Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Response

Found via Google reader's explore button is fun! (Also, I didn't see a link to the original letter, so, there you go.)

A Letter To Men by Christina Hendricks

We love your body.
If we're in love with you, we love your body. Your potbelly, everything. Even if you're insecure about something, we love your body. You feel like you're not this or that? We love your body. We embrace everything. Because it's you.

I'm going to start off with the "we" thing. You, Ms. (or Mrs. or Miss, or whatever you prefer) Hendricks are not all women. The Lorax may speak for the trees, but that's only because they don't have voices of their own. Women have voices, and typing fingers all of their own.

I understand you're trying to make a point and say that women in general don't think like men think they do. I get it, but really, you're just speaking for you and the subset of all women who think in a similar way to you. I also get that the word "we" makes more of an impact on a readership that the word "I" does. It's harder for people to brush away a group than it is to brush aside an individual. Still, I want you to realize that I know you're really just talking about your preferences.

Also, I'll only be speaking for me, not some mythical "all men," many of which probably disagree with my musical lovin' self in many, many ways.

On to the body thing, it's confusing. Are you allowed to feel insecure about your hips and thighs and lips and breasts even though I say I think you look great, but I'm not allowed feel insecure about my belly or pecs or hairy shoulders or balding head when you tell me you think I look good? As an insecure guy, those moments I choose believe you when you say you like my appearance, I feel really good about myself, but I can't promise that I'll believe you all the time because those insecurities are so deep in my being it's easy to dismiss the things that don't fit my self image. Understand, it's not usually about you when I don't believe your words, it's about selfish old me and my wandering mood; I can go from zero to self loathing just as fast as you can.

Speaking of your body, you don't understand the power of your own smell. Any woman who is currently with a man is with him partly because she loves the way he smells. And if we haven't smelled you for a day or two and then we suddenly are within inches of you, we swoon. We get light-headed. It's intoxicating. It's heady.

I assume, though, that you still want me to keep showering in the morning, right?

I feel the same way about your smell, too. Don't cover it up with heavy perfumes. A little goes a long way and a small touch of the right one can add an accent to your natural smell that makes me melt inside.

Really, for me, I prefer it when you have a nice smelling shampoo and I can smell it and you together at the point where your neck curves into your shoulder. It's a spot I could breathe in for the rest of my life.

We remember forever what you say about the bodies of other women. When you mention in passing that a certain woman is attractive — could be someone in the office, a woman on the street, a celebrity, any woman in the world, really — your comment goes into a steel box and it stays there forever. We will file the comment under "Women He Finds Attractive." It's not about whether or not we approve of the comment. It's about learning what you think is sexy and how we might be able to convey it. It's about keeping our man by knowing what he likes.

It's not just "about keeping our man by knowing what he likes" if this sort of crap gets dragged out during fights.

I look.

I comment.

You store and then you whip it out during a fight like it was an awful thing to do, three weeks ago; that's your choice, but don't tell me that you only file it away only for personal reference. You remember EVERYTHING. At the time, you may not consciously plan to fling it back in my face, in fact, I doubt it's ever planned, but you always seem to pull it out to clobber me with it when we're angry with each other. I'm not asking you to change that about yourself, just be aware, be honest with yourself and with me.

We also remember everything you say about our bodies, be it good or bad. Doesn't matter if it's a compliment. Could be just a comment. Those things you say are stored away in the steel box, and we remember these things verbatim. We remember what you were wearing and the street corner you were standing on when you said it.

Yeah, don't I know it. See that comment about the fight up above. Strange, though, you rarely, if ever, bring up those times I said how wonderful parts of your body are, just the negative things we said.

Never complain about our friends — even if we do. No matter how many times we say a friend of ours is driving us crazy, you are not to pile on. Not because it offends us. But because it adds to the weight that we carry around about her.

If you don't want me to complain about your friend, in front of you, then you have to promise to never ask me my opinion of them. Yeah, usually know better than to just blurt out what I think about them, but there are always those moments where I'm distracted by the TV or even the cereal box and you ask and I tell you the truth.

If you really, really, really do want to know if I like your friends and I say I don't, don't ask me to tell you why, because I will. It's not (often) about hurting your relationships with your friends, but it's about being honest with you in our relationship. I'll put up with your friends that I don't like when I have to, and I'll do my damnedest to keep quiet about it, but when you ask, I'm letting go and you're going to get an earful.


Remember what we like. When I first started dating my husband, I had this weird fascination with the circus and clowns and old carnival things and sideshow freaks and all that. About a month after we started dating, he bought me this amazing black-and-white photo book on the circus in the 1930s, and I started sobbing. Which freaked him out. I thought, Oh, my God, I mentioned this three or four weeks ago and talked about it briefly, but he was really listening to me. And he actually went out and researched and found this thing for me. It was amazing.

I'll try to remember, but make sure that you don't fake that you like it. When I buy you a frog on a bicycle because I remembered when we were walking through a craft fair, or something, and you comment on how cute a frog dressed as a little boy was, but you don't really like frogs, it's cool if you pretend to like it in the moment because I don't want to be hurt as much as you don't want to hurt me, but make sure to tell me before the next gift giving time, otherwise, I'll probably get you another frog. I don't want to turn you into a frog lady if you don't really like frogs, don't let me. Be honest with me.

We want you to order Scotch. It's the most impressive drink order. It's classic. It's sexy. Such a rich color. The glass, the smell. It's not watered down with fruit juice. It's Scotch. And you ordered it.

If you really want me to order it, I will, but do I have to drink it? Oh, and if you really wanted it for yourself, order it for yourself. I think that women who aren't afraid of ordering what they want are sexy.

Stand up, open a door, offer a jacket. We talk about it with our friends after you do it. We say, "Can you believe he stood up when I approached the table?" It makes us feel important. And it makes you important because we talk about it.

I'm glad you told me this, but I make no promises.

If it's cold, I expect you to bring something warm. I'm not giving up my jacket if I'm cold. We can do the whole you-tucked-up-against-my-body-under-my-jacket thing, but I don't like to reward stupidity for looking classy, or whatever.

On the door thing, I'll try. I'm pretty good about holding doors to buildings open for everyone. If I'm the one who's driving, and can unlock your side without having to go to the driver side first, there's a good chance I'll open that door for you, but when we're getting out of the car I'll expect you to know how to pull the door handle thing all on your own. You're a big girl, you know how.

As for the standing thing, that depends on my mood and how long I've known you. If I'm in a bad mood, I won't stand for you. If I've known you for a while and am comfortable with you I'll probably stay sitting because you, hopefully, know me better, too.

No shorts that go below the knee. The ones almost like capri pants, the ones that hover somewhere between the kneecap and the calf? Enough with those shorts. They are the most embarrassing pants in the world. They should never be worn. No woman likes those.

Done. I don't like 'em myself.

Also, no tank tops. In public at least. A tank top is underwear. You're walking around in your underwear. Too much.

Also done. Never liked tank tops.

No man should be on Facebook. It's an invasion of everyone's privacy. I really cannot stand it.

Personally, I don't think anyone should be on Facebook. I don't like it those sorts of sites that seem to be so much about popularity, where you get nasty e-mail, or whatever, because you don't want to be "friends" with someone who was in you third grade class.

Since it exists, though, I don't think it should be limited by sex. Sexism is sexism no matter which sex it's aimed at. If it was aimed at just kids, that's cool, but unlikely since there's no good way to prove your age online, yet.

Also, if you see it as an invasion of privacy I hope you're not on it. Or is it okay for you, but not me?

If this is more about me checking up on your Facebook status, well, that's a different story.

You have to realize, though, if you're on Facebook, it's not private. Strangers, male and female, are constantly looking at it. Is that more comforting to you, knowing that strangers are looking at your pictures and reading your thoughts than knowing that I'm looking and reading? What does that say about us and our ability to trust each other?

You don't know this, but when we come back from a date, we feel awkward about that transition from our cute outfit into sexy lingerie. We don't know how to do this gracefully. It's embarrassing. We have to find a way to slip into another room, put on the outfit as if it all happened very easily, and then come out and it's: Look at me! Look at the sexy thing I've done! For you, it's the blink of an eye. It's all very embarrassing. Just so you know.

You know what I like, I like to participate in the undressing more than I like the sexy lingerie. If you want to play dress-up, okay. If you have to step out of the room to put on the sexy dress-up underwear, fine, go for it, but know that I like fumbling at your tiny buttons while we're close to each other.

Hell, on the nights I'm not getting lucky, I like to watch you pull your shirt over your head, revealing your curves in all their spectacular glory. There's seduction in simplicity.

I like you to feel sexy, so, when you need to, I'll let you do what you need to do.

Panties is a wonderful word. When did you stop saying "panties"? It's sexy. It's girlie. It's naughty. Say it more.

Really? Sexy? It's not silly or childish? Really?


About ogling: The men who look, they really look. It doesn't insult us. It doesn't faze us, really. It's just — well, it's a little infantile. Which is ironic, isn't it? The men who constantly stare at our breasts are never the men we're attracted to.

Yes, it's infantile, and I do apologize for doing it.

But, you see, there are these moments where it's like I'm 10 or 11 again and I'm just discovering the wonders of cleavage or that place where thigh meets butt and I stare. It's one of those moments where there's not a thought in my head. I'm just reacting.

There are better words than beautiful. Radiant, for instance. It's an underused word. It's a very special word. "You are radiant." Also, enchanting, smoldering, intoxicating, charming, fetching.

Better than beautiful? Or do you really just want me to vary the words I use?

I don't want to use some of those words to describe a person, but understand how you don't want things to be stuck in a rut. I'll do my best to change it up.

Marriage changes very little. The only things that will get a married man laid that won't get a single man laid are adultery and whores. Intelligence and humor (and your smell) are what get you laid. That's what got you laid when you were single. That's what gets you laid when you're married. Everything still works in marriage: especially intelligence and humor. Because the sexiest thing is to know you.

I disagree, marriage changes a lot.

We may still be who we were, but now we're really in this together. We depend on on another. There' s no more "your stuff" and "my stuff," it's now our stuff.

Before marriage me blowing $500 on a new phone or a new TV or something without consulting you maybe wasn't totally okay with you, but you can easily look past it. Me spending that much on something without talking to you about it after we're married becomes an unavoidable conflict. Same goes for you spending that much money without including me. Because after marriage the future becomes much more real.

The future's a lot more abstract to a single person. It's always tomorrow and tomorrow rarely comes. Until it comes it's only something that vaguely has to be worried about.

When you're married, though, the future's always there. Possible babies, a probable house, life insurance, work, and money, money, money are always there staring you in the face. In a marriage, the future is always now because life's not only about one person anymore.

Marriage may not change the people, but it changes nearly everything else, and that's a lot.

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