Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Weight, weight, don't tell me

There has been a lot of discussion on some blogs I frequent about this post from MIM. Basically, she argues that if you get married looking one way, then your appearance changes over time, you have engaged in "false advertising" and have deceived your spouse.

There are so many depressing issues raised by this that I don't know where to start.

CityMama wrote a well-reasoned reply, with which I largely agree. Read what she said, because she's more eloquent than I am, plus she has a cool picture of Jane Seymour, and who doesn't need that?

There is a part of me that believes that if you married someone who was obsessed with your looks, well, you can't be surprised when there's not a lot of relationship left if your looks change. Worrying about the details at that point seems silly. I have known multiple women who were mightily stressed about the first time they spent the night with a man because he would see them in the morning without makeup. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I can't imagine going to such trouble to look a certain way for someone else, and more importantly, I can't imagine being attracted to anyone who would want me to do that. So there's that.

Several commenters seem to argue that staying skinny is a question of self-respect. I have a hard time with that. I do believe that it's important to stay healthy, and that not worrying about your health is a warning sign of other issues. However, that's not what the original post was about - she was saying it would be "unfair to her husband" if she got larger. That has nothing to do with staying healthy because she believes it's important.

On another level, I find it very sad to think that it could be important to a marriage that both partners stay the same person as when they married. My husband, D., and I started dating 14 years ago - how incredibly boring would our lives be if neither of us had evolved physically, mentally or in any other way since then? Does D. really want to be married to someone who has thumb-tacked Smiths and Pink Floyd posters over her walls or prefaces all major observations with "you know?" D. had an intense head cold the weekend we got married and could barely talk - should I be crying foul now that it turns out he does actually speak?

I'm being a bit flip, and I do understand that things like hygiene play into attraction, but isn't a smart, funny, considerate man much sexier than Viggo Mortensen? Okay, maybe Viggo isn't a fair point of comparison - but you get the point.


Allison said...

Yeah. I think the whole idea of needing to stay exactly the same for the rest of your life is beyond silly, beyond sad -- it's impossible. And there's a definite double-standard at work, there -- it's not as if the husband will always look as hot 'n' fresh as he did the day they met. Isn't marriage about growing together? And acceptance? Emotional intimacy (which I submit is impossible if the expectation is that one the spouse always keep up appearances for the other)? And actual, you know, love?

Allison said...

...and after reading the original article, I think it's ridiculous to make depression or non-depression a condition of attraction. Sheesh, if Greg was depressed and gained some weight, I would support him, not judge him for his weight gain or withhold sex (and I expect the same if the positions reversed). I can't imagine either of us saying, "Sorry, honey, but I find your depressive self less-attractive..."

Ruth said...

Well said, well said.