Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How far would you go to please your man?

Now, now. I'm not talking about any kinky, Shades of Gray-ish nonsense. I'm talking about what you're willing to do, within reason, to be what is attractive to your guy. Personally, I never thought this topic would come up between Matthew and I--until recently, when the proverbial shit hit the fan between us.

First, let me premise this post by saying I was inspired to write it after reading a post by Raven titled "I dress for men." She claims that men hate cardigans, maxi dresses, bubble necklaces, red lipstick, and the infamous blogger topknot. While I tend to avoid generalizations and am sure that there are probably plenty of exceptions to this rule, I found myself laughing and nodding my head in agreement throughout Raven's entire post. Why? Because Matthew and I JUST had this fight conversation a couple months ago. Before that time, I probably would have been one of the girls that got a little huffy and said, "actually, I dress for me, and I should hope my husband loves me the way I am!"

And believe me, when this topic came up between myself and Matthew, I wasn't thrilled to hear his opinions on some of the ways I've been presenting myself lately.

Let me back up.

It was a sunny summer afternoon. I was PMSing. Already this is going badly, eh? I was feeling insecure and fishing for compliments from Matthew, but since men don't understand the whole no means yes and yes means no rule that automatically takes effect during PMS, he mistook one of my compliment-fishing questions for an actual, legitimate question, and made the grave error of answering me honestly. Long story short, it came out that he hates my hair in a bun, thinks I look absurd in red lipstick, doesn't like the vintage "frumpy" look to some of the clothes I'd been buying, and he also made several other points that served as daggers directly to the left ventricle of my heart. I did the reasonable thing upon hearing these would-be insults to my "style," and stormed off, stomping and slamming doors in my wake. How could he criticize something as personal as a woman's sense of style? How dare he act as though I should live to please him! This is two-thousand-and-effing-twelve, and women don't gravel at the feet of their men any more! How dare he say a word against my hair or clothes or choice in lipstick!

I spent several more days being furious with Matthew. I was afraid to tell anyone about this argument we had, because in my mind, it made Matthew look unforgivable.  But finally, I talked to a friend about it. A friend I respected and knew would give me honest feedback. I expected her to be angry with Matthew--to join sides with me on my "nail his balls to the wall!" campaign. But to my utter amazement, she only told me that she had gone through something similar with her own husband... something that resulted in the two of them going through her closet together, he pointing out what he loved her in and what he didn't. Bottom line was this: she didn't really care if it was "right" or "wrong" from a feminist's perspective. She wanted to please him, and to wear things that he found her most attractive in.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I started to come back down to earth after my several days of heightened fury with poor Matthew.  After hearing that something so similar had happened to another couple I looked up to, and their relationship lived to tell the tale, it all became... less horrible.  And then I talked to my mom about it, and it all became even more less horrible. Suddenly it made sense to me to know when Matthew found me most attractive and when he didn't. It seemed reasonable to wear the stuff he loves when I'm around him, and wear the fashion-y stuff that I like when I'm out with friends or in outfit posts or something. I decided that, when I'm around my husband, yes. I would dress for men. Not really men, though. HIM.

Still, I can see how this point of view would bother some women. Many would likely have the reaction that I first had and think "screw 'em if he doesn't like the way I dress or my favorite shade of lipstick!" But as for that mentality, I think I've just decided that maybe this is what they're talking about when they say a successful marriage is hard work and compromise and sometimes sacrifice. And it helps to know that Matthew would make changes for me, too, if I asked.  Bending your own will to please someone you love isn't always a bad thing, or a sign of giving in to chauvinistic male domination. But as a certain wildly popular erotic fiction series might suggest, maybe that's what a good chunk of us ladies are craving, anyway?

I'm not sayin' that, but I'm just sayin'.

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