Tag: Personal

I’m not sure why this particular question (or any variation on the theme) seems to absolutely baffle most men…but it does, so I really appreciate receiving this topic from a man!

My typical question has always been, “Honey…do I look fat in this outfit?”  And I swear nothing has consistently sent my man into a complete panic quicker than those eight little words.

And I’ve really never understood why.

For years when I was married, I would ask the question and Brian (my ex) would visibly cringe and then daggers would seemingly fly from his eyeballs and he would mumble some kind of incomprehensible huff and walk away as if he considered the matter closed.  And I was left wondering if that meant I did or did not look fat in the outfit?  (Note: Never a good start to an evening out.)

These days, Matthew (my boyfriend) says that I’m simply not allowed to ask those types of questions.  He considers them to be:

“Loaded questions with absolutely no possible right answer in sight”, or

“Land mines waiting to blow up in his face”, or

“Evil, hateful attempts to send men into the fiery depths of hell.”

I think most men feel the same way.

But I disagree.

And so I’m grateful for the opportunity to give men the secret to providing the right answer…


We want reassurance.  We want to know that we look beautiful to you.  That no matter what we put on our bodies…you LOVE OUR ASSES in it!

The truth is that by the time I come to my man with any of these questions…I’ve pretty much made up my mind about what I’m going to wear and I’m just looking for a compliment when one isn’t forthcoming.

There.  I said it.  I’m fishing for compliments.

So for me, the correct answer to the question “Does my ass look fat in these jeans” is quite simply… ”HELL NO honey! Your ass is what makes those jeans look great!”

Oh and guys…none of that mumbling the words without looking at me bullshit.  I want you to turn around, look at me in those jeans, and say those words with absolute conviction.

Do it and I’ll be one happy puppy.

Now…there are times when I really do want my man’s opinion on an outfit.  Not a shallow compliment (see?  I’m admitting that I know that’s what I’m fishing for above), but his actual opinion on what looks good and what does not.  Take last week for example.  I tried on a dress I was going to wear for a family Bar Mitzvah in Miami over the weekend, and I really couldn’t make up my mind on the shoe/necklace/earring combination.  So I called Matthew upstairs and asked his opinion.

Wisely…he asked “Are you really asking my opinion or do you just want me to tell you how good you look?”  (Obviously the man is starting to know me).

“No honey, I’m giving you choices and I REALLY WANT YOUR OPINION.  I have this sexy black dress with a hot pink liner that peaks out as I walk or spin…so I want the whole look to be perfect!”

Cautiously he agreed to help.

So we started with the shoes…of which I was wearing two different styles on each foot.  I did the classic lift one shoe up at a time to showcase two very different black evening shoes and without hesitation he picked the one on the left (a lovely black satin shoe with crystal ankle straps).   Thank you very much Matthew.  That was perfect!

Then we moved onto the jewelry.  First, I tried on a large pink crystal necklace & a pair of delicate diamond-like earrings and he hesitated and asked if there were any other options.  He said it seemed unbalanced.  OK…we instantly stepped onto shaky ground as this was my first choice, but I was willing to work with him to get it “balanced.”  So I tried on option #2, a delicate diamond-like ball on a simple white gold-like chain with delicate (i.e. small) diamond-like earrings.   This time he thought it wasn’t enough.  In fact, he thought the delicate combination was a bit “too old” looking (quickly adding that I didn’t look old…but the jewelry made me look older – SMART man).

Clearly that wasn’t going to work, so we kept at it.  HE then suggested putting the large pink crystal necklace back on, but with a pair of larger dangling diamond-like earrings and WHALA!  It was perfect.

And I knew it was perfect because he stepped back and a huge smile came across his face and he said those magic words…”Babe, you look beautiful.”  And I knew he meant it.

But if I had pulled the whole thing off on my own, and uttered the question “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?”  I hope that he would turn and look at me, and without hesitation say “Babe, you look beautiful.”

And I think now he always will.

I think I’m pretty logical when it comes to this question.  I‘ve been known to ask it, or a variation of it, from time to time a lot.

The truth is that if I’m asking the question in the first place, I already know my ass looks too big or my dress is too tight or I’m wearing something that just doesn’t look good.

I’m actually OK with Mike telling me the truth.  Really, I am.

(Notice that I say “Mike”.  The situation that I’m referring to is when your loved one or someone you’re close to asks this question, not someone you don’t have a good or close relationship with.  If someone asks and they’re not a loved one who you have a good relationship with?  Lie.  It’s not worth the hurt/drama/crap.  And let’s face it: odds are that they’re fishing for a compliment anyway.  And if you’re the asshole who asks these questions of your friends/acquaintances/strangers (you know who you are), cut it out.  Please, stop making others feel uncomfortable with your “do I look fat?” or “how old do you think I am?” questions.)


I’d rather Mike tell me before I walk out of the house looking less than awesome.  If I ask it, I’m already thinking I should change, and his answer will usually just sway me one way or the other.

(Or his answer is irrelevant and I’ll do what I want anyway.)

Granted, if Mike ever looked at me and made a gagging sound or some horrid comment, I’d probably punch him in the throat.

Hell, even if he said a simple “yes” in response to the above question, I’d probably kick him in the knees…or at least cry a bit.

Thankfully for both of us, he’s very polite and tactful (and I’m not really that physically violent).

I say that the key here is to stay polite.  Go ahead and tell them the truth… nicely.

I’m a big fan of “that’s not the most flattering thing you could wear”.

Or “it looks nice, but not great”. 

Honestly, I appreciate that…

If I ask for his opinion.

Let me say that again, this time in all caps: IF I ASK FOR HIS OPINION.

If Mike just looked at me and said something negative about my outfit without my asking for his input… I’d probably cry.

This especially goes for people other than Mike.  If a girlfriend were to walk up to me and tell me my ass looked too big, without my asking her opinion, I’d have a problem with that.

If someone walked up to me on the street and said I didn’t look good – even if they said it politely and then gave me a few bucks and also handed me a brand new puppy – throat punching would be imminent.

So, only say something if you were asked your opinion.  Otherwise, keep quiet.

NOTE: be careful about the context.  If you’re loved one asks this question in reference to something that he or she has no choice but to wear (for example a bridesmaid dress or a work uniform), say they look awesome.  Say they look amazing.  Say they took your breath away. There’s nothing they can do about the situation, so don’t do anything to make it worse.

It’s also important to say that I never ask this question unless I truly want the answer. 

(No, really.)

If I ask it, I accept the response.  And I’m very clear about my intentions when I ask.

Before we left for Miami last week, I tried on the dress I was planning to wear and asked Mike for his honest opinion.  Mike looked at me, smiled, and said I looked great, BUT the dress didn’t look perfect.  He said that the fabric fell wrong in one place, but other than that I looked good.  I was already a little iffy about my dress, and let’s face, “good” wasn’t gonna cut it, so I changed into a different dress.  This time, he said I looked amazing.  He told me I looked fabulous.  He said he wouldn’t change a thing.

Without his honesty, I would have never tried on another dress, or felt nearly as confident.

I don’t ask these questions because I’m fishing for compliments, or looking for an ego boost.  When I was discussing this question with another woman (not my mother), she said she didn’t believe me.  She said that all women ask men these questions as a test or as a reason to hear how amazing they look. 

But I honestly don’t. Why?  Because the odds of that little test backfiring and resulting in a huge, horrible, messy argument just isn’t worth it to me.  In the beginning of our relationship I probably did play that game, but now?  I’ve learned my lesson.

If I want a compliment, I ask Mike how I look.  It’s simple, it’s to the point, and he always tells me I’m beautiful.

And a lot of times?  I don’t have to ask.

(I feel the need to point out that you have to figure out what your significant other is really saying when he or she asks these questions.  In discussing this topic with many women over the past week, it seems that my thoughts aren’t shared by many other ladies.  Maybe take another woman’s (<——-) advice?  At least to start with?  Because I’m not going to be responsible if you go tell your girlfriend/wife/friend-with-benefits that her ass totally looks huge and then scream “BUT ALLY THINKS I SHOULD BE HONEST!!!” while she’s beating you with her hair dryer.)

Topic: Who Were You in High School? The Mean Girl? Or the Outcast?

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I try to think back and imagine the girl that I was way back then, but I can’t really recall too much of anything (OY!).  I know that would normally be a sign of someone suppressing a traumatic time in their life, but I had a great childhood, and from what I can remember…a fine time in High School.  For me this is nothing new …my memory just sucks.  I can hardly remember the details of the births of my children let alone the thousands of hours I walked the halls in my high school or the names of the kids I’ve known since the 3rd grade.

So, who was I in High School?

Was I popular?  No.  But I was cute…in an unremarkable kind of way.   I was nice and fun to be with, but not popular.  More like “middle of the road” on a scale of having no friends…………….to being popular.  And, for the first year or so, I wasn’t loyal to (or was it that I really wasn’t a part of?) any one group in particular, but sort of glided around the edges of many.

And then I met…“the boys in the band.”

They called themselves “Oakfield” which combined the names of the two towns the boys lived in.  And they made me feel like I was finally a part of a group.  And I liked the bass player.  And he liked me.

And he had amazing long hair that flowed down to his shoulders and hung in his eyes when he closed them to play the bass guitar, and in High School…that whole musician with the long hair thing was a pretty big deal.

So, for a long time in High School…I was unremarkably cute, with a boyfriend who had amazing long hair, who played in a band.  And, because I was hanging out with boys in a band who DIDN’T EVEN GO TO MY HIGH SCHOOL…it also made me kinda cool.

But I wasn’t popular.   I didn’t do sports.  I didn’t have particularly good or bad grades.  And I didn’t consider myself to be a “joiner.”

In my Senior year however, I decided to join the  “backpacking club,” which was made up of a small group of kids who were into hiking and camping.  As a Jewish kid from the suburbs who had never hiked before (later I found out it was just walking on dirt), or gone camping (I did go to “camp” for 5 years…but it was a high-end Jewish camp where they unpacked your clothes for you before you arrived…so it wouldn’t really qualify as a “camping experience”) it was really a kind of mysterious and almost rebellious thing for me to join.

So imagine my surprise when they nominated me to be their Homecoming Queen candidate.  I hadn’t even gone on any hikes or camping yet!  But I was flattered…and a little confused.  I didn’t really fit the typical mold for a Homecoming Queen.  But as the two boys who organized the club explained to me…that was the point.  They didn’t want a “typical” girl to be nominated for the Homecoming Queen from the backpacking club…they wanted a typical “backpacking girl.”  Aha…that explained it.  I, apparently, had backpacking girl written all over me!

Which I thought was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, my elation at being labeled as a backpacking girl was almost immediately shot down when I was called into the principals’ office after he heard that our “float” for the homecoming parade was a little red wagon…complete with towering cardboard buildings with colored smoke pouring out of their tops depicting the rampant pollution being poured into our atmosphere by Corporate America (which I do credit as the start of my early political career).   He was not happy.  He firmly believed we were trying to make a mockery out of the Homecoming Event and threatened to pull our Club from the whole thing.

OMG…I had NEVER been in trouble in High School before.  I was a pretty good kid.  Some would probably say too good a kid.  I always respected authority and followed the rules, and if I didn’t, I didn’t get caught…except for the time I got caught smoking within 1 foot of the “no smoking” zone and they called my mom, but that time it was really about getting in trouble with my parents, not in school.

I talked my way out of the situation by claiming that we were not in any way making fun of the sanctity and tradition of Homecoming…but rather, we were expressing our views about our love and respect for our environment, which was pretty cool back in 1974!  And he bought it.

So following the big Homecoming football game, we were allowed to roll out our little red wagon with it’s colored smoke pouring out of the top…while I followed behind sitting atop an old Mustang (we tried for a cool jeep, but nobody owned one in suburban Michigan at the time) dressed in matching denim over-alls, flannel shirts, and yes…backpacks, with my date (the boy from the band) feeling and looking pretty damn cool.

I didn’t win as Homecoming Queen.  BUT NOW I was an unremarkably cute member of the Homecoming Queen’s Court… with a boyfriend who had amazing long hair, who played in a band.

Other than that…I didn’t have anything else I was known for, or for that matter, any identifiable talents at all.  I didn’t excel at anything.  But I didn’t fail at anything either.

So I guess at the end of the day, I was…pretty average.

I was an average student, with average looks, an average number of friends, who did an average amount of “stuff”…in High School.

Who was I in high school?  That’s a hard question to answer.  My gut reaction is to say, “fuck if I know”, but that doesn’t really make for a compelling answer, does it?

I spent a lot of high school in my head.  It’s kind of a lonely place, in your head.  I just thought a lot.  I listened to music a lot.  I watched a lot.  I didn’t speak a lot.  As a result, lots of people called me stuck-up and rude (which is really helpful and totally awesome).  Others called me shy.  I was just nervous.  Though “just nervous” doesn’t really cover it.  I worried about everything and anything.  I was nervous about getting bad grades, about writing papers, about what people would think of my clothes.  Turns out I have a pretty severe anxiety disorder that was WAY out of control.  In a sense, I was paralyzed by fear.  My nerves kept me from doing anything.  And the truth is, I just accepted that and decided that I didn’t WANT to do anything.  I didn’t really want friends.  I didn’t really want to have fun.  As a result, I never snuck out to meet a boy, I never took my parent’s car for a joy ride, and I never got drunk in the bathroom at prom (though I can totally name names).  I just kept my head down and my mouth shut.

I was always defined by my relationship to others.  I was “that girl’s friend” or “that guy’s prom date”, or “that really awesome kid’s sister”.  (I’m still “that awesome kid’s sister”, but I’m okay with that).  I was never really “Ally”.  Because of this, it’s hard to say who I was in high school.

This also meant that I didn’t participate in anything.

I never played sports, because competition mixed with physical exertion scared the shit out of me (still does).  I remember going to my counselor my freshmen year and asking to be excused from Freshmen Fitness (HELL ON EARTH).  It was required for all students, but I was so freaked out by it that I went and asked if I could get out of it.  My counselor asked me why this class made me nervous.  I said I didn’t really know.  Then she asked if my parents were divorced.  I said no and she just sort of shrugged and let me take another class instead.  So, I guess the lesson is that your parent’s marital status influences your athleticism?  Or your anxiety around team sports?  I never found out, but my parents are divorced NOW, so who the hell knows what THAT means for my future in physical education.

(Not that I’ve put a lot of hopes and dreams into PE or anything, but now I feel like I don’t even have the OPTION.)

(Just another thing I can blame my parents for.)

I’m not good at art, either.  Most kids like me are able to find a niche in high school by painting or drawing or building sets for the school play.  Not me.  My drawing skills have not improved since I was 4, and the only painting I truly enjoy (or am good at) is the kind you do with your fingers on a table your mom covered in newspaper.

I dropped out of band and color guard (you know, those girls who twirl flags).  See?!  I was so much of an outcast that I didn’t even fit in with the band kids.

I once went to a meeting for the Amnesty International Club, but that was because a cute boy named Mike was going… and he just went for the free pizza, so that didn’t really last.

(But stalking the cute boy TOTALLY PAID OFF.  It’s the best thing I did in high school…)

Needless to say, high school was a bit depressing (except for said cute boy).  Weren’t these supposed to be the “best days of my life”?  Someone once asked one of my favorite teachers that, and he said “hell no… I promise, life gets better than this.”

And I gotta say, that made me feel a whole lot better.

And he was totally right.