes people equate being single with loneliness, when there's a wealth of research (not to mention anecdotal evidence) that this is entirely untrue. I sometimes think the reason we're told to be so afraid of middle-aged singleness is because “the man” is so afraid we'll figure out how much fun it can be, and then who would buy minivans? 

Anyway, let's say you have found your "soulmate" — or, a partner who sees you clearly and who you likewise see clearly, and who makes you feel smarter, funnier, sexier, and more competent because they think you are all of these things, and who you make feel smarter, funnier, sexier, and more competent than they are, and therefore both of you are stronger and more capable of greatness than you were before your partnership. That's wonderful. It's such a heady, fantastic feeling.

So please ask yourself why you feel the need to rush. What are you afraid will happen if you don't rush into this? And will that thing you're afraid of (I'm betting it's "not feeling this way in the future"/"losing this partner") actually be prevented by rushing into this?

And please ask yourself honestly (and you never have to tell anyone else this answer) if you're feeling as if this is your “last chance” because you're in your thirties now. And if you are, please trust a stranger from the internet who tells you there are no such things as “last chances” except in death and taxes.

It's so frustrating to have a lot of love to give and nobody to give it to, and we're all so impatient. The smartest women I know are still not immune to the panic of a false sense of urgency. We willfully shut off our inner critic and spend endless amounts of energy attempting to hammer all kinds of square peg partners into the circular opening of “what we actually need.” That metaphor was really dumb, but I think you know what I mean.

Usually when people take flying leaps into huge decisions it's because they're hoping they can force their life to change with an epic gesture. The answer is always “time plus effort” and that's never what we want it to be. It's the life scale version of when Blanche from The Golden Girls (see, I love sitcoms, too!) dumps cheesecake into the trash and then pours a bunch of water on it because she doesn't trust herself not to eat it otherwise. And girl, my refrigerator might only be full of baby carrots, but at 3 a.m. I can always manage to find some nachos.

I have been with my amazing boyfriend for a few years, and we've been getting serious; he keeps hinting about getting engaged. His family is wonderful and loves me (and I love them too), and when my parents met him for the first time, they were pleased as well. Fast-forward a year from that meeting and suddenly I'm blindsided by a big problem: my dad called me yelling he's decided he doesn't approve of my boyfriend anymore and that our relationship is no longer acceptable. Why, may you ask, has my dad done a complete 180? My boyfriend and I happen to be of different races. Apparently my dad felt all along that it "wasn't right," and now that he sees how serious my relationship is getting, he has decided to speak out. My mother doesn't agree with him at all (she says) and tells me she is sad that her husband feels this way but that there's nothing she can do. Meanwhile, my father has made it clear that he is "embarrassed" by my relationship and that my boyfriend is not to be around or discussed with "his" family. (Note: everyone else in my family who has met my boyfriend agrees with me that he's wonderful.)

Basically, I think that if anyone gets to be embarrassed by this situation, it's me. I'm shocked that my own father would behave this way, and I am so humiliated and terrified of having to explain this to my boyfriend's lovely parents, who would naturally want to meet mine upon an engagement. Please give me some advice; most of my family members and the two close friends I've had the nerve to tell this to have simply told me to wait it out and see if my dad changes his mind. This doesn't seem fair to my boyfriend. I don't know if I should just make myself clear to my dad and forgo visits, holidays, etc, or if I should wait and see if he decides to act like a decent human being. My mother says not to choose my boyfriend over my dad (since he is only my boyfriend and not, like, my husband or anything), but this issue is more than that to me. Even if my boyfriend and I broke up tomorrow, for some reason the damage my father has done by acting this way feels irreparable to me. How could I ever pretend that my dad's behavior has been anything but horrifying and wrong? Any thoughts, maybe especially from a stranger, would be greatly appreciated.

This is the easiest answer (admittedly from a distance): if you do want to get engaged (and from what I read, it sounds like you do), tell your father that until he gets over this you will no longer be in contact with him. Tell him you miss the man you thought he was, and that you're sorry he's distressed over this issue, but that you can't accommodate his racism. Ask him to seek counseling if you think that will help — maybe there are underlying issues here that he's just pinning on race? After you do this, tell your mother that you hope she'll help plan/attend your wedding to the partner of your choosing. If you feel like you should, explain to your boyfriend's parents that you are estranged from your father, but that you love their son and are thrilled to be warmly welcomed into their lovely family.

Then plan the wedding event (or non event) of you and your partner's dreams and invite whoever the hell you want to, including members of your father's family. I would say to keep it classy by not gossiping about your father's “issue” to his family members — that will only give him more anger to cling to, and you want to make it as easy as possible for him to swallow his pride and do the right thing.

He'll get over it. Or he won't. Either way, it's not your problem. To paraphrase every TV show or movie about hostage situations I've ever seen: we don't negotiate with bigots.

So this is intensely embarrassing to write, but I think I’ve gotten too trapped in my head to see through this problem.  I have a secret fantasy of having a partner who thinks that I’m the most unbelievably beautiful woman in the world, feels delighted to see me naked, and is maybe even proud at the thought that he gets to be in bed with me.  In practice, though, I always wind up dating men who finally see me naked and are like, “eh, B+.”  Or rather, some very reasonable version of, “you’re fine, no supermodel, I’ve dated thinner women, and heavier women, but you’re perfectly attractive.”     

I always find this unbearably painful to hear and have come to absolutely loathe being naked.  The problem, though, is that, intellectually, I don’t think these men are wrong.  There are these societal standards of beauty, and while they are bullshit, we basically do know what they are, and according to them I fall on the nicer side of average.  And normally I’m fine with that; I like to take care of myself, but I gave up on trying to be the prettiest woman in the room years ago, because it’s self-sabotaging, misogynistic, depressing, and soul-crushingly tedious.  So why am I so upset that they entertain an opinion I agree with?  Why on earth should I expect my partner to be selectively delusional about this one thing?  Is the problem that I’m dating assholes or that I have the desires of a 15-year-old girl?  

At the risk of sounding insensitive, you need to get over this. Wasting energy on wishing you looked a way you will never look is ... wasting energy. I understand that it's horrible to feel undesirable or “unworthy.” I've spent collective years of my life humming along to that song whose only lyrics are “be prettier” — you know, the official theme song for Womanhood™. So I can state with authority that you need to do whatever it takes to stop this cycle. Being naked with someone else shouldn't be traumatic. Awkward, maybe, and sometimes unexpectedly humorous, but save the trauma for ... everything else crappy in the world. And mutual desire is ALWAYS delusional; that's why it's so great. Truth: you are enough just how you are. Start believing it.

Previously: Skinny-Dipping and S.O. Weight Gain.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady?

401 Comments / Post A Comment

The Lady of Shalott

LW#1: What is the harm in waiting? Why must you get married immediately instead of just, you know, dating?

Also I know that people will probably pipe up with "My roommate's parents knew each other one week and got married and then won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Best Marriage" but DUDE. You have spent FOUR DAYS together. There is literally like no reason you need to get married right away.

You're only thirty! Thirty! That is SO YOUNG.

JadedStone

@The Lady of Shalott maybe they're waiting for marriage to have sex. That is, quite literally, the only excuse I can think of.
Or he needs a visa to get into whatever country she moved to.

barefoot cuntessa

@The Lady of Shalott Yeah, well my mom knew her second husband for six months before they got married. He was an abusive dick who spent every cent of my mom's alimony, child support, inheritance from my grandpa, blew up numerous credit cards, and she ended up having to file for bankruptcy. This was fifteen years ago, and she still gets phone calls about a few financial issues from time to time.

supernintendochalmers

@barefoot cuntessa I'm so sorry you and your Mom went through that, but thank you for posting a negative example. People always write in with these fairy tale stories and it's good to be reminded that whirlwind romance doesn't always work out.

joie

@The Lady of Shalott My parents got eloped after only have known each other for 6 weeks. They've been married now for 41 years.

BUT.

They didn't have sex before they were married, so that was part of the rush. My mom's parents didn't approve of the speed and it wrecked their relationship in a way it never recovered before they passed away.
My parents have been married 41 years, but they fought the first 30. Screaming matches, slamming doors, almost every single night. Growing up in that kind of environment was terrifying as a child, and it has affected the way I approach relationships as an adult in a profound way. But for the grace of therapy, there go I.

So yeah. Quickie weddings = not always the best idea, even if it lasts. Please, LW, give it some time. Being married in a whirlwind is wildly, foolishly romantic, but it's also kind of a terrible idea.

oh! valencia

@The Lady of Shalott The Lady's advice here was so much more sympathetic than I expected. I hope LW1 really takes the time to put in the kind of thought that this kind of decision requires.

I think you need to see the person through a few different kinds of experiences, seasons, conflicts, whatever - before you can know if you can partner with them for life. (unless you don't consider marriage to be forever, but in that case, why do it?) 4 days is not long enough to see more than one side of a person, and you can bet he is only showing you his best side.

permanentbitchface

If they want to get into something really quickly, they should just move in together! It's a good way to see if you're going to be ready for marriage (I mean it basically is marriage, just without all the paperwork).
I feel like there's more to it that the LW is not saying. There has to be a reason for the rush.

garli

@The Lady of Shalott My brother's second failed wedding was to a woman he had known for 3 weeks after meeting her on myspace. (In like 2008, not like, 2003). At the time I was labeled as some one who was too cold hearted to ever let some one love me - by my mother for objecting to the blessed events. It took 6 months for her to leave him the first time, but a year before they never spoke again.

So yeah I'm not a big believer in quickie weddings either.

celestrix

@The Lady of Shalott Ummm so I'm going to be the first one here with the counterexample, but my parents got engaged a week after they met and married 6 weeks later, and they've been married almost thirty years. But! They had reasons for getting married so fast (they were both military and stationed in different states--they had to get married so they could physically be in the same place) and they'd also each had multiple serious relationships, so they pretty much knew what they were looking for. So, it's possible that this could work out, but there are a lot of things to watch out for!

TheDragon

@The Lady of Shalott
Add my parents to the list of couple who got married quick (51 weeks after their first date) and are still together. However, there's was hardly a whirlwind romance. They'd been dating for 6 months when my dad found out he would have to move. My parents sat down and basically had an epic planning meeting of what their options were, the pros and cons of each, and decided that marriage made the most sense. Also, my mom has warned me from doing that ever time and time again.

olivia

YES to the answers, especially to LW2. And to LW2: I'm sorry your dad disappointed you so colossally and damaged your relationship with him forever. I would absolutely cut off contact with him if I were in your shoes.

Beatrix Kiddo

@olivia I would cut my dad off too. I can't really imagine how hard that would be-- my dad would have to be a complete hypocrite to pull that, since he and my mom aren't the same race-- but it seems like the only option.

PistolPackinMama

@olivia HAAAAAYYYYYY A LADY CALL ME. CALL ME! And when you call me, please will you share whatever it is you do to have those arms?

Also, LW#2. I am so sorry. And that advice is so good. Telling your dad what kind of behavior you expect, and then ignoring and not feeding or giving him reason to escalate his temper tantrum is the only way to go. Graciously. And while moving on with your life like you should.

Your BF and his family sound marvelous. Your mom sounds cool! Yay!

And also, your dad does in fact come off like a toddler about this. What the everloving heck is his problem?

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama It occurs to me that after telling him where to get off, RELENTLESSLY CHEERFUL AND ICILY POLITE is the way forward.

baked bean

@olivia A positive conclusion to cutting him off could be that he decides to grow up and change his mind in order to have his daughter back.

Beatrix Kiddo

1. Excellent advice, A Lady!
2. I need some nachos.

fondue with cheddar

@Beatrix Kiddo DAMMIT NOW I NEED SOME NACHOS TOO

frigwiggin

@Beatrix Kiddo Ahhhhh!!! I don't even want real nachos, just chips and lots of runny queso dip. Beavis-and-Butthead convenience-store nachos.

fondue with cheddar

@frigwiggin Movie theater nachos! Sometimes fake nachos can be just as good (or better) than real ones.

There's a Chili's near my work but I don't have enough time to pick it up and eat it on a half hour lunch. :(

katiemcgillicuddy

@frigwiggin I had some of that fake cheese crap that comes in a jar this weekend and it was terrible/so delicious.

Lady_Terminator

@jen325 half hour lunches are the worst.

fondue with cheddar

@Lady_Terminator They are! We've got a butt-ton of better places to eat around here, but there isn't enough time to go anywhere except the Dunkin' Donuts at the other end of my building.

Or the Panzarotti bakery next door to it, but that's even less healthy than donuts. But so much yummier.

lisma

@katiemcgillicuddy I told my boyfriend that when I'm rich I intend to have a nacho cheese dispenser machine.

fondue with cheddar

@lisma Make sure the temperature is cool enough that you can lie underneath it and have it dispense nacho cheese directly into your mouth.

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 Oo, yeah, and you know what else you could do, smash up some chips and then just throw them down your gullet whilst you drink the sauce, so it's almost like, pre-chewed for you. Take the middle man right out. Ah, dreams.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy I don't know, that sounds like a recipe for choking. And besides, the crunchiness is part of the fun!

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 You only smash them up so much, so you still get the crunchiness, you just get it all faster. Seriously, I've thought it out pretty well in the last 10 minutes.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Sounds great in theory, but it wouldn't work for me. Getting things stuck in my throat is my superpower. I'm afraid eating smashed up tortilla chips while lying down would mean certain death.

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 Fair enough. I'll be over here then, drinking cheese sauce and smashing up tortilla chips.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Wait, you got rich already? That was fast! What's your secret?

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 Nah, I just walked into a 7-11 and stuck my head under the cheese faucet.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Niiiiiice.

Oh! I just had a brilliant idea for an invention! A soft-serve ice cream type machine that dispenses nacho cheese into a tortilla chip cone. And instead of a chocolate-vanilla twist option, you could have refried beans! The cheese would have to be a thicker consistency, though.

frigwiggin

@jen325 The dining hall at my university-workplace features something called a "tacone," and what you've described here is pretty much exactly what I've been imagining all this time. I'm a little too terrified to actually find out, though.

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 Oh my god, that's disgusting, I love it.

Lustful Cockmonster

@katiemcgillicuddy You guys, may I recommend to you the Taco Bell Nacho kit. Former Roomie and I used to buy it at Costco, but I THINK, you can get it at the regular grocery store? Fake cheese, delicious crucnchy chips, right in your microwave! We used to add chopped tomatoes, for the health.

katiemcgillicuddy

@katiemcgillicuddy I don't know what happened to your comment about dudefood.com, but holy shit, that is amazing, thank you. This dude is an evil genius.
@Lustful Cockmonster First of all, thank you for making this your handle, it is tremendous. Secondly, I hedge at Taco Bell, but I suppose if you aren't making it *at* Taco Bell it's fine. And good on you for adding tomatoes for The Heath.

playingpossum

@lisma there is one on eBay for less than $300! I never knew there was such a thing!! I was actually looking for Old El Paso Nacho Cheese Sauce Mix (which you can't get in Australia anymore). That shit was the best!!

fondue with cheddar

@Lustful Cockmonster You don't actually put the nachos in the microwave, do you? Because I don't like what the microwave does to chips.

Actually, my favorite way to eat nachos is to use leftover taco meat, mix it up with melted nacho cheese and refried beans, and dip the chips in it.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy My dudefood.com comment is still there! At least, I can see it. Weird. Yeah, he is an evil genius. :)

katiemcgillicuddy

@jen325 Yeah, every once in a while a comment only shows up in my inbox, it's weird. His last 3 posts focused on 1.) beer, 2.) s'mores spaghetti, and 3.)how to get free sandwiches. I want to marry the shit out of this guy.

fondue with cheddar

@katiemcgillicuddy Yeah, he's definitely a man after my own heart. If you married him you would probably die of a heart attack before your 5th anniversary, though.

I really want to try the deep fried beer cheese soup.

lisma

@playingpossum I'm not that rich yet!

CharethCutestory

@Beatrix Kiddo I think lycopene prolly balances it all out.

werewolfbarmitzvah

LW1, I have met enough shady grifter types in my day to say that YES, this is a terrible idea. Just because he seems wonderful now does not mean that he won't make you rue the day within a few months of running off and marrying him. Launching a whirlwind romance with the guy is one thing, but getting yourself legally entangled with him is a whooooooole 'nother story.

OhShesArtsy

@werewolfbarmitzvah YES. There is no reason to jump the gun and get married. If the marraige has any chance of success, you will want to marry him just as much a few months/years/weeks (??) from now.

okaycrochet

@werewolfbarmitzvah RUE THE DAY.
(Good advice, good phrase, you can tell which one won out in the end for me)

Mira

@werewolfbarmitzvah Yep. Four days! You don't even know this guy! He could literally be anyone! If you're perfect together you'll still be perfect together in a year, right?

hollysh

@werewolfbarmitzvah 'Legally entangled' being the key phrase. I have friends I've known for years that I love and trust but I wouldn't get legally entangled with because . . . legal entanglement.

TheBourneApproximation

In addition to no longer worrying about being The Prettiest, I'd suggest if possible screening out those gentlemen who, upon being consensually confronted with a naked, interested women, would respond "Eh, B+."

bocadelperro

@TheBourneApproximation I came here to post the same sentiment, but you said it more prettily.

wearitcounts

@TheBourneApproximation YUP.

cuminafterall

@TheBourneApproximation Yup, if they're not singing "Youuuu arrre so beautiful, to meeeee" you do have ways of shutting that whole thing down.

(However, realize that you can find somebody beautiful even if they're not perfect. Even if you think he's really hot, he too probably has hair coming out of his belly button or some other unattractive quality.)

whizz_dumb

@TheBourneApproximation Yeah, I was definitely thinking 'assholes' before reading "Is the problem that I’m dating assholes...?". Being naked with someone else can be awkward, funny, and amazing but I see no need for serious negative criticism--especially not in the letter grading scale, which is bullshit.

Emby

@cuminafterall Belly button hair is unattractive?? Shit, I should really change my OKCupid profile picture...

MoonBat

@TheBourneApproximation EXACTLY. Even if this is just paraphrasing, the problem is in the sexing of non-worthy partners. The standard should always, always be enthusiastically appreciative of nakedness.

TheBelleWitch

@TheBourneApproximation Yeah, I pick door A: She's dating assholes. It's perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that you aren't the patriarchy's prettiest doll but still expect your sex partners to express a certain degree of enthusiasm in seeing you naked.

whizz_dumb

@Emby and the resulting belly button lint isn't like a nice little surprise easter egg?

thebestjasmine

@TheBelleWitch Or she forces them to act like assholes by making them rate her body. Either way, she needs to figure her shit out before dating anymore dudes.

Ophelia

@TheBourneApproximation While I totally agree, I was sort of wondering if the LW was quizzing them and *maybe* digging this hole of self-sabotage? Like, 'OK, so I know my thighs aren't perfect, but what would you rate them? B? B+?" etc.

toastandjam

@TheBourneApproximation Yes and yes. Also, LW#3, watch this! http://www.vulture.com/2012/09/new-episode-of-ask-amy.html

TheBelleWitch

@thebestjasmine Very true. I'd say they're still assholes if they respond to that kind of insecurity with "Eh, B+" instead of, "You're beautiful, please stop looking for ways to tear yourself down." But if she's asking for these appraisals, yeah, changes the calculus a bit.

skyslang

@TheBourneApproximation POSSIBLY: she isn't ASKING them to rate her body, but simply reading into the way they react to her when she disrobes, and she's hearing what she wants to hear (ie what SHE thinks about HER body).
I know because I've pulled this shit before, due to my own body issues. It's a tough thing, loving yourself.

TheBourneApproximation

@thebestjasmine @Ophelia Yeah, that crossed my mind as well. Maybe she's dating ordinary dudes, but poking at them until they break? (Though surely the best response to the "am I pretty??" question is to keep saying say "YES" and then if continually pressed further to put one's hands over one's ears and loudly sing to drown out followup questions?) Either way, a major paradigm shift is needed.

Daisy Razor

@thebestjasmine Yeah, I wouldn't really be thrilled about getting naked with a partner who was only thinking of him/herself. And it would probably be reflected in my rating.

entangled

@Ophelia yeah, this is my thought. Are they ACTUALLY saying "eh, you're okay looking, now let's screw" or are they not blown away with how amazingly attractive she is that she can control them like some sort of hot fictional sorcerer? It sounds like she wants to be so attractive that she is able to enthrall people with the power of her physical beauty which I think is a destructive fiction and not something to aspire to.

But if people are actually saying "B+" or "7/10" or something to her... dude. assholes.

cmonster

@TheBourneApproximation THIS this this.

Story time: So I sent a (tasteful) pic to two dudes. I know, I'm awful, but it was a really good picture and whatever, I don't feel bad about it. The first guy's response: "Nice, take another" The second's: "DAAAAAAAAAMN!!!!! Come over now!"

Guess where I went? The dudes that show no appreciation don't get laid, in my book.

MilesofMountains

@skyslang That would make sense. Possibly she's reading them not saying "oh my god you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, you are divinity made flesh!" with "enh", but in my experience a lot of guys aren't particularly verbal when faced with a hot naked woman and their lack of praise that has nothing to do with not appreciating the sight.

Emby

@entangled Right? You don't really get to control how enthusiastically someone responds to your naked body. If they don't respond how you like, then find someone who does.

PistolPackinMama

@entangled Yah. GIRL. Girl, you need to be okay with your naked body first, because it sounds like whatever else the dudes have going on, when it gets filtered through your own expectations, it comes through totally distorted.

What would happen if you were as generous towards yourself as you are towards your partners' bodies?

If you clear that up, and are still hearing "meh" then yeah, you are dating douches and need to find better dudes. But if you let go of this need in the first place, you might have resolved your own issues.

Lily Rowan

@entangled But again! Is she asking for a rating? If so, yikes, and she has some work to do on her self. Probably she has some work to do on herself anyway, just as a lady trying to get by in our fucked up society.

Speaking as someone objectively on the "OK" side of societal expectations, I have never had a dude say anything negative to me about my body. And have had compliments on parts I think are not great!

Creature Cheeseman

@TheBourneApproximation I mean, B+ is more like 8.9/10... That's not too shabby right?

entangled

@Lily Rowan This is what makes me think that this is likely coming from her and not from the guy:
"I have a secret fantasy of having a partner who thinks that I’m the most unbelievably beautiful woman in the world, feels delighted to see me naked, and is maybe even proud at the thought that he gets to be in bed with me."

If it were "feels delighted and excited to see me naked" then I would think she is with the wrong guys, but she wants them to think she is unbelievably beautiful, and the most attractive woman in the world. These are not real things. The most dangerous part is that she wants them to feel proud to be in bed with her. Not turned on, not excited or lucky that such a hot and interesting girl wants to be with them, but proud. That's not an internal judgment - it's external. It's wanting the guy to feel like he has the hottest girl of all his friends. It's an external standard and an impossible one (because the world does not exist on a pure continnuum of least to most attractive as if there's one measurement that matters). Until she can let go of that standard, I don't think she's ever going to be able to let go of a destructive fantasy and learn to be happy with herself.

Lily Rowan

Oh also, I actually have been on the other side of this conversation -- a dude asked me what I thought of his penis once! Because his ex thought it wasn't big enough. !!!!!!!!! I told him I thought it was great, because I did, but did acknowledge it wasn't the longest thing I had ever seen, which was true, but that I found the length perfect, especially along with the girth, because that was also true.

Anyway, my point is, if he had been so inclined, I'm sure that dude could have walked away from the conversation thinking, "See! Lily thinks it's short, too!" Which was totally not the case, but I did give a complete answer when maybe that wasn't the 100% kindest thing to do.

PistolPackinMama

@Creature Cheeseman Well, there's the problem of grade inflation.

(J/K-- the whole scenario is sad and rating people makes my skin crawl. YOUR VALUE IS A- YOU GET TO LIVE. Ick ick ick.)

@Lily Rowan... see, here's a thing. I couldn't even answer that question with any kind of accuracy because human penises in my experiences are attached to human males. And they come in all sizes and shapes and such. So really, in context, it's sort of hard to tell objective ruler length and tape measure girth apart. You'd have to detach all the penises and line them up and get out the calipers, and then...

I feel like boobs must be this way, too. I mean, yeah, you can tell a DDD from an AA, but whatever. That's just the delightful diversity of boobs in the universe. But for most women, the fact that their breasts are associated with torsos and shoulders must mean boob size has to be pretty subjective in people's perceptions.

NOT THAT IT FUCKING MATTERS YO. Size concerns, ratings... ugh.

MilesofMountains

@Lily Rowan I had a guy pull that one on me too! And then when I said it was perfect, he said he read that's what women say when a guy's penis is too short! Just UGH! These kind of questions are just nasty nasty traps with no way out, so I hope that's not the kind of thing LW#3 is asking.

Lizzy@twitter

@TheBourneApproximation "patriarchy's prettiest doll" is a a phrase that makes real how shitty beauty standards are. Thanks. Need one of those every so often

supernintendochalmers

@Lily Rowan Yes. I'm no model and I've dated some douchebags but I've literally never had a guy who's into me call me, "Eh/B+." I can't imagine that someone trying to have sex with you would ever be stupid enough to do that. That's what makes me think the LW is pressing the guys for these ratings and is probably distorting what she's hearing. This letter made me sad.

alliepants

@Lily Rowan Right! It doesn't even sound like this girl *isn't* on the "OK" side of societal expectations. It sounds like she's asking these guys "am I the most beautiful girl you've ever been with?" or "am I the skinniest girl you've ever been with?" Which like... that's such a sad thing to worry about, especially when sexytimes are involved. Plus if you read one of her sentences closely, she basically said that until years ago, she *was* trying to be the prettiest girl in the room. It just sounds like she's got some stuff to work through about herself, not the dudes.

Queen of Pickles

@TheBourneApproximation
I don't have a model-type body either, but I treasure the times when partners have gone crazy over seeing me naked, or partially naked. I've been lucky enough to be involved with several guys who are very bluntly, intensely appreciative of sexy female bodies. It makes me feel primal and alive, and like I really do wield a kind of power.

Re: power - not like I was an evil sorceress, able to control men and make them do my bidding, but like just the sight of me affected these dudes - like I controlled a thousand tiny invisible feathers that I could touch them with, by moving, smiling, looking at them. And this kind of thing is tricky and unfulfilling if you carry it out in day-to-day life, always wondering how you look - but with a partner, in private, sometimes I feel so incredibly regal.

The power is mutual, too: when a dude I care about looks at me with that burning, hunted look, like I've got him on the hook but he likes it, and I know that I'm on the hook too, for him - then his entire body dazzles me, and being near it/seeing it/touching it is pure intoxication. I do feel proud being in bed with him, and I feel like he's awed and proud to be with me, too.

Lily Rowan

@PistolPackinMama Of course, of course. And seriously, motion/ocean, etc. That guy could GET IT.

@MilesofMountains See, that's some next-level insecurity.

Can we just all agree as a society that our bodies are fine?!?!?

PistolPackinMama

@Lily Rowan I misread "bodies" as "booties" and I was all AAAWWWW YEAH SOMEONE CALL SIR MIXALOT."

...

...

"OR A SHOE SALES REP."

Ellie

Am I the only person who is really down with the sentiments of LW3? I might have pathologically high self esteem, but every time I do have sex, I am pretty much under the impression that (at that moment) the guy I'm with totally thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to feel that way when having sex! Ideally you should be delighted and enthusiastic about the appearance of the person you're having sex with. Even if someone is of "average looks," there is probably at least ONE person out there who finds that person to be the most beautiful creature on the planet. I think the problem is the guys who are giving a "B+" reaction. I'm not saying that I'm always discontent with "That was nice, let's do this again sometime" but "Holy shit, I want to fuck you every day this week" or a similar sentiment is ideal and not too much to hope to hear least some of the time.

NeverOddOrEven

@Ophelia
EXACTLY. That's totally how this read to me. I only see it three ways:
A. She's hoping for a certain thought/reaction on their part and not getting/observing what she wants or
B. She's asking for an assesment and putting them on the spot or
C. These dudes really are making explicit value judgments unprovoked which is NOT COOL.

A or B she needs to knock it off, because she's NEVER EVER going to be satisfied. And probably actively destroying what could be good, healthy, relationships and experiences.
C she needs to knock it off and stop dating people who will so casually objectify someone.

The power is all yours, darlin'.

Lily Rowan

@PistolPackinMama Oh, I know my booty is spectacular! You know, to people who enjoy that kind of ass.

RNL
RNL

@Lily Rowan It's those moments when I try to change the script. I will not answer "it's not as big as xyz". I'll try to say instead "it's great - which reminds of that last time when we were fucking and you made me come so hard holy shit. Something about the way you work really works for me." or whatever.

I dunno, I always find guys are way better in bed when they are felling self confident. Guys who aren't that big get harder and more enthusiastic, which is great. And if I tell them ANYTHING that makes it seem like it's not big enough? What are they going to do about it?

Blushingflwr

@Ellie I am in a polyamorous relationship and my boyfriend STILL makes me feel like the sexiest woman in the world when we're together. And I'm pretty sure he makes his other girlfriend feel the same.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Queen of Pickles: That was very well said and interesting.

We're teetering on the edge of a much deeper, more difficult to define idea that straddles sociology and personal psychology.

Something that gives me a sad now and then, is that I haven't had anyone that has made me feel that way before.

Cha dTuigim

@TheBourneApproximation Pretty much exactly this. I don't generally think in those terms when I'm naked with someone I'm attracted to (and really, why are we there unless we're attracted to each other?), but hell, even if what I thought of a person when naked was 'Eh, B+', that's not something you say. THAT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU EVER SAY.

insouciantlover

@thebestjasmine That's what I'm wondering - why is she getting this feedback from the guys she's had sex with?

Then it reminded me of this one guy who was all gushy about how gorgeous and interesting and shit I was and then after we had sex he pointed out that I had a belly, and in fact there was hair on it. I side-eyed him HARD and responded "yup, I'm a mammal."

I sure as hell never slept with him again.

Ophelia

@Queen of Pickles YES, this. My husband isn't the most conventionally attractive person I've ever dated (I'm looking at you, Trinity water polo team - phwaargh), and same goes on my end for him, but we match in intensity, the way we work together is just way better than anyone else. That 1,000 feathers feeling IS a little bit of pride wrapped into the lust.

But that is such a subjective feeling - we lucked out, and we feel it about each other, but I don't know how you'd ever quantify it - it's just impossible. If we each tried to be objective and look at each other like strangers, we'd probably give each others bodies B-plusses, but that's completely irrelevant to the way we SEE each other.

cmonster

@Ellie I think that's a good point, and you kind of got talked over.

I don't know how old you are, but if you're around my age (barely postgrad), I think dudes are trained to be nonchalant about us. Everyone is nonchalant about each other, actually. And we're supposed to be okay with that.

Maybe it takes time for people to be confident enough in themselves to be appreciative when there's a hot girl in front of them! Right now, everyone's sexual conquests are hanging by threads, and when you give that kind of enthusiastic commitment: "Holy shit I want to fuck you every day this week," you're afraid the other person doesn't feel the same way.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@cmonster: I definitely keep my cards to my chest. I don't think I've ever told a girl I liked her. I don't know why, really.

Ellie

@cmonster Thanks! Glad you agree. I'm 25. I think you're totally right about people being "trained" by social pressure, hookup culture etc. to be nonchalant. The guy who said that (or a version thereof) to me is a little bit older than I am (although, now he seems to be avoiding me, I am soooooo sad). I don't really like dating people all so much older than myself but in my limited experience the older you get, the more . . . comfortable being yourself? Less fearful of rejection/putting yourself out there? Interested in being a good person to whomever you're sleeping with? Etc. you become, so as with all things, maturity is an improvement. I think I can tend to be more direct/bolder than most about these things and I wish others were more like that.

Edited to add one of my favorite adages, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." (From Wayne Gretzky!)

cmonster

@Ellie Yep, me too! And then my directness/boldness sometimes gets me in trouble because people are like, whoa, this girl wants to hang out with me three times?!!? Crazy town, get me outta here.
Meh, scared off men. Not into it. That's probably why I date older men.

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS It makes sense to do that! But if you find a girl like me or Ellie, apparently, we appreciate the honesty. :)

redheaded&crazy

@cmonster I have faked nonchalance for past relationships. I suck at it. My default is ENTHUSIASM ENTHUSIASM MORE -- wait did i scare you off oh well -- ENTHUSIASSSSSSM!!!!

i think some (most?) guys appreciate it though, just as some (most?) girls appreciate it in guys! /heternormativity

(probably "most" is pushing it on both fronts. oh well. *alone forever except for all these exclamation marks!!!!!*)

cmonster

@redheaded&crazie Oh man, me too. I am SO ENTHUSIASTIC. It is my natural state. I just LIKE to do nice things for people. I will grab you a coffee because I am nice and enthusiastic and I like you, dummy. And I will get you a little present for your birthday, even if we haven't been dating that long. And the worst - I will tell you I like you if I like you. It is nice! It should not be so scary!

And I've had to put myself on exclamation point detox. :( We can live in exclamation point world together forever yeee!!!!!!!!!!!

NeverOddOrEven

@Ellie
I think everyone shares this to a certain extent, but it's clearly unhealthy in the LW's case. I'm not going to begrudge anyone wanting to feel sexy, wanted, the Most Beautiful Person In the World, whathaveyou, but if you need constant validation that's a problem.

playingpossum

@MoonBat I am almost 50, with all that physically entails. My man is 60 (ditto). He thinks I am the most beautiful woman on the planet (praise his delusions). He is so cute I can hardly bear it most days. DON'T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS. Love means you can see clearly if you want to - but you don't want to coz the other person is just so gorgeous to you!

well, then

Well, for what it's worth, I'm LW3, and I've never asked to be rated or asked anything about my partners' previous partners. No idea on numbers or what any of them looked like. It seems sort of rude and pointless - I mean, they're obviously with me and not another woman for some sort of reason. I have asked a partner if he thought I was pretty. He was my first partner, no one had ever seen me naked before, he never commented on my appearance one way or another, and I wanted to know. That was when I got the "I've dated thinner women, etc." Was it coming from a place of insecurity? Absolutely. But, I dunno, isn't vulnerability part of being naked? If I trust this person enough to have sex with him, why shouldn't I articulate my insecurities? At any rate, that kind of killed my tendency to ask that sort of question.

I feel like A Lady missed the point. I don't waste my time endlessly wishing to look different (and even said that in my letter). I'm actually pretty fine with my appearance in daily life. If anything, the reason I'm so bothered by this desire to be considered stunningly beautiful by a partner is because I am really invested in other kinds of self-cultivation. At risk of sounding like a self-aggrandizing douche, the things that matter to me, that I take pride in, and that I value myself for doing or knowing are all things like learning languages, or taking up judo, or baking an awesome loaf of bread, or mastering really hard texts, or community activism - not the circumference of my thighs. But then there's this desire that doesn't fit with any of that. I don't think it's going anywhere.

In truth, my partners haven't always been great with physical boundaries and so I feel unbearably vulnerable when I'm about to have sex. This is how this manifests itself. I want to feel like I have a partner who is so dumbstruck by his luck in being with me that he would never ever do anything to fuck it up. I want to feel safe and desired and absolutely treasured by my partner. But then the consensus seems to be that I am being unreasonable or misinterpreting what these men say or driving them to it (because men haven't been raised on the same beauty industry as women and thus would never think to compare women to the societal ideal unless driven to it?). And so I guess the question then is if it is, in fact, unreasonable or pathological to want a partner who thinks I'm insanely attractive and never even in passing compares me to the societal ideal, what's a rational girl to hope for?

thebestjasmine

@well, then I think that A Lady, far from missing the point, got the point exactly right. Three long paragraphs of defensiveness is a lot, and what you said doesn't do anything to counter her advice, which is that you just need to get over this. Look, you say a lot to say that you're above all of this and so much better than worrying about how you look, but you obviously worry a lot about how you look. That's okay! We all do sometimes! And there's nothing wrong with wanting a partner to find you hot. Just stop being self hating about it. And if you don't ask people to rate you, then you're dating a hell of a lot of assholes, so you really need to stop doing that too.

Blushingflwr

@well, then So, a) I think that it is brave to come on here and identify yourself as a letter writer
b) I want to reiterate my advice about therapy. It sounds like you have some baggage that you need to unpack and decide what to do with, and a good therapist can help you do that.
c) There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to feel safe and cherished in a relationship. That is a normal desire. I think the problem is that you are assuming that that safety can come from a man's physical attraction to you, which it can't. Yes, one of the ways we can feel safe with our partners is if they make us feel good about our bodies, but men are often pretty shitty to women they think are insanely attractive. Also, people often fuck up relationships, no matter how lucky they think they are to be in said relationships. It happens.

d) the reason we're assuming that you've asked is because most men don't verbalize the comparison to other women. They may think "she's not as hot as X" but they don't SAY it to the woman they're with, because most of them are not complete morons. Yes, absolutely men are influenced by the same social beauty standards that women are, and yes, they may compare you. So, really, if you're dating guys who are volunteering the information that you are not as hot as X, you're dating assholes.

Daisy Razor

@well, then Well, here's the thing then: Sex isn't about "self-cultivation." It's about sharing. Whether you're sharing emotions or pleasure or even dislike, you aren't the only person in the room. And asking the other person involved to cease all of their thoughts and hangups and turn-ons to worship you? Is, yes, completely unrealistic.

I get it, I do. I had a boyfriend tell me I could stand to lose ten pounds when I was fifteen pounds under weight. Guess what? That guy was an asshole! He should never have been allowed to see me naked. I think what you should really look for is someone who's "so dumbstruck by his luck in being with [you] that he would never ever do anything to fuck it up" while your clothes are ON. Honestly, I was so in love with my now-husband by the time I saw him naked that I could not have cared less that he had hair in places I had never seen hair before on humans.

You need to be with someone whom you can tell you feel "unbearably vulnerable" before sex. That is something your partner needs to know! It has nothing to do with the beauty industry or societal ideals and everything to do with your feelings.

MilesofMountains

@well, then I'm glad you replied, because I think it clarifies some things. If you're not asking these men and they're just offering up criticism of your body or giving it a rating, and they're not respecting your boundaries, the problem isn't that you want to be seen as insanely desirable, the problem is that you're dating men who treat you really badly and THAT'S what you need to address. Because that doesn't actually have anything to do with how hot you are, or how much your partner appreciates your looks. The man I dated with who said all the time how I was the hottest woman he'd ever seen, absolutely beautiful, the most fantastic girlfriend he'd ever had etc. was also the man who took the most advantage of me and treated me the shabbiest. My current boyfriend doesn't say any of those things, but he respects and values me and I feel safe and loved with him. There isn't much correlation there.

RNL
RNL

@TheBourneApproximation Big hugs. I've been an anonymous LW commenter. It's very very weird to have a bunch of strangers commenting on your honestly shared agony.

So I'll keep right on doing it. Weird, too.

I wonder - is this a sexual fantasy or a romantic fantasy? As a sexual fantasy, it's totally doable, and pretty tame. If people can act out rape, you can act out body worship. As a romantic fantasy it sounds like it's pretty harmful. Of course you should be with someone who worships who, and who respects your boundaries. But it sounds like you want to be treasured in a way that is not what relationships are about (in my experience and opinion). Relationships of equals hurt - they are vulnerable, they are not about someone loving you so very much that they will never never exercise any agency that runs contrary to your interest. And they are definitely not centred on love of a body.

In which case, sounds like the therapy suggestion is a good one.

thebestjasmine

@Blushingflwr Yes yes yes to all of this: c) There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with wanting to feel safe and cherished in a relationship. That is a normal desire. I think the problem is that you are assuming that that safety can come from a man's physical attraction to you, which it can't. Yes, one of the ways we can feel safe with our partners is if they make us feel good about our bodies, but men are often pretty shitty to women they think are insanely attractive. Also, people often fuck up relationships, no matter how lucky they think they are to be in said relationships. It happens.

So so true. A man being attracted to you and think that you're beautiful has nothing to do with how he's going to treat you.

Hella

@well, then I want to feel like I have a partner who is so dumbstruck by his luck in being with me that he would never ever do anything to fuck it up. I want to feel safe and desired and absolutely treasured by my partner.

Vulnerability is so scary. When I read your comment it made me think of my first serious relationship, where I spent a lot of time thinking of ways of being the Perfect Girlfriend, coming up with the Perfect Birthday Presents, and basically of worming my way into my boyfriend's life so much that he could never ever even think of dumping me. I seriously spent a lot of time masterminding this, and planning it out :( Although my insecurity didn't manifest itself in bed so much, it's like I was always trying to have the upper hand, or be the Most Wanted partner... Your comments about wanting your body to be worshiped, etc., have your boyfriend think you're the most beautiful woman he's ever slept with feel so familiar to me in that way.

well, then

@Blushingflwr Well, put it another way: telling your partner s/he is attractive requires almost no effort on your part and does a lot to signal that you're invested in it being a good experience for the other person, regardless of the context (long-term, short-term, etc). I tell my partners it all the time, in a fair amount of detail, because I want them to feel good about themselves. You're absolutely right that it might not signal anything in particular about their characters if they do tell me that I'm pretty; on the other hand, if they refuse to do so or get resentful when they know it matters, it's probably a decent sign that they might not be any more respectful of my happiness in other, more important, more bodily ways. I guess I see it as far more related than other people seem to. After all, why wouldn't you take the opportunity to make another person's life a little better when you could?

Blushingflwr

@well, then *telling your partner s/he is attractive requires almost no effort on your part*
Exactly.
Yes, you should tell your partner that you find them attractive. My Gentleman Friend tells me that I'm sexy all the time. And he shows me by the way he looks at me and touches me. And I tell him that I think he's handsome all the time. And how lucky I feel to be with him. And one of the ways I knew things were over with my first boyfriend was because he DIDN'T tell me I was pretty on a day when I'd put forth a lot of effort to make myself look good, and I was lying in bed next to him comforting myself with the fact that one of my platonic male friends thought I was pretty.
I'm saying this to say that you're right, it does matter that your partner pays you compliments and makes you feel good about yourself (your body, your intellect, your character).
And so, yes, if a man is unwilling to make that effort when he has reason to believe it is important to you (different people have different needs for compliments/praise/validation, he may not assume you need to hear it/may assume you already know you're smokin' hot), that is a sign that he's not going to be willing to go out of his way to make you happy in other ways.

thebestjasmine

@well, then Not everyone feels the way that you do. Hearing from one's partner that one is super attractive isn't a top priority to everyone, it doesn't occur to everyone to constantly give compliments. Some people get resentful when being told what to do, not because they don't care about their partner's happiness, but because they don't like being told what to do, and they would rather express their feelings towards someone in other ways that feel more natural to them. Maybe their version of making someone's life a little better is taking out the garbage, or making dinner, or washing the car, or making sure that the TiVo is set to catch your favorite show. You might need to find a broader way of judging how someone is respectful of your happiness.

Myrtle

@Ophelia "Desperation. The world's worst cologne."

Ellie

@well, then You wrote: "And so I guess the question then is if it is, in fact, unreasonable or pathological to want a partner who thinks I'm insanely attractive and never even in passing compares me to the societal ideal, what's a rational girl to hope for?"

No! I really, really think that this is not AT ALL unreasonable or pathological in the least. I think other commenters are being a bit harsh, including describing your post as "three paragraphs of defensiveness" (I found your initial comment quite non-defensive, rather, explanatory). I believe I feel the same way you do. I'm not saying that I am sad and disappointed when I don't get the feeling that the guy I'm sleeping with thinks I'm the sexiest creature on the earth, but that this, to me as well, is the ideal feeling to have. It's true that perhaps when I do feel this way, it's something that is just somehow coming from me and my perceptions of the situation, and thereby from my own self-esteem or enthusiasm. But really, I think it's possible to hold out for someone who does make you feel this way - as commenter Diana mentions below, there are sooooooo many examples of this even with women (presumably) less objectively attractive than the average person, throughout human history. If you want it, I don't think it's anything you need to "get over."

Honestly, it's great when someone does nice things like feeding the cat in the context of humdrum life, but during sex I am (ideally) NOT lying there contemplating how many routine household chores someone "shows his appreciation for me" or "is respectful of my happiness" by doing. I think other people are focusing on relationship circumstances while I read your question as being more narrowly focused on the experience of sex. (Incidentally, most of the experiences of my own I'm comparing this to are experiences of casual sex as opposed to "relationship sex" - I don't know if that has a bearing.)

entangled

@well, then I think part of why so many people wondered if you were asking for more specific evaluation of your looks is that very few people have encountered sexual partners who out of the blue during sex said things like "well, you're okay looking but I've had better." If they ARE saying something that blatant and that out of the blue, then it makes your situation pretty clear - any guy who says that is that perfect combination of asshole and socially inept and really pick your pants up off the floor and delete your number from his phone on your way out the door.

The other thing I kind of feel like I want clarified here is whether these tend to be guys that you are in relationships with or if it's more casual sex. I think in a relationship, there needs to be a little give and take before figuring out how to make someone feel appreciated and adored. People tend to be pretty dense and assume that their message is getting through and if it's not you should speak up and say something. It doesn't have to be a big deal Talk Time, just saying "hey, cutie, it really makes me feel gorgeous and loved when you say things like that more often."

Though it sounds like this might be more casual sex partners that you're dealing with, in which case the situation is a little different. Not because casual sex is bad or wrong... I am of the opinion that it is generally pretty awesome. BUT it leaves a lot less time for making sure your emotional needs are met because it's primarily about the sex. And you know what? If you are sleeping with someone you've just met they may well not think that you are the hottest, most interesting person they've talked to all day. They might, and they almost certainly do think that you are pretty good looking, but they are probably interested in the same thing you are which is getting some sexytime. If you are feeling really vulnerable and feeling like you need the sort of adoration and comfort that you are not getting, then maybe you're not at the right time and mental place to have sex with people you don't already know fairly well. Taking your clothes off with someone new is always a little scary and intimidating but if it's making you feel unbearably vulnerable as you say, then I think you need to make sure that you only take your clothes off with partners whom you trust enough and who have already shown enough respect that you are able to tell them how vulnerable you feel. You should be at the point where you feel like you can tell them what you need to get through that and they should be at the point (and decent enough guys or girls) to want desperately to make you as comfortable and excited as they are.

thebestjasmine

@Ellie You and the LW are conflating loving someone and finding them attractive, and while I get that, I think it's dangerous. And it's not just that someone else finds you attractive, they have to SAY so in the words that you want them to at the exact times that you want them to. And I understand that because I've been there and it made me miserable, because no one ever did that right. And then I realized that no one is ever going to do that just right, because no one else is in my head and realizes just what I want someone to say. Yes, of course it's normal to want someone to find you attractive. But if that's your first priority in a relationship, and if everything else in your happiness in a relationship hinges on whether they say it enough and in the way that you want them to and exactly during the times that you want them to, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness.

Passion Fruit

@well, then

Personally, I think it's normal to want your sex partner to "feel delighted to see you naked," and to perhaps even think that you're "the most unbelievably beautiful woman in the world." I mean, lovers are the only people I expect this reaction from. I do not expect, and would not want, this type of praise from my friends, my coworkers, or strangers on the street (I mean, hey, sometimes, yes, strangers on the street, but that's only when I'm feeling particularly caffeinated). I don't think it's an unreasonable desire.

People need both external and internal validation to feel good. So, yes, wanting to feel especially beautiful to the person that sexes you up is normal. But, it did sound like that internal source of confidence was a little shaky in your letter. And truly, honestly, (un)fortunately, that quivering feeling of vulnerability that lies behind the "Am I the most beautiful woman you've ever seen" question must be answered, validated, and honored by YOU. (Laaaame Oprah answer, I know. SRY.) I hope you get to a point where the fact that you are on "the nicer side of average" does not really relate to feeling like the most beautiful woman to your partner, because, in ways that I am unable to articulate right now, it doesn't really work like that.

In sum: I think the praise/adoration you want from a partner is totally normal. I also think you have some more growth ahead of you to get out of the (toxic) mindset (that we're all indoctrinated with since birth) that 1) there is even such a thing as "prettiest woman in the room," or that 2) being pretty is the key to adoration. (Does this strike a chord with you, or am I off base?)

I don't know what will help you get to that realization -- maybe therapy, maybe yoga, maybe living alone, maybe a mushroom trip, maybe all four (DO ALL FOUR!), who knows. But hopefully you will get to that point, and you will live your life feeling wonderful, because, dammit, you should.

Passion Fruit

Also, I wanted to add that I don't mean you need to love yourself by looking in the mirror and chanting "A+, A+, A+!" to yourself, stadium-style, until you feel better (although I will start because this thought is hilarious).

What I meant was that this intense feeling of vulnerability, that makes total sense in light of past partners who "haven't always been great with physical boundaries," should be addressed by you. Compliments by lovers are nice and delicious, but they won't fully soothe this anxiety. I mean, as you've written more, your issue doesn't even really sound like it's about looks, it's about feeling valued, calm, and safe in an intimate setting with another human being. It seems like you're hurting, and I feel for you. I hope you do feel "safe and desired and absolutely treasured by my partner." Hugs!

Ellie

@thebestjasmine I really think that what I said had absolutely nothing to do with the idea of love. As I said in my previous comment, I'm thinking mostly about casual sex partners. I can't explain why I DO get this impression from guys (so I guess I'm just imagining it?) but I do think part of it is the impression that the guys themselves actually give about how into it they are. My first priority in sex is to have a really fun time. My first priority in a relationship is something I haven't been thinking about at all in the context of writing comments in this thread. I agree that it now seems to me like we are talking more about relationships than just sex, which is I guess where my experience/feelings on this differ.

scamels

@well, then I'm a lurker here, but I had to chime in because I thought you explained yourself very well and I don't want you to feel too discouraged. Essentially, I agree with the people above who have said that this is both a normal and a totally achievable thing to want when you are in a sexual relationship with someone.

I am by many -- maybe most -- people's standards an ugly woman. Many -- probably most -- people wouldn't want to have sex with me. Nonetheless, I have experienced the kind of emotional and sexual experience you're talking about -- feeling totally desired by my partner -- many times! I think feeling proud to be with your partner is an integral part of wanting to be with someone. If someone _isn't_ proud of being with you most of the time then why are they with you? Don't give up, and don't think you're responsible for these lackluster emotional experiences. While not every sexual encounter will be emotionally fulfilling, it is both reasonable and possible that many will be, and if you're consistently encountering partners who don't seem enthusiastic and appreciative, then I think you're consistently encountering jerks!

One piece of advice I can give you is to date/sleep with feminists, if possible. I've found a pretty significant overlap between people who actually like women and people who actually like me (and having sex with me). So, in short, I don't think the problem is you, and you deserve to sleep with people who are delighted to sleep with you too.

Lia Stratton@facebook

@well, then ...I am logging in to post my first ever comment to the Hairpin because of this!

well, then, LW3--I have totally been where you are! I am generally pretty happy with my appearance. And I have a lot of other awesome qualities going for me that I am proud of. However, I still crave that validation and want to be considered the sexiest, most beautiful etc. I get irrationally jealous/insecure and it scares/confuses/frustrates me because I believe I am otherwise a confident and secure person. I totally understand how hard this is to articulate.

The thing that has helped me the most is reconciling that my physical beauty is completely entwined with my inner beauty and accepting that you can't parcel these things out. You mention wanting to feel treasured and safe...and what I'm hearing is that you want to feel VALUED. And although you believe you have valuable qualities, you also seem to think that beauty is the #1 value indicator. Or even if YOU don't believe beauty is the #1 value indicator, after a lifetime of being told that it is, you think everyone else does. Well it's not! And they don't!

You want and deserve your partner to respect you -- ALL of you. You are a package deal. Super above average out-of-the-park grand slam awesomeness along with slightly above average looks. Someone with super above average supermodel looks doesn't automatically trump your value. A good partner will also realize this.

Find the partner that thinks you are amazing and values your inner beauty outside the bedroom and that should translate to him valuing your outer beauty in the bedroom. I am okay with my boyfriend rating another girl's looks as a 10 because I know that to him, I'm more than my looks, I'm the whole package. And that makes me even sexier to him (ok, fine, I'm not at the 100% ok with it stage yet, but I am getting there--plus, my boyfriend is smart and kind and does not tell me that he thinks other girls are 10s because he VALUES me).

Beauty is subjective. You want someone who can acknowledge and celebrate that even though you don't meet objective supermodel 15/10 standards, they still find you to be the sexiest, most beautiful. That doesn't mean you're waiting around for the person whose type is "slightly above average"-- it means waiting around for the person who likes you for you so much that you become the most beautiful in their eyes.

Now, I don't get the sense you were talking about casual sex, but in case you are. Then my advice is a little different. Take ownership of your casual sex experience. Don't have sex with someone looking for emotional validation over how you look. Have casual sex with someone because it feels good and because YOU think THEY are sexy. You should feel in control because you're doing it because YOU want to, not because you think they want to, or want them to want to. If someone who you think is drop dead gorgeous is consenting to have casual sex with you and their attitude toward your body is "meh" then you should be like: "man, this person is kind of an idiot for not recognizing how awesome I am. but dang are they hot. and they wanna have sex with me so I guess I'm doing something right". Let go of all the desire for validation and just accept that you wanna get laid, because that's all it is. If you can't separate the two, then maybe you're not in the best place to have casual sex.

And if you simply get off on someone worshiping your body/looks (and it's purely a sexual thrill, not for emotional validation), then I think go ahead and encourage sex partners to do that for you--making sure to phrase it like an awesome idea and not an insecure demand ("omg it would make me so hot for you to tell me everything you love about my body" vs. "please tell me how sexy I am?").

selenalynn

@TheBourneApproximation I have definitely had my share of dudes saying rotten things to me, mostly unprompted. One boyf talked about his "dream girl" with red hair and green eyes (I am a brown haired brunette). Another date said "I think you're pretty, even if no one else does." Long term boyf told me I was "almost as pretty" as an American Apparel model (I had just pointed out that we looked kinda similar GENETICALLY, because not that many people do, not asking for a judgement). Obviously, I am no longer dating any of these dudes. But sadly, I have come across all manner of douches who have said douchey things to me while simultaneously trying to get in my pants. So I don't find LW3's scenario all that far fetched at all.

VaginaWig

1. I would be wary of marrying someone so quickly. Quick involvement and attachment is a red flag of abusive relationships. The abuser often seems too good to be true and comes in and sweeps you off your feet, hoping to trap you in something that is harder to leave, like marraige, children, cohabitation, very quickly. This way you are attached to them before their true colors start to show.

Obviously, this is not necessarily the case with this guy. But I'd be wary of anyone that sweeps you off your feet so quickly and is moving full steam ahead on marraige within a week of knowing you. See how he reacts to the suggestion of waiting to get married or slowing things down. Does he try to guilt you or get upset and demanding? These are bad signs and again point to an abusive personality.

toastandjam

@VaginaWig Huh. I am relating to this in ways that make me uncomfortable. (happily not with Current Gentleman Caller (CGC) but with the ex. Ugh.

okaycrochet

@VaginaWig You are full of good advice, but I am ultimately distracted into simply saying YOUR HANDLE AND YOUR PICTURE ARE KILLING ME, IT IS MAGIC, WHAT IS HAPPENING

VaginaWig

@okaycrochet Haha, thank you! This handle has been laying dormant for a while and I thought it was time that I resurrected it.

Heather@twitter

@VaginaWig FUCK YOU, STACY MERKIN!

Atheist Watermelon

@Heather@twitter I giggle helplessly anytime anyone mentions Merkin Hall... aughh

FoxBaseAlpha

@VaginaWig Yes! This! Quick involvement can sometimes be fine and just lucky happenstance, but it can often - much more often - be the indicator of something being not quite right, or very not right.

I once dated someone who worked very hard to sweep me off my feet as quickly as possible, and I specifically remember him telling me a story about meeting an old couple who had been married 40 years and had wed 3 days after they met, which he told me specifically to make his point about how whirlwind romances were GREAT and I should not be so anxious/distrustful/cautious about how quickly things were moving. Guess who turned out to be a massive, emotionally manipulative, lying dickhole? That guy.

Which is not to say, LW, that your guy will necessarily be those things. He might not be; he could be great. But you don't know. You can't know yet. Which is why slowing things down is a really really good idea. I was lucky to get away from that guy pretty quickly, and once I found some hindsight, I was so ever-lovingly grateful to myself for not proceeding full steam ahead. When I was in the middle of it, I really couldn't see it, but just because I didn't see it didn't mean it wasn't there. Which again is not to say the same will happen for you, just that caution is advisable. And a good thing.

gobblegirl

GREAT ANSWERS.
Though maybe LW#3 should stop dating people who call her fine and start dating people who call her fiiiiiiiiiiine. Because the boys she's currently dating seem really rude. (Though I think the reality is possibly - judging from the insecurity evident in the letter - that she is pressing and pressing to find out what their previous girlfriends looked like, and asking "am I the prettiest in the land" until they can't take it anymore. But that doesn't mean they aren't rude).

dracula's ghost

@gobblegirl Yes! I said the same thing below before seeing your post

itiresias

@gobblegirl Perks of being a wallflower, yo. ~*we accept the love we think we deserve*~

MoonBat

@itiresias
"We accept the love we think we deserve" is one line of the truest wisdom ever, thank you so much!!!
SO ENLIGHTENING!

Ophelia

@dracula's ghost Ditto. Totally.

HereKitty

@gobblegirl So well put! "fine vs. fiiiiiiiiiiine" belongs in the Hairpin glossary alongside "heart/vagina."

gobblegirl

Advice for LW#1: What's the worst that could happen? Life is a crapshoot. Are you more excited by the idea of spending the rest of your life with him, or more scared?
But get a prenup, to protect you both. If you get married right away you don't have any shared assets until you get hitched, so it's best if you have all your ducks in a row before you do it. And then do whatever you want! Personally, I am not the elope-to-vegas type. But that is why I'm not you.

dracula's ghost

LW3, it also seems like you must be ASKING your partners for very clinical ratings of your objective prettiness. It's hard for me to believe that you keep ending up with dudes who just out-of-the-blue inform you of your precise beauty statistics; I've literally never had a boy do this to me and I've been having sex since the 90s. So, my sense is you must be asking them, and kind of insisting on "tell me honestly" and stuff, and so then they're like, well, okay, you're pretty but you're QUITE OBVIOUSLY not Charlize Theron. Which, duh.

If this is the case, I urge you to stop asking! Let them tell you what they want to tell you, in the moment, and just accept it. Usually a decent boy will inform you that you look so hot baby, or whatever, and I think we all need to just accept that and not try to pin him down on HOW HOT EXACTLY he thinks we are on a scale of 1-10. Everybody thinks the person they're boning is sexy, thus the boning; let that be what it is. It's nice. Don't seek out opportunities to be told you aren't as handsome as Charlize Theron. And anyway, she's like 7 feet tall, who needs the headache of finding pants that are long enough??

thebestjasmine

@dracula's ghost YES, I was just coming here to ask if she keeps asking them to rate her. Because I have seriously never gotten unrequested ratings on my body from a dude, and it's not like I date all superstars. Stop doing this, it's terrible, and it just makes you feel bad.

RNL
RNL

@dracula's ghost Yeah, DO NOT DO THIS. Why would you ask? Seriously, why?

Here's my tried and true method for getting affirmation (and for the record and for what it's worth, I am, on the very strict societal standard of beauty, probably more like a C+, but still sleep with plenty of dudes and get lots of compliments):

1) Give it. Say "you are so hot..." "I love your [body part]" (I personally often to go forearms, because I love men's forearms, but do you.) etc. He will probably reciprocate. When he does:

2) Take the compliment, and reward him sexually by being very enthusiastic. He says something about your ass, grab his hand, put it on your ass and say "you like that ass? Yeah, I'm going to [fuck/blow etc] you so [hard/much etc]" etc whatever. Let him associate compliments with sexual enthusiasm in his mind.

You will get lots of compliments. Whether they are 100% truthful at first will cease to matter. He will think you're really hot because you're enthusiastic in bed, about his body, and about yours.

skyslang

@RobotsNeedLove I like your advice! It's totally practical. Guys need compliments too! Compliments make for hotter sex! It also sounds like a lot of fun.

gobblegirl

@thebestjasmine The only unrequested rating that is ever acceptable is 11/10. If someone gets naked for you, you compliment them (explicitly or implied).
And PS, @dracula's ghost - I don't know why, but "I have been having sex since the 90s" is the best phrase of all time, and I can't quite figure out why. I am hearing it in a bored-mom "Don't try to fool me dear, I wasn't born yesterday" kind of voice, and it is perfect.

RNL
RNL

@skyslang It IS a lot of fun! There's a great comment downthread about the role of fantasy in LW3's question. It sounds like her fantasy is to sleep with dudes who think she's really hot. She's probably already achieving it, but because she's hard on her own body, she's not living the fantasy. She's not experiencing what's going on.

I get that. I have a similar fantasy. Which is why I would NEVER ask a dude for a clinical evaluation, but instead try to create an environment where I implicitly ask him to act like I'm really really hot.

Oh and: we are all hotter when we think we are hotter. Nothing is less attractive than self criticism.

Ophelia

@gobblegirl LOLOL. YES. I'm going to start saying that. "Whatever, I've been having sex since the '90s, so you can't faze me."

alliepants

@RobotsNeedLove "we are all hotter when we think we are hotter." THAT. I have gotten comments from gentleman friends about body parts, and I'm always like "... and?" I am fully convinced that 2-5 extra pounds in a given week, or a stubborn pudge, doesn't make anyone less hot. You know what does make people less hot? Being too insecure to eat delicious things or relax and have good sex.

packedsuitcase

@alliepants YES! And in a pinch, enthusiasm about sex will do. Because if you're insecure about being bloated or having gained weight or whatever, let me tell you, an enthusiastic blowjob will solve that like nothing else. You get out of your own head, your partner thinks you're super sexy and fun, and lots of fun sexytimes will be had.

cecil hungry

@packedsuitcase "Get out of your head and start giving them head!" Or is that just too Sex and the City?

RNL
RNL

@cecil hungry They can't see much of your body when you're sitting on their face(s).

packedsuitcase

@RobotsNeedLove Hahahahaha, basically! I'm a big believer in acting sexy to feel sexy.

tales

@packedsuitcase I'm kind of grossed out by the "focus on your partner's sexual desires so that they'll think you're hotter" thing going on here. I mean it's basically "ladies? feel bad about yourself? give blowjobs! blowjobs are the path to confidence" It's gross (and heteronormative, what queer ladies never have body issues?). Have good sex because you love your body and your partner's body.

packedsuitcase

@tales Solid point, and not how I intended this to come out at all! I meant it more as a "If you're feeling like sexy times but insecure, throw yourself into focusing on your partner's body and things you like doing for them, and the mood will come." And I'm very sorry to my queer sisters for leaving them out, I sid "blowjobs" because that's what I give, but I will try to be more inclusive!

thebestjasmine

@tales Hmm, I see why you would say that, but obviously the letter writer doesn't love her body, and many other people don't either. Just directing people to LOVE THEIR BODY doesn't do anything. Saying "focus on the sex that you're having right now" does a better job (for some people) of helping them get out of their focus on their own body and find a way of focusing on someone else. And yeah, the blow job thing is heteronormative, but the letter writer was talking about how she feels about dudes, not other women.

packedsuitcase

@packedsuitcase Ugh. It won't let me edit and I want to clarify further! Basically, what I meant was less to do with making your partner think your sexy and more about throwing yourself into something fun so that you stop analyzing whether or not they think you're sexy. Of course they think you're sexy, they're having sex with you! It's about getting out of the trap of listening to the negative voice in your head, not about making them think you're sexy.

tales

@packedsuitcase Yeah, I get it. (Partly I think my hackles were raised because that "blowjob enthusiasm" thing in the Bachelorette article has been bugging me, so - sorry for pouncing!)

@thebestjasmine I agree! What I was more getting at is that "focus on the sex you're having right now" seems to frequently be communicated as "sex that's focused on your partner's pleasure NOT yours", hence the blowjob objection. Can't we just actually say "focus on giving/receiving awesome good feelings" instead of "give them an enthusiastic blowjob"?

(I will also fully allow that I just have some problems with "blowjob" in general that might color these things. Oral sex is a great part of sex, but to me 'blowjob' just communicates 'one-sided act that is not at all about reciprocity or the woman involved at all'.)

thebestjasmine

@tales Yes, I can see where you're coming from. I feel like in many of these comments, "blowjob" was shorthand for "Instead of being so in your own head, do something for your partner." I think in this instance, when she (and many others, not to pick on this letter writer) is so focused on herself, concentrating on someone else's pleasure is a lot easier than trying to relax and get pleasure yourself. I notice in this letter she didn't talk at all about the sex or how it was or if she likes it, just about her body. If she's so worried about how she looks during sex, sometimes just giving a blow job where you know he can't really see you can make it easier to stop worrying about that for a while. (Again, heteronormative, I've never slept with a woman and therefore don't want to speak to what it's like when a woman has those feelings and her sexual partner is also a woman, but I would love to hear about it if any women who have would like to jump in)

packedsuitcase

@thebestjasmine Yes! I think thebestjasmine got where I was going with the blowjob comment. I also tend towards that particular act because I really enjoy it (Dudefriend gets all squirmy and excited and that really turns me on), so I think I (inarticulately) use "blowjob" as a stand in for "exciting sexual activity of your choice."

MilesofMountains

LW#3, I'm confused. Are you actually asking them to rate your attractiveness? Don't do that. Really, don't do that. I really 100% see no way for that to end well, and it's not really fair to them. If they're giving you some sort of verdict on your attractiveness without you asking, dump them because that's a horrible thing for them to do.

ohpioneer

@MilesofMountains For real.

hulia

@MilesofMountains Right, I can't tell if she's asking the dudes or if this commentary is unsolicited. If the latter, obviously, DTMFA (grade scales, seriously?!).

If she's soliciting it though? Enh... she should stop doing that, because she will likely keep asking until she gets some validation from them of her point of view.

Honestly, though, my boyfriend on more than one occasion has dropped a comment that reads as him saying I'm not the most drop-dead gorgeous woman he has ever seen naked. My favorite was when, in relaying to his dudefriends that they had missed out on going to a bar where ever woman there was objectively gorgeous, he said, "And hulia was the ugliest one there!" Which ... ok, I know what you were going for there, sweetheart, but you missed the mark juuuust a little bit. But! I can laugh at that because I know that even if I'm not objectively the prettiest girl in the room (the whole wide room...), I think I'm looking pretty great. And it helps that he agrees.

oh! valencia

@hulia oh, I'm sorry, hulia. but that anecdote made me laugh so hard. I do get what he was going for, though. Obviously he thinks you are pretty great-looking (using you as a benchmark for hyperbole like that) and I'm sure your confidence doesn't hurt.

packedsuitcase

@hulia Oh man, I'm giggling a little, too. It's totally something Dudefriend would say, to which I would respond with some (joking) variation of, "That's a mighty fine hole you've got there. Want a shovel to make it a little cozier to sleep in tonight?" And probably a poke in the side.

ragazza

I wonder if these guys are spontaneously telling LW#3 that she's not super-attractive or if she's actively soliciting their opinions? I can't tell from the letter. Either way I wouldn't be with anyone who didn't think I was the hottest thing on the planet--which doesn't always correlate with objective definitions of beauty, you know. I'm pretty attractive, but am getting older and am no supermodel--I could give you a list of my physical flaws--but my boyfriend constantly tells me how gorgeous I am and I choose to believe him. I think we all objectively know our lovers aren't perfect 10s (usually) but if they are the right person for us we don't care--or we even embrace their physical flaws. Anyway, LW#3, stop dating jerks or stop harping on your flaws and focus on your attributes.

MilesofMountains

And LW#1, you yourself call it "puppy love". That's not a good basis for a marriage. Have a hot, torrid, emotionally intense whirlwind relationship, sure, but maybe hold off on the marriage for a bit. Marriage will will be there in a year or two.

themegnapkin

@MilesofMountains Agree. Is he about to get deported, or is there some other reason it needs to happen rightnow? If not, wait.

Emby

LW#3, the grading system should fall totally by the wayside once the clothes come off and the business-time bell rings. Everyone has their preferences and whatnot, men and women, but in the bedroom, he or she should be excited about being with YOU. Any judgmental attitudes at that point are about them and not about you. Basically, they're shitbarrels if they try to make you feel like they're settling or that they wish you were somehow better; that's them puffing up their egos, and that is a seriously unsexy thing. So kick them out and find someone who's psyched to have naked times with your hot self.

MoonBat

@Emby Wonderful, wonderful comment.

Also, do you have an actual bell? No, wait, don't tell me. I want to continue imagining that you DO have an actual bell. Because that is truly awesome. "Business Time! *ding*"

Emby

@MoonBat *DING*

Lucienne

@Emby I'm forced to conclude that sex with you is like if Flight of the Conchords opened the NYSE.

Emby

@Lucienne It is similar, though it always ends above the Dow Jones Average ifyougetwhadamsayin.....

MoonBat

@Emby You are killing me softly over here.

Ophelia

@MoonBat Unfortunately, "Business Time" (generally sung to the Conchords) is the command we used to teach my dog to go to the bathroom. So.

City_Dater

This Lady is possibly the best advice lady in the history of advice ladies. "We do not negotiate with bigots", indeed!

And LW#3: You have made me remember that cringe-y scene from LOVELY AND AMAZING in which the pretty youngish actress asks her rather self-centered actor/lover to rate her naked body, and he barely hesitates a second before plunging right in with a critique.
Don't ever get naked with anybody who is capable of such behavior.

City_Dater

@City_Dater

And if you're asking for this treatment and pressing until you get it, STOP. Why push until you find out his last girlfriend did 1,000 lunges a day and had an ass like concrete? If she was really all that, he'd still be with her, right?

dracula's ghost

@City_Dater I was thinking about that scene too!

Megoon

"I always wind up dating men who finally see me naked and are like, “eh, B+.” Or rather, some very reasonable version of, “you’re fine, no supermodel, I’ve dated thinner women, and heavier women, but you’re perfectly attractive.”"

Do guys say these things OUT LOUD? What dude gives his lady a letter grade when she gets undressed and then expects to get laid after?

Jaya

@Megoon I came down here just to say this! Who sees a naked woman and has any other reaction but "YESS!! NAKED!!!"

fondue with cheddar

@Jaya NAKED BOOBIES FOR MEEEEE

Megasus

@Megoon Right? Only appopriate answer to this is to put your clothes back on and be like, "Welp, looks like my vibrator is in for a hell of a workout tonight, bye forever!"

josefinastrummer

@Megoon I have dated some AWFUL guys and none of them have ever said this, at least not when I was naked. Maybe they made comments during other conversations but never when they were about to get laid. I think she is asking/pushing for a rating.

Megasus

@josefinastrummer DOUBLE GROSS

Jaya

@josefinastrummer Actually, I did hook up with a guy who said, unprompted, "You're a great kisser. Obviously I've had better but you're way above average."

fondue with cheddar

@Jaya I hope your your response was, "Aaaand you're not kissing me ever again."

fabel

@Megoon I have to assume she's asking them what they think of her body? Or, at least, these dudes say something like "Ooh, you're so hot" & she is jumping on that ("No, I'm not. Am I? How hot? How hot on a letter-grade scale?") Which...if she is doing this, she should stop.

Jaya

@jen325 I kicked him out of my room, as he insisted that I would be back for more. Later that summer he wound up in a mental hospital, I think. I win at college.

fondue with cheddar

@Jaya Obviously it was because you wouldn't kiss him. He couldn't get you out of his mind!

solaria

@Jaya I MEAN OBVIOUSLY

catalina

@Megoon Honest to Gloria, I once dated a guy who, WHILE WE WERE HALF NAKED AND MAKING OUT, told me "You know, if you want your thighs and butt to be skinnier you should try the exercise bike at the gym." And friends, I was so desperate at that point in my life, I did not even kick him out of my apartment wielding a carving knife. I just kind of pretended not to hear him.

Two weeks later (i know. I KNOW, jeez), when he finally let me take his pants off (in the dark) for some below the belt action (this was a strange relationship by all standards), I discovered that he had a MICROPENIS. Not just, like 'ooh poor dude isn't that well endowed,' but an actual micropenis. We never had sex, I never saw him after that night, and my current partner can't get enough of my thunder thighs, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

fondue with cheddar

@catalina Wow, you'd think he of all people would be sensitive to body-judging.

It's been my experience that most dudes tend not to be turned off by big butts and thunder thighs. Thank goodness!

catalina

@jen325 Well, I think maybe he hadn't come to terms with his own, um, shortcomings and that's why he felt the need to bring other people down. Giving him the benefit of the doubt. In a nice twist, the partner I was with immediately after this guy actually remarked during sex that I had "amazing thighs." I hadn't even told him the story! It was just a little bit of karma, maybe?

fondue with cheddar

@catalina You're probably right. That is nice that the next guy told you you had amazing thighs. :) I think that for every dude who dislikes a part of your body, there is one dude who loves it and three dudes who don't care either way.

catalina

@jen325 I like your math.

fondue with cheddar

@catalina Thanks! Wow, just yesterday somebody told me my math wasn't good enough for them and they suggested I work on it. What a nice twist!

RK Fire

Ah, LW2! My husband and I are not of the same race either and while our marriage didn't spark nearly the same feelings in either of our parents, one of my sister-in-laws went through a similar thing when she married into my husband's family. I don't think her parents even made it to their wedding but her siblings came out in support.

I agree with the Lady of the Day, but just wanted to add a few things:
-your father may come around on this, but you shouldn't let the thought of "maybe he will/maybe he won't" affect your decision on this

-you might be able to and might actually want to explain to your boyfriend's parents why your father is being difficult, especially since they may suspect it anyway if they've already hear stories of you and your boyfriend being together around him and then all of a sudden he's out of the picture. I know it's awkward but I feel like this is always a possibility when interracial relationships occur.

Quick anecdote: My mother brought up the whole "your father and I always thought that you and RK Fire should end up with people like us (same ethnicity/same generation in the US/same socioeconomic status" when my older sister was already engaged and discussing wedding invitation options. My mom is now totally cool with my brother-in-law and all of the biracial nieces, but it was kind of touch and go for a bit.

-It is always disappointing when your parents reveal themselves to be normal, bigoted humans. :/

Slapfight

@RK Fire @LW2, My dad was always racist. Then my little sister got pregnant by a man of color, had the most beautiful baby in the world, and lo and behold, my dad rewrites his entire history. To the point where he didn't speak to his own brother for a couple of years after saying some rotten things about it. A Lady is right. Say your piece, stand your ground, maybe he'll get over it. Maybe he won't. But if you're serious out this guy, this is the family you choose, not the one you're born to. Would you rather give up the love of your life to placate your father with whom you don't agree with?

RK Fire

Also, can I just say (since I don't know if LW2 is white or not) that I think parents who come from, let's say, more homogenous upbringings sometimes get really freaked out and show their underlying prejudices about interracial dating/biracial kids because suddenly it's like "I can't relate to this new part of my family because they don't look like me!" It's incredibly silly, and with my family, it's taken sometime for my parents' generation to come around to the fact that, yes, people are people and they can relate to one another even if they have different hair and skin colors. But I don't think the source is necessarily out and out hate, let's get some sheets and pointy hats. I think the blinders do come off and they have to deal with all of this cognitive dissonance at once.

I am not at all excusing any of it. It's just.. this is what I contemplated for years w/r/t my mother when I first dated my husband. Full disclosure: I'm SE Asian, my husband is Black. My brother-in-law (who was my brother in law when my husband and I started dating) is white, but for those of you who are familiar with some Asian American communities may know, White/Asian is a little different than Black/Asian.

I'm still holding my breath when we have kids, because you know, OMG darker skin.

RationalHatter

@RK Fire I 75% agree, but I'm not sure why she would want to explain it to the boyfriend's family. She can (maybe) forgive her dad if he comes around eventually, but airing this dirty laundry will basically just ensure that her future in-laws will forever think of him as "Her father, the bigot." If she's hoping for a turnaround here, I think the best bet would be to explain to her boyfriend why she's no longer talking to her dad, and mention that she is "humiliated and terrified" so she'd prefer if they kept this to themselves. Also, it'll be harder for the dad to change his mind if everybody already knows he's racist.

josefinastrummer

@Slapfight I always say that babies are the slow but sure way of getting over racism. Maybe bigoted dads can get pissed at their daughters for marrying outside of the race, but most of them are going to end up suckers for their grandbabies, no matter what they look like.

bashe

@RK Fire I wonder also if there's an aspect of religious/linguistic/cultural difference in the father's opposition? We're all kind of thinking that the LW is white, her boyfriend African-American, but maybe that's not the case. Maybe her dad doesn't want a Christian son-in-law, or it's the boyfriend's parents who are okay with a non-Buddhist daughter-in-law, or what have you. It's still intolerance, but maybe more comprehensible if parents are coming from a religious or cultural tradition that is a minority in the US. Says the Jewish girl with the Muslim husband.

RK Fire

@RationalHatter: I was thinking of it because it may seem weird if her father is totally out of the picture when it comes to family introductions and overall wedding planning discussions. I think you're right though, there are compelling reasons not to disclose it and LW2 should do whatever she feels most comfortable with. However I do think that her father's absence would be noticed, and the family may suspect that he hasn't given his blessing regardless of whether or not she discloses.

@Bashe: I do agree with you on this. I am trying really hard to not automatically assume that 1) LW2 is white (it's not like white people have a monopoly on the anti-interracial relationship thing) or that 2) her bf is not-white. I didn't think about the religious angle, but I do think that there are a lot of different shades to the bigotry that would lead to LW2's dad (whatever his cultural/religious/ethnic persuasion) that would lead to him to not want LW2 to marry her bf, and it's not all about the KKK.

p.s. Shiiiit I bet that was a fun conversation, Bashe!

RK Fire

P.S. Am I just being really callous about the "telling the boyfriend's parents" thing? Again, I don't know what LW#2's background is or her boyfriend's background, but I really do think that if the boyfriend and his family are POC, they're going to be able to connect the dots re. that the absence of the father in case of family introductions. That being said, I'm both used to having conversations along these lines with other POC about my relationship with my husband, how my family reacted, how his family reacted, etc. I think it's a lot better that way, but of course your mileage may vary, etc.

MilesofMountains

@bashe I actually have been wondering about that, since I've known two women with Chinese immigrant parents whose parents were ok with them having white boyfriends, but not marrying white guys. In one case, the father threw a similar fit when my friend started getting serious with a white guy.

RationalHatter

@RK Fire I mean, I guess my thinking is that it would be better to let them wonder (or not guess it at all) just to give the racist dad a chance to mend his ways. I'm also intuiting based on a friend's experience: her fiancee's Indian family VERY strongly disapproved of him marrying a white girl, but when he made it clear that it was either gain a white daughter or lose their son, they chose the former. He and my friend elected not to tell her parents, and by the time wedding planning had rolled around, the parents were all on board, no awkward "So, I hear you used to think my daughter wasn't good enough for your son" conversation necessary. I mean, if it gets to the point where the wedding is happening and he's not there, then yeah, the cat is probably out of the bag. But they're not even engaged yet-- there's time for the dad to realize that this isn't 1950 and he's going to be the one to have to change.

RK Fire

@RationalHatter: This is a really good point. I think I was just getting obstinate, and I don't have a very good reason why.

siniichulok

@bashe I'm a Jewish girl with a Muslim husband too! Yay! Incidentally, the Jewish side of my family is not speaking to me really, but they never really did all that much (my dad is Catholic), so the difference is negligible. My Catholic side all love my husband, though.

EpWs

@RK Fire BABY-RELATED SIDEBAR: Having seen your wedding pictures when you shared them a while back, I can safely assume that your babies (if and when you want them and create them biologically!) will be so insanely gorgeous that they may just knock racism out entirely. BAM, no more racism because adorable babies. Seems reasonable to me.

bashe

@siniichulok There are a lot more Muslim-Jewish marriages than people think! I wonder too if both faiths' status as minority cultures makes them more sympatico, in some ways, than Christian-Jewish marriages? No fights about pork or circumcision, at least.

siniichulok

@bashe Exactly! And so many people are all like, "wow! Aren't your families MAD?" [yes, but his got over it and mine is always mad anyway so who cares] "What about the CHILDREN?" [none of their beeswax] "Don't you FIGHT?" [hardly ever, and not about that] "Does he try to make you to wear a burqa?"[uh, NO] "Then I guess you're, like, contributing to conflict resolution?" [no, not our job, plus our respective ancestral nations are not in conflict] I think (usually Christian) people see Christianity as a sort of neutral or default category, and both Judaism and Islam are more colorful or alien or forcefully Other to them (and therefore prime conflict material), when--like you said--the joint minority status, as well as some similarities, actually make some things a bit easier. This is definitely the easiest relationship I have ever had, including religion-wise.

JadedStone

I'm sorry if this is a spoiler but...
DHARMA AND GREG BREAK UP. THEY DIVORCE AT THE END. DEAR GOD EVEN THE SITCOM COUPLE BROKE UP CAUSE DUH IT CAN'T WORK LIKE THAT.

melis

ALSO IT WAS A TERRIBLE FUCKING BULLSHIT SHOW THAT DEMEANED ALL OF HUMANITY SIMPLY BY EXISTING

melis

WE HAVE BEEN SPIRITUALLY IMPOVERISHED AS A CULTURE BY IT SO IF YOU GET MARRIED BECAUSE OF THAT SHOW I GUARANTEE YOU WILL DIMINISH INTO HAGGARD HATEFUL ONE-LINE SHADOWS OF YOUR FORMER SELVES THAT SKITTER ABOUT DARK HALLWAYS IN BUTTERFLY CLIPS AND BUSINESS SUITS

melis

"I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE GOING GOLFING WITH YOUR BOSS LIKE A SOULLESS DRONE" YOU'LL HISS AS BILE DRIPS FROM YOUR TEETH "ARE THESE LOVE BEADS IN MY LAW BRIEFCASE" HE'LL EXCLAIM WITH MURDER IN HIS HEART

oh! valencia

@JadedStone Did they really? I had no idea! I guess I didn't care enough to keep watching to the end, but yikes.

JadedStone

@melis "IS THAT INCENSE YOU'RE BURNING YOU HIPPIE HUSSY?" "BETTER THAN THE REEK OF CORPORATE GREED!!!"

Emby

@melis The line between melis and evil melis is a thin one.

City_Dater

@Emby

Being forced to recall Jenna Elfman, even for a few moments, makes EVIL bubble up in the best of us.

PistolPackinMama

@Emby And yet bright and glittering.

But yeah... it was a terrible show.

katiemcgillicuddy

@JadedStone Wait, are you serious?! They get divorced?!?! Dharma and fucking Greg?! Why is this bothering me so much!?! God that show was bad.

Ophelia

@katiemcgillicuddy Aaron Hotchner is still ruing his past.

supernintendochalmers

@JadedStone I can't believe you spoiled the end of Dharma and Greg for me!

Kidding. What a terrible show.

katiemcgillicuddy

@all OK, well, I think someone put some MISLEADING INFORMATION out there, because I can't find any proof that Dharma and Greg got divorced and NO I did not just spend 20 minutes trying to figure it out (I just spent 20 minutes trying to figure it out Dharma and fucking Greg got divorced, what am I doing with my life, oh god).

area@twitter

@katiemcgillicuddy I am so glad you did this so I didn't have to. Holy shit NO. Although I realized even at the time that I was watching entirely and exclusively for Thomas Gibson.

oh! valencia

@katiemcgillicuddy hahahaha. I did the same thing. And I didn't find anything different than you. THANKS JADEDSTONE.

katiemcgillicuddy

@area@twitter I tried doing work but I just kept hearing "DHARMA AND GREG GOT DIVORCED" over and over in my head and had to find out if it was true. And paroozing the Dharma and Greg Episode Guide, boy oh boy, there certainly were a lot of episodes where kookiness ensued! Jesus fucking christ.

katiemcgillicuddy

@oh! valencia Honestly, I feel like less of a human being for having just gone on a google search spree that involved the phrase, "did dharma and greg get divorced".

Pizzahut

@katiemcgillicuddy BOOM!

http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2011/09/dharma-greg-reunite-for-two-and-a-half-men-season-9-premiere.html

katiemcgillicuddy

@Pizzahut Oh my god. That. I mean. My brain just turned itself inside out. I almost punched the screen when I read that link, just out of sheer anger that it ever existed.

SarahP

I DON'T EVEN CARE YOU GUYS I LIKED DHARMA AND GREG.

katiemcgillicuddy

@SarahP WELL, THEY WERE ON GODDAMN TWO AND A HALF MEN IF YOU WANT TO CHECK IT OUT.

MoonBat

@SarahP AND AT THAT, MELIS' HEAD TURNED LIKE THAT OF A VENOMOUS SNAKE, BRIGHT BLACK EYES FIXED ON YOUR TREMBLING SOUL.

TRY TO STAY VERY, VERY STILL...

SarahP

@katiemcgillicuddy Two and a Half Men? What kind of philistine do you take me for.

oh! valencia

@katiemcgillicuddy @Pizzahut Auggghhh, FOR REAL!? They get divorced after a cameo on TWO AND A HALF DAMN MEN.

katiemcgillicuddy

@oh! valencia OH MY GOD I HAD TO WATCH THE CLIP BECAUSE OF THIS COMMENT. (I don't think they got divorced I think he made a "joke" about it.) Alright then, time to fling myself off a bridge, bye everyone!

katiemcgillicuddy

@SarahP You're right, that was over the line, I am sorry.

SarahP

@katiemcgillicuddy You're in the clear... this time.

I don't remember Dharma and Greg breaking up, but both of their sets of parents do or talk about it.

This is my new username

@JadedStone *cough* They temporarily separate and Greg moves, but then get back together.

oh! valencia

@katiemcgillicuddy Lordy.

Weasley

I have actually had to cut off contact with my dad over a similar situation (different problem with my boyfriend but same bullshit demands that I break up with him and trying to "force" me to end the relationship). It was effective because he didn't like being out of my life completely.

laurel

LW1: Dive headfirst into the funnest, most nacho-filled passionate affair ever. Do not get married. Maybe get married in a year or five. Or not. But definitely not next month. 'Cause that is crazy. But definitely have the affair if it seems fun.

lisma

LW #3: If men are offering these comments without solicitation from you, they are not the men with whom you should be having sex. Because they are jerks.

If, on the other hand, you are digging for this information, I urge you to resist that temptation. Even if you get that brief moment of validation by hearing, "you are the prettiest!" you'll be left wanting more. The key is to find that validation with yourself, and knowing that there is more to your worth than your prettiness. So much more! Really, really hard to do, but the only way, IMO, to actually feel good about yourself.

anachronistique

@lisma Remember what happened to the Evil Queen in Snow White! Do you want to ask your dudes to cut out some girl's heart, LW#3? DO YOU?

Melusina

LW3: Pretty sure that either you are dating assholes, or your insecurities are causing you to hear something different from what your gentleman callers are really saying. It is not too much to expect one's partner to feel a sense of luckiness, privilege or general elation that they get to see you naked.

When you love someone, you do think they are the hottest, most beautiful thing in the world, in a way. Maybe it's too soon, and these dudes haven't had a chance to fall for the real you. Or maybe they are just assholes. I keep going back to that one.

Ladies Who Punch

Maybe I'll go against the grain and say I've been married for 6 years now an tied the knot at 5 months. Yeah it was cray-cray but the right thing for us to do. We knew about a week in that we wanted to be together and making it official was the right thing--for us-- to do.

That being said I generally cringe when people tell me they want to marry someone they barely know. I think hubbie and I packed what some people spend at least a year doing in that short period of time. We had lots of what we cal "Emotional Intamacy". I told him deep dark secrets and broader life desires after date three and he did the same then. We had those conversations people sometimes take a year to have less than a week in.

Is it a bad idea? Maybe? Should you wait? Perhaps? I think in the end you're both going to do what you want. Writing to an Internet advice column means to me even you have your doubts.

Good Luck!

allofthewine

@Rebekah I'm glad things worked out for you, but I think there's a HUGE difference between 4 days and 5 months. (Also, agree with all of your other sentiments!)

olivebee

LW2: I am so, so sorry that you've come to be in this awful situation with your dad. I wholeheartedly agree with A Lady's advice, but I also know how hard it is to cut a parent out of your life. A few years ago, my dad did some terrible things, and our relationship was already tenuous at best, but I decided to be angry with him. I stopped calling, wouldn't let him visit, etc. I eventually came around because I never lost the nagging feeling of "but he's my father. He put band-aids on my scraped knees, cried at my graduation, came to all my softball games..." you know the drill. So I'm at the point where I am trying to be a mature adult and repair our relationship, but I never, ever hesitate in telling him when one of the hateful, racist, homophobic, lecherous, etc. things he says offends me. I hope that one day, it'll soak in, and he'll be dad I loved when I was a kid, not the a-hole he can be now.

I guess my point is, do NOT choose your dad over your loving boyfriend. But they aren't mutually exclusive, either. You can cut your dad off for awhile, but it may be best to revisit the relationship when he has seen how much of an impact his horrible racist remarks have made on you. If he maintains his current attitude, then maybe you can cut him out for good.

usually just lurking

"My mother says not to choose my boyfriend over my dad"
Ummm, how about she tells her husband not to choose racism over his relationship with his daughter?
I didn't read the answer yet even, that line made me so angry on the letter writer's behalf

Roaring Girl

@usually just lurking THIS. Also, WTF is this edict that she is not to discuss her boyfriend with "his" family? Does he mean HER grandparents and HER aunts and uncles and HER mother and siblings? Because adults tend to have independent relationships with family members. Full stop agree with the answer: tell him his behavior is embarrassing and saddening and unacceptable, cut him off until he can act like a human being.

Kristen

@usually just lurking Shakespeare has something to say about this:

My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show'd
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.

TARDIStime

@usually just lurking
This was also a red flag for me. This boyfriend is intending to become her husband, which means he's as important, if not more important than Dad (in response to "it's not like he's my husband or anything... just my boyfriend").
This is an indicator that she is possibly also a racist but is watering it down for her daughter so she won't be offended.

ohyeahmetoo

@usually just lurking also "Basically, I think that if anyone gets to be embarrassed by this situation, it's me."
Really? Somehow, I think your boyfriend and his family (assuming they find out) are entitled to some of this horrifying embarrassment.

Bacers

I think the advice for LW2 is right, if you are in love and everything else seems right, then you need to set your dad aside and move on with your life and your man. But it won't be easy because ... he's your dad. And, unless he changes his opinions and his reactions, it's not going to get easier as anniversaries go by, possibly children enter the picture, and you have to negotiate having a relationship with your family and your mom without your dad (which also - your mom needs to step up here and get your dad in line). I'm not saying it's impossible, or that really there's another option, but I think that the difficulty of the task needs more attention because if it were easy, then you wouldn't be writing in and asking for advice.

Diana

1) If you are planning any type of action whatsoever that can be accurately described as "pulling a Britney" you should reexamine your life choices immediately.

2) This one is so tough, because you didn't do anything wrong and because there is no easy, painless way to deal with it. My boyfriend is a dude of color, and I was trying to imagine what it would be like if my dad expressed sentiments like this, and it's almost too painful to imagine - not just because of how much it would hurt my boyfriend (who has encountered that shit before) but because of how crushing it would be to my idea of my father, how much it would hurt that relationship forever. The only way I could ever imagine my relationship with my dad recovering after something like that would be if he actually got therapy - straight up, no fudging it, laying down on a couch and talking to Dr. Katz therapy.

Think about dealing with your dad the way we should deal with racism at large: the best solution is to try to get at the heart of racist feelings, to examine the root of those ideas and world views and try to stamp out racism at the core, not simply the expression of those racist thoughts. BUT, if that isn't going to happen, treat your dad the way we actually have treated racists in the last 50 years: make sure everybody he loves and holds dear lets him know that his feelings are deeply embarrassing, socially unacceptable, and that he needs to keep those ugly ass thoughts inside his head if he ever wants to have friends.

3) Sorry, A Lady, but this answer is kind of a cop-out. She is talking about these feelings in a very specific way, and you are responding with general platitudes about self-confidence. Maybe "most beautiful woman in the world" is pushing it, but wanting a man who "feels delighted to see me naked, and is maybe even proud at the thought that he gets to be in bed with me" is not an unreasonable desire or fantasy, nor one reserved for supermodels. It is not a sign of society's crazy demands for women's physical perfection that this woman wants to be considered particularly beautiful by her partner, it is a sign that this woman is a human being who wants to be considered special by somebody who is special to her. There's a world-swallowing gulf of difference between wanting to be the prettiest woman in the world (pleasing to any and all people she encounters) and wanting to be cherished by the man she loves (pleasing to one very special person).

LW3, the problem is that you are side-stepping this fantasy and barely able to name it. You talk about wanting to be special to your lover, but then you talk about being weary of societal expectations, lowering your expectations for yourself, etc, etc. What you want is a feeling in your relationship, but you are only able to bring yourself to speak about feelings in society at large.

To answer your question in a straight-forward manner, yes it is possible for a man to love you unabashedly even if you are not socially recognized as extravagantly beautiful. The proof of this is the bulk of Western literature. Go back and reread poetry and literature written by men passionately in love with the women in their lives; go back and reread the stories they wrote, the odes they composed, and the endless praise and exultation they offered to their wives and lovers. Go back and look at famous relationships in history (John & Abigail Adams, Teddy Roosevelt & his beloved Alice, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, etc etc etc etc). Now go look at pictures of those women. They are no supermodels! They are lovely, kind normal-looking women, some prettier or uglier than others, but all adored by the men in their lives. It is completely possible for a man to be consumed with desire and adoration for an average looking woman, and the proof of this is in its happening over the whole course of human relationships. Keep believing! Find better men who worship your mind and your body will naturally be included in the process.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Diana
I was going to compliment you for "dude of color," but then I kept reading and also must compliment you for your response to (3).

martinipie

@Diana If you are not already A Lady I hope the Hairpin Powers That Be rectify that immediately.

Ellie

@Diana This is such a fantastic and thoughtfully written comment! Double thumbs up!!! "It is completely possible for a man to be consumed with desire and adoration for an average looking woman, and the proof of this is in its happening over the whole course of human relationships" is a great point that I totally agree with.

packedsuitcase

@Diana This is brilliant.

Queen of Pickles

@Diana Yes! Your answer to #3 was everything that I wanted to say, only better than the words in my head. Thank you.

katy_k

@Diana your reply to LW3 is wonderful, thank you.

All I have to add is a personal story. I've always felt relatively ok about my body, but from the earliest age I can remember I haven't felt pretty, and that was a deeply held belief about 'me' for a very long time. I learned to get over it and past it and generally to hold its head under the water so it couldn't talk, but it was always there. And consequently, I spent a lot of time striving not to know, or care, what other people, including partners that I loved deeply, thought about how I looked. Which meant brushing aside compliments as well as making sure insults were never on the horizon.

So fast forward to nowish, and I'm older and genuinely more secure as well as good at putting a show on it. One night my partner told me I looked pretty, and I ducked my head and made an off-hand comment, and he said 'No.' Don't do that. And he told me that I was beautiful, and that he knew what I looked like. He wasn't looking at an image in his head, or imaging something, or saying it to make me feel good. And he said, 'I'm not saying you look like a model.' He was saying that when he looked at me, he saw Me, and I was beautiful. And it made me cry, and something melted away for good. And this didn't come from saying 'looks don't matter,' or 'only my opinion counts.'

Sometimes, you need someone in your corner, who really knows you and sees you, and loves you. And I think that's what LW3 might be writing about.

well, then

@Diana Thank you.

Oh, squiggles

LW1: I agree with the Lady. You need to ask yourself those tough questions. If part of you just can't resist the fairytale of elopement, I would at least recommend you do a quick list of deal-breakers with your intended hubby. For example: I cannot tolerate any kind of racism, homophobia, or basic inability to be compassionate towards my fellow human beings.

LW2: It sucks to be estranged from your father, I know this very well. But sometimes it is necessary for psychological well being. If he can be so hateful, then he isn't someone who needs to be in your life right now. Hopefully he will gain a little wisdom and compassion and get his act together.

LW3: You need better boyfriends. We all know about societal definitions of beauty, but that should go out the window in a relationship. He should be making you feel like the most attractive woman in the world, regardless of anyone's actual opinion. That is what we do in relationships. Prop each other up, make each other feel special, valued, loved.

Megasus

LW1 -- didn't Britney's Las Vegas marriage last like two weeks? Come on now, you practically answered that question yourself.

martinipie

@Megano! 55 HOURS NOT EVEN TWO WEEKS!!! (my brain retains all gossip)

JadedStone

Once, my bf told me my skin felt 'raspy' and I gave him a glare that would have set a city on fire.

Now he tells me my skin is buttery soft and perfect even when I am
sandpaper.

SO. Lw3! Learn to GLARE. What's that? I'm a B+? Then my panties are going RIGHT BACK ON THANK YOU VERY MUCH. And if for some godawful reason you're asking for advice phrase it better: "Aren't I gorgeous?" "I'm amazing, right?" "These are the best boobs you've ever seen, right!"

etc.

redheaded&crazy

@JadedStone I BELIEVE in that glare.

JadedStone

@redheaded&crazie What can I say? My death glare is my special gift.

Those guys in the mall trying to sell you nail buffers? They NEVER approach me.

PistolPackinMama

@JadedStone It's never too late to host a Glare Seminar.

oh! valencia

@JadedStone those nail buffers are awesome, tho.

angelinha

@JadedStone Omg I was glaring so hard at one of those guys (really just minding my own business looking like I always do) that he called after me, "Excuse me, miss? Miss, you dropped something." I believed him and went back, looking at the ground, confused - I didn't feel like I'd dropped anything - and after a full ten seconds or so, he pointed and said, "Your smile."

MAJOR eye roll, MAJOR huff, and I was out of there.

noReally

Woman who's thinking of marrying guy you hardly know, listen to the wise lady. If you want to make a huge gesture to the awesomeness of your new relationship, take a trip together.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@noReally but not to Vegas

noReally

Woman who's worried about guys not liking her body, stop cross-examining them. You do, don't you? You ask them for specifics. "Do you like boobs bigger than mine?" Stop that. Take their enthusiasm at face value and stop picking at it. They don't like it either. You ask for honesty and then you are gutted by it. Save that for something important.

Sister Administrator

Aw, LW3. So in my last relationship, I was told every day that I was beautiful, the prettiest, and everytime I walked by naked or semi-naked I was gawked at with respectful awe. So many pictures taken of me all the time, always out of really genuine admiration. Anyway, objectively, in my so-called natural state, I think I'm okay. As in "I'd hit it". Which, what more can you ask for?

So why did I, in that time period, become super-disordered about my appearance, exercising compulsively, food-restricting, bulimic, obsessing about it every day to the exclusion of most of the really important things (god, the time I wasted)?

I'm not blaming my ex for any of that, but just want to point out that maybe the validation LW3 wants won't actually solve the anxiety. In my case, I think it only made it worse. I wanted to be even more perfect!

To the commenters who suspect she's dating assholes... maybe, I'm not sure. But my current dude is not forthcoming with the comments at all, to an extent that I sometimes resent, a little. But he loves me for reasons that really matter and for acheivements that are so much more meaningly (and lasting). However trite that sounds.

Lily Rowan

LW2: I have a relative whose mother wasn't going to go to his wedding to a person of another race, and other members of of the family totally rallied and went to the out-of-town wedding, even though they might not have ordinarily, AND the mother ended up going herself. So yeah, don't expect anything from your dad and also maintain relationships with the rest of your family. I'm really sorry your father has turned out to be racist, but hope he can come around.

Tuna Surprise

2) I dated outside my race and when my dad found out, he started to drop some mildly off color jokes into conversations (never around the boyfriend - just with immediate family). They weren't the worst jokes but definitely inappropriate. I told him to stop and he came back with the old "you can't censor me/I'm proud to be a non-PC old white dude". I very sternly told him if that was going to be his attitude, then I was happy to spend every holiday from here to eternity with boyfriend's family. Oh, and if we ever had kids, he could enjoy them via pictures over the internet. The jokes stopped immediately.

oh! valencia

well done, @Tuna Surprise!

The Lady of Shalott

@Tuna Surprise I am eternally grateful that my own parents don't give a fig about my interracial relationship, but if they ever did (and by they I mean my dad, because my mom wouldn't do that), I am writing this down for The Future. JUST IN CASE.

My boyfriend's family is lovely and took me in with open arms so HEY, ALWAYS AN OPTION!

MoonBat

@Tuna Surprise My son-in-love is Haitian and is beautiful inside and out and treats my daughter and their son (my gorgeous grandson) so, so well and is a hard worker and just all around great. His family is warm and fun and LOUD and I am so lucky and happy with the way that our family is enriched by the blending of cultures.

packedsuitcase

@Tuna Surprise You are AMAZING

permanentbitchface

@MoonBat I just wanted to say that "son-in-love" is an awesome and adorable phrase. I love it.

MoonBat

@permanentbitchface Aw, thank you! They are not married, but he is absolutely FAMILY.

RK Fire

@MoonBat: You say son-in-love!!! My mother-in-law (I guess I should say mother-in-love) uses that to refer to all of us who married someone from the family. I always kind of want to use it outside of the family but I never know if I'm going to confuse people so I just use the conventional label instead.

Emma Peel

LW2, I am so sorry you have to deal with that crap. But you're right; your father has already done the damage to your relationship with him, no matter whether he changes his mind in the future.

My mother pulled a lower-grade version of this with me and my deeply adored, serious boyfriend of color and a different religion (less screaming, more "just raising questions" [thanks mom, I never noticed we were from different backgrounds!], and the ever-popular "don't mention him to your grandparents").

We broke up a year later, mostly for other reasons, and while my mother and I are on outwardly good terms, I do not think I will ever really forgive her.

Long way of saying: Damage is done. Live your life. Be happy together.

Susanna

LW3 – I need to know. Do all the men you sleep with look like the Old Spice dude?

Or do they look sort of "Meh, B+"?

Blushingflwr

LW 1: if you want to spend the rest of your life with the guy, where's the harm in waiting 6 months?

LW 3: Are you interrogating these guys? Because I have never had a dude tell me how I ranked in attractiveness next to other women, and most of the ones I know would only dare do so if they were forced to. In my experience, love makes the guy think I am "the most unbelievably beautiful woman in the world, feels delighted to see me naked, and is maybe even proud at the thought that he gets to be in bed with me." In the same way that I think my boyfriend is the handsomest man alive. There are men out there who can make you feel sexy, beautiful and desirable. But you have to let them. Stop asking them to rank you, and starting noticing how they can't keep their hands/eyes off you.
So you're not the prettiest girl in the room. You ARE the one that particular dude is choosing to be naked with at that particular moment. There is something about you worth choosing. And if 100 strangers on the Internet telling you that doesn't help, perhaps seek a therapist who can help you examine this issue and kick it out of your head.

Lily Rowan

Also, I literally clicked over here just now hoping against hope for an advice column, so am so happy to see A Lady!!!

queenofbithynia

Lady #1, marry the guy already, divorce him if it doesn't work out, you'll probably be very happy. But just remember to never, ever, ever lead with your age when you ask questions if you don't want people to do their very best to implant and reinforce in you a set of demeaning sexist neuroses you never knew you had.

30 is neither too old to fall in love with someone wonderful nor too old to recover from a hilariously stupid marriage. you are fine.

Sister Administrator

@queenofbithynia Totally this (except don't marry him).

queenofbithynia

@queenofbithynia or if you really must be sensible, marry him but keep separate checking accounts and don't get pregnant.

mlle.gateau

LW#2: Oh man. So, I can't say that I've been there with a parent, but I have cut off members of my family, and here's how you need to think of this.

You're not choosing between your boyfriend and your dad. Your mom is creating a false dichotomy because she doesn't like the conflict (and really, who can blame her?). Your father is being racist, and not just racist in a vague sense, but racist in a clear, specific, and direct way toward someone you care about. Maybe you and boyfriend will end up getting married and living happily ever after, and maybe you won't, but either way, you'll never be able to look at your father again without remembering the vitriol and bigotry he spewed at you. When you cut him off, you're not really cutting him off, you're cutting off his racism.

He'll probably never stop being racist, but he can stop saying racist things and acting in racist ways. He can especially stop doing/saying racist shit around you. By having his racist hissy fit at you over the phone, as someone said above, he's choosing racism over a relationship with you, and that's not okay.

Cut him off, and tell him that until he's ready to stop acting like his life is a Klan rally, you're not willing to have any contact with him. It's okay to be sad about that, and to grieve, but it's also possible to come to terms with the fact that the dad you loved growing up isn't this man, like A Lady said. You do you.

If or when the time comes that he apologizes and tries to fix things, be as receptive as you feel you can, but you should never, ever let someone else bully you with their values.

Emma Peel

@mlle.gateau "You should never, ever let someone else bully you with their values" is perfect. I'm going to repeat that to myself every time I have to deal with my extremely conservative mother. Thank you.

Briony Fields

Haven't sifted through the comments here, but I'd like to point out that while getting married in haste is never (imo) a good idea, things are a bit different at 30 than they are at 20. I've made better, snappier decisions than I could when I was younger because I've somewhat paid my dues in figuring out who I am. This varies from person to person of course, and 30 is not a magical number of having it all sorted out, but the people I know who married impulsively at 30+ seem much happier and settled than the ones I know who married impulsively at 22 or so. Not that I know many of either, but take that for what it's worth.
I guess to summarize, snap decisions about big life events aren't the greatest, but they are less evil when you are older. Generally. Sometimes.

thebestjasmine

@Briony Fields I agree with this, but then my friends who have married impulsively post 30 have gotten married after a year or so of knowing someone, not 4 days together.

The Lady of Shalott

@thebestjasmine Yes. Four days is not any way to get to know someone, in any circumstances, seriously. Regardless of age. Well, I don't know, maybe if you were eighty-five years old but EVEN THEN DON'T DO IT because even 85-year-olds are suspect to emotional/financial/physical abuse and manipulation and OH GOD.

Briony Fields

@thebestjasmine Meh, it's all anecdotal. I don't know anyone who got married after four days either, but I have known four couples who tied the knot from six weeks to about four months after meeting and so far (almost a decade later) they have turned out alright. My friends who married younger, even with much longer courtships, have divorced in bigger numbers than anyone else so far. So who can say what works and what doesn't? I just hope she keeps a separate bank account.

WaityKatie

@Briony Fields It might also be that people who get married young in general have a higher divorce rate than people who get married older. (And also, shiiiiit, if I was supposed to be Relationship Ready by 30 I'm about 6 years behind already.)

katiemcgillicuddy

LW1, 30 is YOUNG! And girl, no. Don't get married.
LW2, I'm so sorry about your dad, but you need to cut him out of your life until he makes a sincere change in his mindset. Like A Lady said, don't negotiate with bigots.
LW3, Anyone saying, "eh, B+" is a juicebox. I am sure you are awesome, and I've struggled with all sorts of body image issues over the years, but as I got older (and maybe wiser) I realized, "yo, dude, they're in bed with you already, they're probably pretty stoked by how you look? They already chose you, relax and enjoy yourself.

Also, NACHOS.

stephalupagous

Oh Stranger, can I steal/borrow the lovely bit from LW1's answer? The bit about " a partner who sees you clearly and ..." It's gorgeous! For non-profit, romance-furthering use of course :)

jules

Hey, LW3. I was deeply in love with a woman and I wrote her a card that said, "You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen."

And I meant it. Her body, smile, spirit, everything... was the most beautiful earthly thing I had ever seen. I don't know where she fell on the "magazine hotness spectrum," but I never even thought about that. Why would I? It was irrelevant.

Find someone who feels this way about you. Accept their love and give love in return. Then look back on all this nonsense and laugh.

PomoFrannyGlass

@jules Well, thank god, I've been scrolling around hoping some one already made this point. Whenever stuff like this comes up in the "Ask a..." columns, I am always disturbed by the number of comments that refer to the 10-point scale or grading system as if it's actually an existing, objective thing. YOU GUYS. No.

Passion Fruit

@Jules, @PomoFrannyGlass

YES, YES! Glad other people feel this way, too. Thank you.

kitnen

Oh gosh, Question #1! I'm right there with you. I'm 32 --and I make a great living and have great friends and I'm smart, godammit-- but somehow, unintentionally and despite all that, I found myself falling in love with drug addicts and thieves. It was hell. Then, suddenly, I found the perfect man. Objectively speaking, he is perfect. I've never been happier, more in love and more grateful. You'd think I'd be happy -- but instead, I'm being like you. I feel like I won't be happy until I nail this one down. I want to marry him--yesterday! So yes, it's a good reminder that he can still be perfect and I can still love him while we get to know each other. I guess my past baggage has left me with a feeling of panic, and I'm looking to marriage as a way to calm myself down. But if he really is perfect for me, he's not going anywhere... (I still want to marry the heck out of him, though!)

christonacracker

@kitnen samsies. It's like this overwhelming feeling like I'm going to lose him under a bar stool or in some couch cushions if I don't attach him to me physically and legally, which is dumb, but the urge is nevertheless there. I would seriously sew him to my skin if that weren't totally gross and weird.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@christonacracker *grabs your boyfriend's sleeve and slowly pulls him towards the door*

j/k I get the sentiment.

christonacracker

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS no no you should probably tell him to run while he can (I'll just be over here sharpening my v. dentata)

Myrtle

@christonacracker May I-lovingly, respectfully- offer from my own experience. That feeling you are describing is not coming from your relationship. Applying it to your relationship is highly likely to end the relationship. The relationship that it Will work on, is the one you have with yourself. I've spent years learning this little sentence, while my life was meanwhile a hell.

el nopal

LW3- I totally agree with the other commenters so far-- that if your main issue is general body insecurity (that causes you to ask your partners how hot they find you?), you need to try to stop feeling that sex would be enhanced by how you think your partner sees you. He has already decided that you are hot and that you should be having sexy sex! Try to focus on the pleasure of the sex rather than the look of it. I suspect that you are imposing your own insecurity on your partners' reactions to you. When you're messing around with a guy and his shirt comes off, are you all "OMG ADONIS you're perfection", or do you ogle him and keep smooching?

That being said, and given that you used the word "fantasy", I do want to suggest that maybe what you're asking for is different from wanting your partners to think you're perfect 10. Maybe what you're looking for really is a fantasy or almost role-play/fetish scenario where your partner worships your body (not necessarily in a submissive way, but in an enthralled way). If what you want is for your parter to tell you that you're beautiful--and what, specifically about you is beautiful--as you get naked, ask him to! Or do the same for him and maybe he'll catch on!

supernintendochalmers

LW1, you could always get engaged in a super romantic amazing way and then have a long engagement. (Like, 2 years.) Or get tattoos of each other's names. Tattoo removal is probably less expensive and less painful than divorce.

fuck fuck fuck

i feel like the answer to LW1 perfectly encompasses the reasons i was with/going to marry the boyfriend i just broke up with, ignoring all signs pointing to "hey, you're not actually in love". I DON'T WANNA DIE ALONE.

Pear tea

@i'm a self-rolled man What are those signs?! I feel like I've yet to figure them out exactly

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

hey you guys our new part time assistant is giving me the eyes, should we get married during lunch break? y/n? pls reply

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS pls hurry, if we do I will only have time to grab chipotle, if not gonna get sweet and sour chicken at pf changs

runner in the garden

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS Dude the lunchtime rush line at Chipotle is enough time to get married at least 4 or 5 times.

TheDragon

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS
GO FOR IT. But you should know, engagement/wedding pizzas are how we do it around here.

Mira

LW2, I'm so sorry. I had a pretty similar situation when I started dating my girlfriend (who is the same race as me, but also the same sex) and my parents suddenly decided that while gay people were hunky-dory on the TV, having one in the family was a huge, horrible, embarrassing, shameful problem and that not only were they offended and disgusted, but no one else in their extended families could know what I was. And all I'd done was fall in love with someone wonderful who loved me, too! So I can really sympathize. Here is some advice:

1. Talk to your dad. I know this sounds horrible and adds to the lump in your stomach/throat whenever you think about this. But you need to make things clear to him. Try to stay calm. Say something like, "Dad, I love you and I would like you to remain part of my life. You need to know that your racism and your behavior are unacceptable and incredibly hurtful to me. It's up to you to decide what kind of relationship you would like to have with me in the future, whether I marry Wonderful Boyfriend or not. When you're ready to apologize, I'll be ready to listen."

2. Continue to discuss your life with anyone you damn well please, including any family members you're close to. It's not up to you to accommodate your dad's racism. If they bring it up, just say, "Well, unfortunately, Dad's turned out to have some problems with Boyfriend's race." I mean, I wouldn't "gossip" about it, but you're entitled to be upset and hurt by this. I don't think it needs to be your job to cover for someone else's bigotry.

3. ...except maybe with your boyfriend's family, who probably don't want to be told point-blank that your father can't deal with their skin color. If they want to know why he's not around, just tell them, "Unfortunately, we're estranged at the moment. I hope we can work it out, but in the meantime, I'm so happy Wonderful Boyfriend and I are [planning a weekend away, getting married, etc]."

4. Realize that you are probably never going to have the same relationship with your dad. I'm really sorry about this, especially if you guys were close before. I think the moment when your parents do something this fundamentally disappointing is a turning point.

5. Maybe see a therapist, if you can. I mean this seriously. I repressed a lot of very intense anger toward my parents over the way they treated me, which resulted in serious depression that took me a while to get a handle on. So if you can do anything to take care of yourself right now, I would.

Otherwise, enjoy your wonderful-sounding dude and don't put your life on hold while you're waiting for your dad to come around. I think he will, eventually. (My parents did too, and today both my partner and I have a good relationship with them - but it'll never be the same.)

I'm sorry. It really sucks.

leonstj

Since when is B+ only "Meh"?

noodge

@leon s right? B+ is way above average. ALMOST AN A!

SarahP

@leon s Ugh, grade inflation.

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@leon s: Is your dad asian? (RAYCIS)

ayo nicole

@leon s A B+ is pretty good. I wouldn't be (that) mad.

ayo nicole

@leon s But I would also never solicit a grade in the first place, so.

WaityKatie

@leon s It is if you're on a B+ curve! (Maybe they are in law school?)

tales

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS Saying racist afterwords doesn't make your statement less racist. Just a heads up.

MoonBat

@tales Are you new to The 'Pin? Because we are all super, super racist here. Just a heads up.

PistolPackinMama

@ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS I don't get it?

tales

@MoonBat No, I'm not new at all. Making a race-based joke and then saying "racist" after it indicates that you know better than to make that joke.

SarcasticFringehead

@MoonBat I hope that's not the case. I'd hate to have to leave.

MoonBat

@SarcasticFringehead Um, sarcasm?

antilamentation

@PistolPackinMama I took it to be a take on the High Expectations Asian Father meme.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/high-expectations-asian-father

Of course I could be wrong.

I'm Not Rufus

LW3: It will not cure your insecurity about your body if you start dating someone who gives you a lot of compliments. What you need is someone who accepts you, not someone who is constantly comparing you to other people, regardless of whether or not the comparison is favorable to you. A positive judgment is still a judgment, and the last thing that someone worried about her appearance enough to write to advice columns needs is for other people to encourage you to see your value in terms of your appearance.

WaityKatie

@I'm Not Rufus Yes, this. Like, you might be an A today, but there's always going to be someone out there who is "better" than you, as long as you keep comparing. I've had so many struggles with my appearance and been told so many times by assholes that it doesn't measure up (and a few times had the over the top opposite reaction of "oh my god you're so different and beautiful"), and my only way to self esteem has been placing my value in other things. So yeah, I can freaking get old now, and if you don't like it, I don't really care, because I'm awesome based on other qualities. And I try to evaluate others the same way.

Gilgongo

LW3: I had a similar situation. I grew up on the east coast. I rarely got any complements from the guys I dated. I married my first husband who made it fairly clear that he thought I was pretty but that I could stand to lose a few pounds. I was with him for 8.5 years and I now look back thinking "WHAT??!?!" (FYI, wasn't/am not fat. I just thought I was, and my husband perpetuated that feeling. "Are you sure you want to eat that? Aren't you on a diet?" UGH!)
I moved to the west coast, got a divorce, did NOT lose weight, and started dating again. What a total difference! "You have an amazing body!" "God, you're so beautiful!" "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever been with" and so forth and so on. !!! Guys are SO MUCH MORE complementary here!!
I re-married (almost 9 years now), and my husband STILL brings me flowers, tells me how beautiful I am, and how great my body is. When I gain weight... my boobs get bigger, and he's happy about that. When I lose weight, I feel more comfortable naked, and he's happy about that too. We pretty much win either way.

My point is, unless you're a total freak (and I am a bit... my ex-husband really did a number on my self-esteem), you should hold out for someone who thinks you're absolutely beautiful. Someone who thinks you're great and beautiful and builds up your self-esteem (not tear it down). He's out there. Just don't go nuts with it.

WaityKatie

@Gilgongo After the "date" I had last week (who forced me to suffer through 20 minutes of silent, hostile glaring, followed by an unsolicited email calling me fat) I really want to move to the west coast after reading this. God dating in NYC sucks ass.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@WaityKatie My god. Who let that asshole out of the house?!

Gilgongo

@WaityKatie That. Is. Horrifying!
I dont' know what it is about the east coast & fat! My whole family is obsessed with fat. Everyone I dated. All my friends from there. I thought, when I moved to LA, that I would be the fattest person here. Instead, everyone appreciates my curves. It's also easier to be in shape, here. More health food, less beer, better weather to being outside in, etc...

I hated HATED dating in Boston. I didn't realize it at the time. I just thought I hated dating. I ended up getting married too young to someone who was NOT right for me... I think just so I wouldn't have to date anymore!
I loved dating in LA. Guys actually would ask me out (as opposed to "a bunch of us are hanging out... you should come!"), take me to a restaurant where they had made reservations (as opposed to "I dunno... where do YOU want to go?") and, in my husband's case, SHOWED UP WITH FLOWERS on our first date!
Quite honestly, I'd never experienced anything like that in Boston. Men appreciate women out here. (not all of them, I'm sure, but the ones I dated did!) - And I'm not a "You need to open the door for me" kind of person. I didn't really have a problem with being treated like one of the guys... until I was actually treated like a... I'm going to say it... lady. It was refreshing and pretty awesome.
I'd be on a date with a guy and he's say stuff like "You're so beautiful, smart, & hilarious. How are you still single, and what are you doing on a date with ME?!" It was... heady to say the least. Guys SAY stuff like that to women out here!!

permanentbitchface

Everyone leave the East Coast please! Bring your sexy selves to the West, but leave the juicebox guys back in Brooklyn.

entangled

@WaityKatie YES WEST COAST.

I am an east coast transplant in the Bay Area and the difference in attitudes is HUGE. Obviously, body image and eating disorders are way more complicated than geography, and I was already working towards recovering when I left New York, but the external cues out here were such a huge, positive change. I look back and wonder how I could possibly have hated myself so much and then I get sad because other than (and winter) that I really did love New York.

WaityKatie

@sudden but inevitable betrayal The best (worst) part was that he tried to frame it in terms of me having lied and "deceived" him by calling myself "fit" in my profile. So basically no one my size (12) can be fit, because it's not like we went running and I couldn't keep up or something. It was dinner. And he determined I am "unfit" just by looking at me. I really just wish I had turned on my heel and walked away from him when I saw him, as was my initial impulse, but nooooo I had to try to be a decent human being and be polite for a few minutes and try to make conversation. No good deed goes unpunished, truly.

Ophelia

@WaityKatie Whaaaat??? How did this even? I can't. I just. You. He. BLERGH.

Gilgongo

@WaityKatie I hate him. FYI? I go to a bootcamp and there are several people there who are quite a bit bigger and WAY more fit than I am (size 10). I have a couple of friends, who are also on the larger side, who run marathons & do biking events. There are also very thin people who are horribly out of shape. That guy was/is an a-hole of epic proportions! A size 12 is so very very far from being fat or big.

WaityKatie

@Gilgongo Yeah, I mean, I literally ditched my pilates class that day to go out with him. (another thing I greatly regret). And his whole commentary was pretty rich coming from a 5'9 guy who claims to be 6'3. But I didn't want to get down in the gutter with him so I refrained from a response beyond "are you fucking kidding me?"

MoonBat

@MoonBat Ooops, clicked too fast. Because I was raging raging raging. That guy is a complete arse and will be alone for a long, long time.

WaityKatie

@MoonBat I just wish there was a way for me to warn others, so nobody would ever have to endure this guy again.

MoonBat

@WaityKatie Seems like he's doing a fine job of warning them himself, that he is a shallow hypocritical liar. And he undoubtedly has met or will meet people less polite than you, who will loudly proclaim this to him.

City_Dater

@WaityKatie

You are a good woman! I would have smacked him in the forehead with the heel of my shoe while hollering "if you were really 6'3" I wouldn't be able to reach your forehead to do this!"

thebestjasmine

@WaityKatie WK!! I thought you had a new resolution to stop being nice to assholes? Stop being nice to assholes!

WaityKatie

@thebestjasmine I know, I know...the problem is that they don't reveal themselves to be assholes until I've already invested time interacting with them. (I just wanted to walk away from him at the outset because he was fugly.) And I also feel that these kinds of assholes interpret every negative thing I would say to them as "Oh, the fat chick is mad that I rejected her, haha, fat chicks!"

Myrtle

@WaityKatie Argh! You took the classy route. That guy's been pulling to porn for too long, but that's where we'll leave him. 'Pinners, I am invoking an International Sex Embargo on WK's "date:" Do Not Sex This Male.
Also, as you said never cancel your activities to date a guy. Oh, how I wish someone had taught me that! One guy even called me "obsequious" to my face. If you like to read and want a good, heart-clearing LOL there's a book called "Why Men Love Bitches" I came across and recommend highly. It's older but so good. One story of a woman recognizing and socially pantsing a sociopath is a dog-eared section I like to re-read just for its brilliance.

And PS, your spidey-senses were working- you said "I just wanted to walk away from him at the outset..." Gavin de Becker's book "The Gift of Fear" has a LOT to say on that point. Forget the "investment" and head out/away. Your only "investment" you need worry about is of course, the one you have- in yourself.

WaityKatie

@Myrtle You're so right. I always guilt myself into staying on these dates because I do think it's rude to just see someone and walk away, unless they just punched you in the face or something. But as soon as the guy refused to make eye contact and wouldn't talk to me or have any kind of normal conversation, I was really uncomfortable and I should have left. Instead, my "polite brain" kept saying "Maybe he's socially awkward. You should try to draw him out. Make this better." I shouldn't listen to polite brain anymore in these situations. Re: pilates, honestly I go to pilates so freaking much that if I didn't skip once in a while I would have no days free for dates at all. (Which is interesting, since I'm "not fit" despite all that...) Actually, having no days free for dates might be a good thing, based on recent experiences.

redheaded&crazy

@WaityKatie it's so much easier in theory to say "I'll walk out if dude is a jackoff!" but MAN. SOME PEOPLE!!! I hate this guy so much. maybe there should be a site like "rate my okcupid date" (problem being that dudes will inevitably use it to be like "this bitch was a 6 who walked out on me")

FoxBaseAlpha

@WaityKatie Oh GOD that guy was such a hateful dick. I can't even. I mean, if it makes all of us feel any better, he really just hates himself and does it so profoundly that he spews it outward that much, so ultimately... sucks to be him. BUT that in no way makes any of it okay or acceptable. OBVIOUSLY. Also, I loathe loathe loathe that hateful jerkface thing of associating fitness with size and using "fitness" as a disguise for being a shitty judgey person. That guy was a fucking douche-nozzle. I'm sorry you had to meet him and hear his shit.

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie I knowwww....there is this online date rating site (true dater or something?) that I tried to rate him on but I think it is defunct now because they were supposed to email me and didn't. I should start a new one.

WaityKatie

@FoxBaseAlpha It somehow just makes me even more mad that he had the nerve to pretend that I somehow lied on my profile, because mine is about the most honest profile on any site, anywhere. (And his was obviously quite dishonest re: height and saying he doesn't want to meet "judgmental people," hilarious.) I don't think it would make my profile more "honest" to describe myself as overweight instead of fit, because I'm not overweight, so.

I'm Not Rufus

LW2: I'm so sorry to hear about the shitty situation you've found yourself in. Everyone else is right that you need to stick by your own values and not let yourself get talked out of a relationship because of anything to do with your partner's race.

But I do differ from other people in one respect, which is that I don't think you should necessarily cut off ties with your dad. Do that if that's what's best for you, but sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, and you have to make the evaluation based on what you know about your dad and about yourself. I detest racism but I understand that many generous and kind people also have some pretty fucked up ways of seeing some parts of the world, and the fucked up parts of their worldview don't necessarily negate the generous or kind parts of who they are.

My parents had a similar experience with my mother's parents. They looked down on my dad for a variety of reasons and said a number of things which were really hurtful to my mother. Yet my grandparents eventually came to see some of what my mom had seen in my dad and grew to accept my dad, even if the acceptance never really became an embrace.

Would your experience be anything like that? I don't know. I can't know. You know your father and yet you probably don't know either, or else you wouldn't be writing in. If you can't see an obvious right way to deal with your father, perhaps that just means that each option is about as good (or bad) as the others. Just remember to separate between the person and the behavior. Love your father, because he's your father. But don't be afraid to love your boyfriend, too, and don't be afraid to love yourself and protect yourself by putting some space between you and your father's hurtful and destructive behavior.

fabel

"Usually when people take flying leaps into huge decisions it's because they're hoping they can force their life to change with an epic gesture."

YES. LW1, think about being with this guy in a way that progresses normally. I mean, actually picture it. Don't picture a whirlwind wedding where you both are bursting with happiness & going "Ha ha, isn't this sooOOoOOoo cah-razy?" I feel like THAT (the latter) is actually what's appealing to you here? Because if you and this guy have an actual connection, there'd be no harm in waiting.

crocuta

Oh man, LW3, I can relate. I usually feel like dudes have an internal running monologue cataloging my flaws when I'm with them. I realize this is totally effed, but on the other hand the guys I went to college with bro-bonded by belittling the bodies of the girls they slept with, and my only serious boyfriend rarely said anything about my appearance but when asked (bad idea, I know) said I was "perfectly adequate" and didn't understand why I was kind of hurt. So yeah, I know I need to get over this, but how? I don't think the guys I date now are jerks for the most part, but a part of my jerk brain is always telling me there's no way they actually think I'm more than passably attractive.

PistolPackinMama

@crocuta I hope those guys all have daughters. And the daughters have friends and bring the friends around and they know and are friends with the friends' parents.

And never, ever sleep again because they are worrying about them because they know BY THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE what dudes can be like about women.

Because they are terrible.

crocuta

@PistolPackinMama Yeah, I feel like there's this idea out there that while women are super hard on themselves, men aren't that judgmental about appearance, and that if a woman wants to get naked with them they're happy to ignore (or even appreciate) her normal human flaws. And while I'm sure that's true of many men, experience has taugh me that a fair number of men are pretty viciously judgemental about women's looks and performance, especially in the sack. And it's not just frat-boy types- those dudes I was talking about above were artsy bohemian types who you might think would be more enlightened.

PistolPackinMama

@crocuta Anyone would wonder why I have trust issues.

RK Fire

@PistolPackinMama: Yeah, just reading that makes me glad I'm not dating anymore.

Better to Eat You With

"Anyway, let's say you have found your "soulmate" — or, a partner who sees you clearly and who you likewise see clearly, and who makes you feel smarter, funnier, sexier, and more competent because they think you are all of these things, and who you make feel smarter, funnier, sexier, and more competent than they are, and therefore both of you are stronger and more capable of greatness than you were before your partnership. That's wonderful. It's such a heady, fantastic feeling."

I just emailed this to my husband, because on our best days, this is what it is like. We dated for seven years before we got married, have been married for seven years, and are only in the last year working through some long-standing stuff that's been hanging around the entire time. People with better role models than mine (or better-adjusted people than me) surely don't need that much time. But it's nice to think about a relationship at the end of its fourteenth year getting better, closer to the ideal than we were even in those heady first four days.

Myrtle

@Better to Eat You With I love so much that you wrote this! It's beautiful. And Internet Anniversary flowers to you every year, from me.

fondue with cheddar

@Better to Eat You With That's wonderful. It's a testament to the strength of your relationship that you're still going with this long-standing stuff hanging around the entire time, and I'm glad you're working through those things. Here's to 14 more years, even better than the first, and many more after that. :)

VDRE

Is there a reason Ask A Lady has been renamed Imperfect Advice from Strangers? I feel like I am missing some Ask A Lady related drama here.

fabel

@VDRE That threw me as well, & I had the same feeling. Like "OoOoh, what happened?"

fondue with cheddar

@VDRE Because there are so many advice columns they wanted to lump them all together? Or maybe you're right and there was drama. Now I want to know.

redheaded&crazy

@jen325 Well the way these columns work out is that "a lady" or "a dude" is really just one advice giver out of the many many comments, all of which are from strangers, some of which are imperfect advice! I think it makes sense, it recognizes our (commenters') love of all things "ask a"

VDRE

@redheaded&crazie True! When I read the title though it just seemed like it was a reaction to something- like someone had gotten upset about a response so this was kind of a reaction/reminder of how much faith to put in the advice. Also other advice columns like Ask A Married Dude haven't changed their name. OR I could be reading way too much into this. Conspiracy theories!

fondue with cheddar

@redheaded&crazie We do love our "ask a's" (how the heck do you pluralize "ask a"?), especially when they're from a spider or inanimate object. I disagree with "imperfect", though, as it's quite often spot-on.

Or maybe these are written by actual strangers, not 'pinners!

redheaded&crazy

@jen325 hmmm you make a good point re: we are perfect. maybe the tag should be "mostly perfect advice from strangers"

fondue with cheddar

@VDRE Unless Balki and Cousin Larry write a column in which they primarily answer questions but also occasionally share their favorite recipes, in which case it would have to be tagged...

WaityKatie

@jen325 Cousin Laaarrryyy!!

Myrtle

@jen325 I would so RSS that column.

fondue with cheddar

You guuuuuuyyyys...you were supposed to say the name of the tag: "Mostly Advice from Perfect Strangers"!

fondue with cheddar

@jen325 Could you also have off-the-wall answers as written by two Tony-award-winning leads from the theatrical production of The Jungle Book,* tagged "Stranger Advice from Perfect Mowglis"?**

*I don't know if there was ever a theatrical production of The Jungle Book, but it seems plausible.

**Is that too much of a stretch? Probably. I tried to go for "Moseleys" but couldn't think of anyone famous with that name.

Verity

@jen325 Oswald Mosley? (Although nobody wants advice from him.)

fondue with cheddar

@Verity Yeah, I sure wouldn't.

Loose_Seal

The answer to LW1 is full of so much beauty! Especially the definition of soulmate...amazing. And the second to last paragraph. I wish I could send this to all of my friends I see doing this!

geekspice

I wonder how old LW2's dad is. It could be some age related mental issue if this is a sudden change of behaviour (i.e. if he was never racist before). I know he says he always felt this way, but that's not necessarily reliable if his mental state has changed. Maybe her mom could persuade him to be evaluated if the alternative is to be estranged from his daughter.

chickaboom

@geekspice agreed, i don't know if i just read too much dear prudence (she's ALWAYS suggesting that people who have suddenly developed strong, offensive opinions have developed some mental condition) but that was my first thought! in any case, worth thinking about if there are any other related signs.

Porn Peddler

@geekspice I WAS GONNA FREAK THE FUCK OUT IF NOBODY HAD SAID THIS YET. YES. YES. Get your pop a check up!

And then if everything is fine tell him to fuck off.

Ellie

@RobotsNeedLove This is totally off topic but your comment reminds me of this weird and inappropriate discussion with my roommate yesterday. He came to this event I was attending in a professional capacity (he is student at university I work at) and we were thoroughly enjoying free beer. Somehow he started telling me about how he likes the idea of blowjobs more than actual experience thereof and giving me tips like "Make eye contact" and "Lean back so you don't block the view with your head." What! Fortunately something distracted us at that point.

Mira

@Ellie "That reminds me, I like the idea of talking to you more than the actual experience of talking to you."

(I mean, seriously!)

redheaded&crazy

@Mira or "I like the actual experience of talking to you EVEN LESS than I like the idea of talking to you"

Mira

@redheaded&crazie that's probably more like it.

geek_tragedy

LW#1-What gives? I mean, why do you have to get married now? Is there an issue--money, immigration, whatever? Or is it just that you're really into the idea of eloping with this guy? Because if you don't have to marry him, why not go on an adventure together? Like, climb a mountain or something? Go to Uzbekistan? Get a tattoo? Those would be adventures without the lifelong commitment to someone you don't know...

ironhoneybee

LW1, you know how at the end of The Graduate they're sitting together on the bus, and all of a sudden it's all awkward, because they've made this incredible gesture and thrown all-in together, but it isn't necessarily based on the realities of their relationship, it's more the culmination of a rom-com style idealization of love that's been packaged and sold to readers/viewers for like a million years? Maybe just watch that on repeat for a bit.

Myrtle

@ironhoneybee Or watch "500 Days of Summer" as Summer Finn and Tom Hansen see "the Graduate" in a theatre. No spoilers outta me!

angelinha

To LW1: You say "I'm thinking" of having a quickie wedding, but in the next sentence you say "He brought it up." No judgment either way on whether this is a good decision for you (only you can know that), but pay careful attention to whose idea it really was, and why.

antilamentation

LW3, I've met some conventionally "good" looking people who were complete horrorshows in their personalities, values, expectations and how they treated other people.

I wouldn't want to end up in bed with them, and certainly not in a relationship.

Man, as I type this I can remember one guy I knew who looked conventionally good, but was a vain, shallow narcissist, with a massive sense of entitlement. He used his good looks to get out of needing to develop a sense of responsibility, kindness, warmth, empathy or an interesting personality. Seeing that behaviour disgusted me. He disgusted me. In short: looks A+, personality EPIC FAIL.

If you are dating guys who spontaneously rate how you look in the way you described, they suffer from personality EPIC FAIL. Find some other guys who aren't so disgusting.

If on the other hand, you are fishing for the guys to rate you that way, or trying to pull that out of them - well, to put it bluntly, I imagine that's an exhausting vibe to be around. Would you like to be with a partner who is constantly pressing you to rate how they look? I wouldn't. I am not a HOT or NOT website. I am another person with my own desires, needs, wants, fantasies, insecurities, dreams, fears.

The thing about getting naked with other people is that involves vulnerability. The other person is going to see all the bits of me that I like, and the bits I don't like. Likewise, I'm gonna see their gnarly bits, and their groovy bits. Hopefully what matters is the fun we have mashing ALL our bits together enthusiastically. Stopping to rate all the bits as if they are objects that can be rated against some kind of external scale... I think that is a passion killer. Not least because it takes you out of the moment. Looking for the "perfect" apple, whatever the hell that is, doesn't help you to taste and savour the sweet, crunchy, juicy apple that is currently in your mouth.

And then over time, what can also matter is the totality of the other person as I get to know them. By this I mean things like: no one else on earth will have sticky-up hair exactly the way my boyfriend's morning hair looks. No one else smells exactly like him. Lots of other guys have his accent, but no one else has his voice. No one else on earth will crack the jokes he cracks in exactly the way he cracks them. No one else on earth has with me the history we develop together, going through good and bad times, sometimes irritating each other, often enjoying each other, being imperfect, falling in love with that other, imperfect, wonderful person.

When I go to see him after a long day, and I'm tired, and my brain won't shut up about all the things I have to do next and haven't done yet, and I feel bogged down, he opens the door to me, and smiles at me... My heart lifts up. I feel how we love each other. No one else has the same smile as him, smiling at me that way. He is happy to see me! I am happy to see him! Joy.

If, on the other hand, he opened the door, and we looked at each other, and all we could focus on was does my bum look big in this, are my boobs A+, or B+... Is his smile less than or equal to the smile that Brad Pitt gave Angelina Jolie in that movie, that one time... Well, I feel my heart sink to imagine it. It's beside the point of welcoming each other and being happy to see the other person.

Another way to think about this: if we're lucky to live long enough, we age. Our looks change. Our bodies get frail, we suffer from illnesses. Boobs sag. Bellies get middle age spread. Hair falls out, changes colour or gets thinner. Wrinkles or laughter lines march over our faces. Age spots. Wattles. Rough skin. Thin skin. Etc. If the march into a life together is a march into an endless process of rating body parts against some idealised external objective - well, that's a long march off a short pier. If, on the other hand, it's about developing a unique shared history, sharing love, dreams, hopes, fears, upsets, fun, laughter, then those wrinkles, wattles, thinning hair, age spots, belly - whatever the other person develops, that is the unique stuff that no one else on earth has. Brad Pitt doesn't have it, because I'm not in love with Brad Pitt. Angelina Jolie doesn't have it, because I ain't Angelina Jolie.

This A+, B+ business misses out the good stuff, IMO. The good stuff is not about looking more sexy/beautiful than everyone else on earth (and my God, who can maintain that forever?! How exhausting to try!) The good stuff is being loved, even though and sometimes because of imperfections, because there ain't anyone else quite like me, or like the person I love.

Queen of Pickles

@antilamentation I'm saving this in a Word document for the future. Thank you.

catsuperhero

LW2: You have gotten so many thoughtful responses here, I can't add much.

But I can tell you that you should probably go check out yoisthisracist.com.

.abbey

re: LW3, i've always just thought "he must feel so LUCKY to be seeing boobs in real life"

Myrtle

LW#3 Why is this question even coming up? Are you like me, subconsciously picking men who will reflect your "faults" back to you? I cannot recommend this method for basing relationships on. It seems to be full of Suck.
It may be time to contact your inner Frenchwoman and own your lovely unique self. And if you've got a guy who is honestly bringing this subject up, not just responding to hints from your inner Non-Frenchwoman self, realize you have a choice in the ensuing conversation. You could choose to say something like "Adonis, I feel badly that we're always talking about me. It's so selfish of me! Let's talk about you and your faults for a while."
ETA: I posted in a snit before reading all the comments, esp. Antilamentation's, which rules. So, as we're in such a similar vein, I'd say it adds merit to the idea-? Anyway, good luck with your adventure.

Myrtle

Hey Lady, may I just say that you are wearing the hell out of that Sexy Self-Assurance in your pic. It's very flattering.

Psychbucket

LW #3, I'd be thrilled shitless to find a man who rated me B+ for attractiveness. Hell, I'd even take a C on that if the rest of my report card (interesting, loving, intelligent, compassionate, worthy of respect) were B+ or above.

Blousey Brown

LW#3, the correct response is, "You're perfect exactly as you are," but the question should never be asked in the first place! I hope you can put this obsession behind you because once you do, everything, especially sex, will get better.

Sierra

LW#1: did you know when you marry someone you become legally responsible for their debts? Like including student loan debts.

eccles

"I can state with all the authority of my “answer lady” credentials that loneliness is a universal human condition, and that humans universally look for ways to escape that loneliness almost constantly."

I gotta tell you, A Lady, this one statement you made might just be life-changing. It's been calming me down for the last two days.

Nadine R Low@facebook

I think it's possible to find a guy whom thinks you are a goddess and cherishes you so much that he doesn't want to screw things up. Only I don't think it really occurs with the lusty beginnings of a relationship. I mean they should appreciate and admire your body and you should do the same for them. You both should enjoy the he'll out of everything - taste, texture, smell, touch, position, laughter, the first farts and varts etc.

However in my experience, the trust and the deep appreciation often comes after you and your partner have
lived thru some serious adversity and made it thru the other side. One is often older and flabbier at that point, but perhaps a bit surer of the soul and each other's personal integrity.

My husband and I met two weeks before in was diagnosed with my first round of breast cancer. After he accompanied me to my biopsy, we both 'knew' we were getting married. We did premarital counselling, but we had a lot of baggage to work out. It was really hard and is still ongoing after 17 years, but the trust we have means that we are the most beautiful people in the world to each other, and we get more beautiful each year- even though he has had some horrendous motorcycle accidents (thank god for good helmets and body armor), and some equally horrendous mountain bike accidents and some really freak accidents. And yetmhis battered body is really special to me and so luscious. I'm on my third round of cancer. This will be the one that kills me. I'm hairless, eyebrow less, eyelash less and from my current chemo gaseous as hell. And yet my husband thinks I'm hot even though I've had two mastectomies, an oophrectomy, a shattered elbow, lymohedema, a hip that had to be replaced due to cancer related necrosis, a massive attack of c diff, pressure ulcers, etc.

In my opinion becoming a true goddess to your partner comes after time and after time has knit you both together in unimaginable ways.

Godspeed in finding what you want.

starsdied

LW#1: If you guys are meant to be together, you'll still be together in a couple of years and you can get married then and you won't be all second-guessing yourself about pulling a Britney. Just sayin.

LW#3: OH MY GOD, seriously? Are these dudes, like, boyfriends? I've gotten "whatever you're pretty" from casual one-night-stand type deals, but if I got that from someone I was actually involved with, I would be PISSED. And hurt, and shocked, and sad. I am also pretty average, at least as far as the beauty standard is concerned, but WHATEVER. I like to sleep with people who I think are insanely hot (beauty standard be damned), and I expect as much from them. Seriously. Anyone who I dug on who gave me "eh B+" after getting me naked would not ever get me naked again. Ever. I think you're dating assholes.

My other thought is that maybe you're reading a lot into this? When a guy responds to your comments about your body image problems with "well I've dated women who weigh more than you and women who weigh less than you, and I don't think you're fat or ugly, in fact, I think you're gorgeous", do you feel hurt? Or are people actually just saying "I've dated way hotter chicks than you babe, whatever"? I'm not saying it's true, just something to consider.

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