You would look better if…

One of the articles on Jezebel today, “Why Can’t a Man Ever Tell a Woman the ‘Truth’ About How She Looks?“, makes me grateful that I’m in a relationship ruled by honesty. I do tend to ask TJ how I look in certain outfits not because I think I’m ugly and need validation that I’m not, but because I’m really not sure how I look, given the sorry absence of a full-length mirror at home. And he’s perfectly comfortable asking me how he looks, too. Neither of us is shy about saying if the other looks sloppy on a certain day, although we don’t really care if we do because there are days when we just don’t give a fuck about looking decent. It’s more about making sure we don’t look like ambulating bundles of rags. 1

The looks-related comments I 2 dislike are the unsolicited ones. I’m excluding comments from relatives here, because while I dislike such comments, they’re relatives, and they’re practically expected to say certain things about your appearance. I 3 have received a few comments from 1. guys I don’t really know that well and 2. guys I haven’t seen in a long time; I got back in touch with someone from elementary school and one of his first messages to me was, “You would look better with long hair,” which was weird because 1. he’s never even seen me with long hair to justifiably conclude that I look better with long hair, 2. he hasn’t seen me in years, and 3. it’s my hair and I’ll do what I want with it. In contrast, I didn’t feel particularly moved to comment on his looks.

It’s a practice that baffles me because I can’t imagine even making comments about someone’s looks out of the blue and suggest alternative looks if they didn’t ask for my opinion. I would attribute this to society trying to keep women in line and to men thinking that they have an indisputable say about women’s appearance, but it’s also likely to be due to a lack of manners or anything to say. After all, people’s appearance is the easiest thing to remark on if you don’t really know anything about you.

  1. Typical exchange: “Mukha ba ‘kong basura?” “No.” “Cool.”
  2. And most likely everyone.
  3. And of course, many other people.

March 21, 2013 by Lynn
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