“Do I Look Fat in This?”
Now that’s a question that irked my friend, Adam; a question that was posed by his girlfriend, Jill. Jill is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and Adam adores her. But Jill is convinced she looks terrible on a regular basis.
Jill’s routine goes as follows:
- Jill gets dolled up for a night out, with flawless makeup, curly hair, and a dress that would make Carrie Bradshaw proud.
- Jill looks at Adam and says, “Do I look fat in this? My thighs/butt/stomach is/are huge!”
- Adam shakes his head and tells her she looks beautiful.
- Jill changes anyway and spends the rest of the night talking about how she needs to lose weight or change something about her looks.
The thing is, Adam is perfectly cool with her body, and in fact, thinks she always looks great.
Contrary to popular belief, “Do I look fat in this?” is not the phrase men loathe to hear. The answer to that one isn’t as complicated as a mediocre sitcom makes it out to be: “You look good” will suffice, or even a “It looks fine, but I love you in this other outfit.”
Or, as Ross says in this “Friends” episode: “You don’t look. You just say ‘No.’”
No, the real thing that drives men up the relationship wall isn’t the question. It’s the implication. What really gets under Adam’s skin is spending so much time trying to convince someone they look fine only to have them dismiss it.
When a man hears “Do I look fat in this?” again and again, he’s really hearing a woman who doesn’t believe him when he says she’s beautiful.
A lack of self-confidence is a kind of hidden killer of relationships, because it’s not as obvious as being terrible in bed, a lack of chemistry or relationship baggage from an ex. It simmers like a stew – a stew that tastes great but thinks it tastes bland. It’s one thing to casually ask how you look. It’s another to not take a guy at his word and make him be your own personal pep squad.
Adam told me he always felt like he was dealing with her confidence issues and never about anything he was worried about. Eventually, he decided he didn’t want to spend his nights telling someone something they’d never accept. Have you ever been the one who felt like you weren’t hot enough for your partner, and needed them to support you? Did you ever get to the point where you believed them? Or were you on the other end, and got tired of validating all the time?