"One night last week after dinner, I looked in on Brad in the living room playing Xbox360. He is the same guy I fell in love with. He says he's put on a few pounds, but I've got bigger things to worry about, like this saggy ass of mine and the way my arms jiggle when I wave. It's just gross." said Brad's wife Brenda, a 34 year old mother of 2 from Elkhart, IN.
As I ended the call with Brenda, Brad was heard shouting from the living room, "Hey Sensuous, grab me a beer will ya? Get it? Sensuous.. Since-you-was Up." Brenda could be heard opening the refrigerator door as she said, "Well that's me. Sensuous.Yeah right. I'm fat. I'd better get off the phone. Brad gets crabby if he has to pause the game and I have a lot to do if I am going to make it to yoga before work in the morning."
Steve and Carla from Lincoln, Nebraska have been married 8 years and have three boys ages 18 months, 3, and 6. We sat down to speak at a local picnic area so the kids could play. I asked if either of them had noticed any significant changes in their partner since they exchanged wedding vows. Carla was the first to chime in. "Steve used to be really into slow pitch softball. He's cut back to one league a year, so that has helped with the boys. That helps me a lot." she said. Steve was a bit more hesitant to speak. "Well, I mean she's had 3 kids." he responded as he smacked her on the bottom. "More to love." Carla turned and punched Steve in the arm then stormed off to the playground area. "I guess I said something wrong." Steve said. We ended the interview and I retreated to my car with the sneaking suspicion that Steve would not be having sex for awhile.
Yesterday I had the good fortune of talking with a girlfriend I see far too seldom. As expected, we covered all the main topics: Men, Kids, Emotion, Bodies. The above is how many of my female friends see themselves and their relationships. Women beat themselves up far more easily about changes in their physical appearance, usually comparing themselves to a level of perfection that most mortal human beings can never meet. This often results in inevitable failure and an even bigger shame spiral, as another pound lands squarely on what we are quite certain is the "biggest ass anyone has ever seen I might as well just have another God Damn Ho Ho because no one will ever love me anyway or maybe I should just stop eating completely GAWD I SUCK". It's ugly people. It's really NOT.PRETTY.AT.ALL.
I spoke with 4 men today about this weighty issue.
Me: Over the years have you and your wife gained a few pounds? Have either of you ever mentioned to the other that "you could stand to lose a few pounds"?
Him: Yes, we both have. I haven't said anything, no...only if she really bitches about her weight I say put up or do something.....with me she says "we" have to loose weight....I don't have a problem with my weight...well I know I'm over weight but I don't really give a shit.
Me: Does your wife worry about her weight? Does it bother you?
Him: I think it bothers her sometimes, but its not something that bothers me. I think we've been together so long we know what each other looks like. It's who we are. Last year when I dropped a lot of weight it bothered her because she prefers me bigger.
Me: Does your girlfriend have body image issues? What do you think about it?
Him: All women say they are fat. I love my wife. I wish she would stop wearing baggy clothes all the time. She could, ya know... more. Anyway. It doesn't matter what I say. She will say she's fat and will accuse me of looking at other women. Yeah, I look at other women. I have eyes.
Me: Do you remember when you asked me to marry you and you had a list of things I needed to comply to in order to seal the deal? Remember how you said that I needed to lose 4 pounds a months for the year that you were deployed? What the f*ck was that about?
Him: Is this what you wanted to talk about? This is what I signed on for?
Me: It's for something I am writing. Sorry, I'm done being bitchy. Go on. Explain.
Him: You needed to lose weight. I loved you. I wanted to marry someone who liked herself. I also asked that you allow me to love and cherish you. You always forgot that part. You were not happy with yourself. Besides, you lost the weight.
Me: I lost it after we broke up. I didn't lose it for you. I never criticized your weight or your tummy.
Him: Doesn't matter. You lost the weight. You didn't have to say anything to me about my weight. I just did something about it. I didn't piss and moan about it.
JEBUS! Has it been this simple all along? Do men really just want someone who smiles, puts out, brings them beer and is happy with herself? Holy Balls!