Sunday, March 14, 2010

dear jennifer...

This email showed up in my inbox the other day and I just couldn't help but post it and write my response.

Read on...

Dear Jennifer,

My name is Kevin and I'm 17 years old.  I know this might not be your
particular area of expertise, but since you deal with beauty and
self-image issues I thought you might have have some good insight on an
experience I recently had. It involved a girl I had just met at a
dance. We talked for a good half hour and seemed to be hitting it
off. She was very pretty, smart and nice. We even exchanged email
addresses. I was so excited!

Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a
“really nice, hourglass figure”. I thought she would take it as a
compliment but instead she became deeply offended. I went into damage
control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only made
things worse when I used the term “healthy”. With a look of complete
disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed.

As I was standing there alone rubbing my cheek, with my friends nearby
laughing at me, I was wondering why she was so offended. She had a
classic hourglass figure - very busty, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs.
I guess she had interpreted “hourglass” as meaning big/overweight/full
figured. Why can't girls embrace their curves?

Btw, I do have her email address. Do you think I should her an apology
note or should I interpret the slap in the face as another way of
saying she does not want to see me again?

Dear Kevin,

First of all, can I just totally thank you for making me feel like Dear Abby as I write this?  I mean I am channeling her in a big way right now.  Go me!

Moving on to your dilemma (*ahem*)...

Why can't girls embrace their curves?  There is a myriad of reasons why that's so hard for many women to do.  I could totally go on and on answering this question alone, but for time's sake I'll just get mention one that comes to mind.

The media.

Let's be honest here, the world is not to kind on anyone who doesn't fit into the ideal-size mold.  If a celeb puts on a few pounds...everyone's a critic.

If memory serves me, wasn't there an article written recently where a journalist called out Jennifer Anistion and Courtney Cox for looking a little on the heavy side?  COURTNEY COX and JENNIFER ANISTON!!!???

My left thigh is bigger than Jennifer Aniston's waist (not literally, but you catch my drift right?) and here she is being chastised for (maybe?) putting on a pound or two.  I mean, I honestly didn't think she did...but if she gained 5 lbs it's not a big deal.  She looks great!

You get where I'm going here?

What kind of message does that send to a teenage girl?

A girl who's already insecure and in the process of trying to figure out who she is.

That might be a little of where she's coming from.

To start off, just lose the words healthy, big-boned, curvy, shapely, and voluptuous from your vocab.

At least for now.

Try replacing them with beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, and amazing.

Also, learn how to respond correctly to a female.

For instance, if I say to my husband hey, does my butt look big in these jeans he better damn well reply (very quickly too) why no honey, not at all.

Because if he didn't...there would be hell to pay.

Trust that.

So my advice to you is this.

If you really like this girl, start groveling now.

Just grovel like you've never groveled before.

Then maybe, just maybe, she'll accept your apology and allow you into her life.


You better hope she does too...she actually sounds pretty fabulous.

Any girl who'll smack a guy in the face, then turn on her heel and leaves is the shiz in my book honey.


What about you guys?

What do you think?

Leave a comment below!


Veronica said...

Ah, welcome to the world of women, young man, where a well intentioned comment just might get you slapped across the face ;-) Instead of laughing at him, his friends would have been better served to take notes and learn from his time, it could be one of them standing alone, rubbing his cheek. Btw, isn’t that just the quintessential image of a guy who just struck out with a girl?!

Anyway, as a woman with a full hourglass figure (I look a bit like Nigella Lawson) I’m proud of my curves, and if I guy told me I had a “really nice hourglass figure” I would actually take it as a compliment, though it would also strike me as a bit too forward for someone I just met. But, that’s me at 40, not 17, where I was hypersensitive about my looks, and about teenage guys looking at me in a sexual way….so I would say that this young woman’s reaction was fairly typical. Just stay away from any comments about a girl’s physique and stick to stuff that can’t be misinterpreted – her sense of humor, her fashion sense, etc. We’re not that complicated, just a little neurotic when it comes to our bodies.

Jennifer said...

Well said Veronica. I agree totally. I really didn't think that I was a prude until I tried to think of a response based on how I would explain it to a guy who's only 17 (or if my son was his age...he's only four now but you catch my drift).

I definitely wanted to stay away from words like sexy and stuff like that...see what I mean by the prude comment. I was totally on the fence with voluptuous though. I wouldn't mind being called that, but I was trying to think like a HS girl and thought that it might be a little misinterpreted. But it could go either way.

You were right on the money with complementing her sense of humor and fashion sense. Although I do worry that he might say something like "hey, you look gorgeous in that dress" and then keep going on and adding words that turn it into "hey that gown really shows off your ample curves"...or something even worse.

P.S. I'm definitely waaaayyyy less neurotic when it comes to my body right now. In high school, I was a ridic insecure about it though.

Veronica said...

Hi Jennifer. You don't have to publish this as a comment, I just wanted to get back to you. Yes, it can definitely be a minefield when complimenting a girl on any aspect of her physical appearance. You gotta feel for the young man, as he did seem sincere. I hope they can patch things up. They both seem like very nice young people. And yes, you gotta love the slap.....very retro and classy :-) I wish I was that assertive when I was 17.

Cassie said...

If the table had been reversed and a female said something a male perceived as offensive, and the male slapped her in the face, would he be described as "fabulous" or "the shiz" or "classy"? Why is violence from women to men tolerated and even applauded?

Jennifer said...


Thanks for your email! I meant to respond, but I've been really busy over here and I'm ridic behind! Yes, he did send me an email letting me know what happened and I plan on posting that by the end of the week!


I really don't want to have a long drawn-out discussion about this so I'll just say that of course I don't condone women on men violence or men on women violence either (for that matter men on men and women on women violence is not cool as well...just covering bases here people).

You basically made a pretty broad assumption based on my opinion of her reaction to what he said.

Getting back to my original opinion...yes, I do think that a woman who slaps a guy for making an offensive comment, an offensive gesture, or touches her in a way that she deems inappropriate, should be applauded.

In other words, she would be "the shiz" and extremely "fabulous" in my book any day of the week.

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