By in Relationships

Relationship Advice for Men: The Impossible Question

Picture this: You and your lovely ladyfriend are preparing to go out, and she is doing her usual what-should-I-wear ritual of trying and discarding outfits while you A) fidget from foot to foot, looking repeatedly at your watch and staring at her framed family photos, wondering whether she is going to turn out chunky like her older sister or hot like her mom or B) bliss out unconcernedly to SportsCenter. Whether you are just starting to date seriously (in which case you are doing A) or are in a comfortable relationship (and you are doing B), here is the moment every man dreads: She pops out in a dress you've never seen, strikes a pose, and asks, seemingly without guile, "Does this make me look fat?"

See that picture? That's your face when she asks you that question. Kind of like a deer in the headlights. Ay ay ay , as they say in mariachi movies.

Okay, look: You are now entering a relationship minefield. Do not go unprepared. Let me tell you a little about the female psyche, so sit still and read, even though you are now no doubt replaying the SportsCenter theme repeatedly in your head right now (sorry about that). This could benefit you.

The little woman is asking you this seemingly impossible question because she still likes you enough to care about how she looks when you go out (a plus!), and because she wants to know what you think (still a plus!), but not necessarily about the dress (WTF?). I'll explain: she is using the dress to find out what you think about her, so yes, this is a loaded question. If you don't actually HATE the dress, say this: "You look fantastic!" Do NOT add, "Can we GO now?" because nothing will rob her face faster of the delighted smile it just got upon hearing she looks fantastic, so shut up while you are ahead, and you will have a lovely evening.

And yet, it is also a surface question, because if you have never seen the dress before, she may have had it for a while and feels ambivalent about it because she doesn't really like it herself, and maybe it really is unflattering, and on some level she knows that, but it was an amazing bargain and even though she will probably never wear it, it continues to hang in the closet, representing both the achievement of the bargain hunt and the instinct not to throw away money spent, even on a pretty much useless item. Sad, but this is how we x-chromosome people think.

Your woman probably does not regularly consult you for style clues (that's what we have girlfriends and gay friends for), but if "You look fantastic!" is met with some sighing and frowning, or if you really DO hate the dress, the next step is "It doesn't make you look fat, but I'm not sure it's my favorite; something about the color, maybe. I love the [insert preferred clothing item here], you look SO good in that!" Blaming the color and not her butt will absolve her of responsibility for the badness, and ending on a compliment will seal the deal. She might not wear the requested item, but avoiding a potential dust-up is the real goal, here. Score!

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Image Credit » by Kapa65

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Bensen32 wrote on June 1, 2015, 11:13 PM

LOL, Yep this is so true lots of women love to play games and use loaded questions rather than just straight out ask questions they really want the answers to. I prefer to play the games back with an answer like, "I don't think it's the dress" followed by a laugh and a smile. Of course, I'm a joker and don't play games. But hey everyone does their own thing, so I suppose this might be good advice to some.

valmnz wrote on June 2, 2015, 1:35 AM

Lol, I may not be a man, but I had to read this. If it was my husband, after 44 years, he'd hope I took as long as possible so he could keep watching sport on TV. And he'd tell the truth, as he knows I know the answer before I even ask. Maybe that's why we've lasted together for so long.

MegL wrote on June 2, 2015, 2:15 AM

That's great advice for any one. I worked in the changing department of a chain store,many years ago, as a student and came to realise that anyone who asked for your opinion didn't want it, they just wanted their own view confirmed.

BarbRad wrote on June 2, 2015, 4:57 AM

Good advice to the "unfair" sex. I never ask anymore what my husband thinks about clothes. I know if he especially likes something he'll tell me.

msiduri wrote on June 2, 2015, 7:45 AM

I never ask. The only time my husband commented on my dress was on our wedding day.

agvulpes wrote on June 2, 2015, 9:18 AM

LOL great advise to the 'uninitiated' :) I have been married to the same lovely lady for over 50 years and she has never worn a dress that I have not liked seeing her wear :)

Ellis wrote on June 2, 2015, 10:50 AM

If you wanna know if you look fat, take the dress off and sod dinner! lol

WritingLover wrote on June 2, 2015, 10:56 AM

This is something no woman should ever ask a man that, it probably won't end well.

alexdg1 wrote on June 2, 2015, 3:18 PM

Fortunately, none of my ex-girlfriends ever asked me the dreaded "Do I look fat?" question. I probably would have looked EXACTLY like Mr. Clueless up there.

Ruby3881 wrote on June 3, 2015, 2:39 AM

I can honestly say that anytime I have ever asked a partner how I looked, it was simply for a second opinion. No ulterior motives, no using the dress to discover what he thinks of me. If he said something was wrong, it probably was. (And I expected him to warn me if it was!) Do women really do this stuff? Seems more like a scene from a movie than from real life...

MelissaE wrote on June 14, 2015, 7:06 AM

This is cute. I remember those days. I just don't care how I look anymore. If my husband likes something, he will say so unsolicited.