Venus vs. Bruno Mars

True story: I HAVE been blogging lately. You just don’t know it, because it’s all come out too weird, preachy, and overly personal, so I spared you all from feeling obligated to read half of it before abandoning my blog forever. You’re welcome. But seriously, if I die suddenly and posterity is crying out for more insight into my brain, you can bully John into publishing the embarrassment of unpublished drafts on this blog…

On a more amusing note, I was listening to the radio on my drive home last night when this song came on:

I was listening to it and singing along (Yes, I like crappy pop music. Shut up.) and thinking, “Awww, what a romantic guy,” when my brain bitch-slapped me and said “Are you KIDDING me?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Brain: “This song is the absolute embodiment of what men say that makes women crazy ALL THE TIME.”

Me: “Calm down. What are you talking about?”

Brain: “John tells you you look amazing all the time, How do you react?”

Me: “He tells me I look amazing when I’m sick and runny nosed and haven’t changed out of the same pair of pajamas for three days.”

Brain: “And that doesn’t strike you as sweet and romantic?”

Me: “I guess, but he says the exact same thing when I’m dressed out for a night on the town. So either he’s lying to be nice when I’m sick or there’s no point in dressing up because I am powerless to look nicer than I do when I’m down with a bad cold.”

Brain: “He just sees you with the eyes of love.”

Me: “Yeah, well, the eyes of love are not very helpful.”

It goes beyond just the eyes of love, though. This is a pattern with people in general, which is that they’ll take the time to offer helpful feedback on things they’re interested and invested in, but if they couldn’t care less about the process, they’ll just politely say, “That’s great!”

For example…

John, on ALL of my  knitting: “Wow! You made that! That’s awesome!”

John, on ALL of my cooking: “Thanks for cooking. You’re awesome.”

And in contrast…

John, on the grocery flier: “Huh. Can you believe the choice of lighting? It’s obvious they were using lights with two different temperatures. It looks unnatural. And the cropping they used could have been done better by a six-year-old. That’s a stock photo–I’ve seen that one in at least three different stores…”

John, on Minecraft:  

On second thought, nevermind. I’m too busy saying, “Wow, that’s cool…” to actually report anything specific about what he’s described to me in Minecraft, which brings me back to the point: it’s human nature to give effusive and generously uncritical praise to people we love regarding things we have exactly zero interest in.

When it comes to knitting and cooking, I’m fine with that. I have other people in my life to give me the critical feedback that helps me improve. When you’re talking about body image, however, it can be damn difficult to separate the “interest in me” from “interest in what I’m wearing.” Personal appearance doesn’t feel like a hobby to most women, I imagine–it feels like a critical component of our identity. This is bullshit, by the way, and completely unfair that most guys somehow get to grow up with the impression that they’re doing well on the personal appearance front if they brush their teeth once a day and shower two or three times a week, but it’s definitely at the heart of why women get pissed off when guys use the same language to praise their beauty whether they’re sick and gross or dressed to the nines.

So, for what it’s worth, this is my advice for couples regarding personal appearance…

No, scratch that. I just tried to distill this thought into actionable advice and realized that it’s an issue we’re all bound to lose on from time to time.  It is what it is, but maybe thinking about the situation from the other person’s perspective will help prevent some of the fallout?

Hah. Right. Good luck with that.

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