Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pop Quiz! The correct answer

a) Incorrect. There are very few men who can get away with answering yes to this question and they have names like Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, and with the exception of Mr Smith none are like to find themselves in the scenario envisaged. Unless you can nip into the spare room, get out the sewing machine and whip up a little couture number for your beloved which will correct the appearance of fatness, leave this one alone

b) Incorrect. On the face of it, a bald no might be seen as get out of jail free card but most women will see through this obvious ploy. A No can be pulled off if, through a great deal of practise, the Man gives the Woman a studied and authoritative gaze, as if he is making a finely-judged assessment a. But she'll still feel like she's being looked up and down like a sow at the fair. She does not want you to have to look her all over, she wants the answer to be obvious.

c) Absolutely incorrect. This answer will quickly be decoded for its true meaning: 'Listen, chubbychops, we all know you look like the back of a barn and no-one at the party but me could possibly fancy you, so let's get a move on.'

d) Correct. Notice what happens in this brief response. In part A of the sentence the Man gives the Woman what she was actually after, an instant reward for all her labours in the bedroom, Wow. But notice Part B where, before the Woman can begin to ask supplementaries, he adroitly changes the subject, putting HER on the defensive. At this point the Woman will point to her wristwatch and say, 'Never mind that, will you just put that silly book away and get your coat on, or we'll be late.

After utilising this simple gambit two or three times, the question will cease to be asked.

This may on the surface seem to be an aid to men in their war against we sisters, but actually, I think that asking a man if you look fat is a hiding to nothing because you will never get an honest answer, and if you did, would you actually want it? Best to have gone to a really good shop to buy the dress in the first place, where they will not have let you leave with a party dress that makes you look fat.


California Dreamer said...

The other advantage, of course, to the correct answer is the implication that the dress looks expensive. While the actual cost of the garment may be a bone of contention at home, in public a woman wants her clothing to look like she spent some money, even if she didn't.

Arabella said...

D would rarely work for me, anyway: after emerging from a fragrant boudoir having spent the day picking over the belongings of the recently dead (estate sales, don't worry), my response, afer the "wow!" is almost always - "Five bucks! I know! Isn't is fab?!"

Kelly said...

It's such a delicate situation. For the most part, I appreciate it when my boyfriends (never more than one at a time, mind you) have given me honest responses. I guess I figure, if he's with me, he already thinks I'm beautiful so a bad haircut or dress isn't going to fool him into thinking I'm ugly. So I want him to tell me if it's the least flattering because he knows me the best. I think my mom has the same mindset - she runs purchases by my dad before she takes the tag off, and he is honest with her about what he thinks. And she appreciates that he keeps her from leaving the house looking less than her best.

The only time I've had a problem with a boyfriend telling me my outfit wasn't flattering is when I specifically didn't ask him and he disregarded my telling him I didn't want his opinion, or he would criticize some part of my personality along with my choice of dress. But if someone says "You have so many dresses that make you look fabulous, maybe you should wear one of those instead" I appreciate the honesty.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I was correct.

My reasoning was along the california dreamer line.

But, it's funny -- I don't think I've ever asked.

I suppose there are advantages to being a bit of a weirdo who's only gone out with weirdos!

I assume he just assumed anything unflattering was intentional?

-- desertwind

Lindsay said...

The impact of a stunning outfit is of course greatly enhanced if the question is not asked at all, the most urgent question of all being, can I bear not to disturb the apparent obliviousness of this man? I'm not sure about the tired adage that obvious confidence is always attractive - but personally, I find insoucience very alluring.

Rollergirl said...

Do women really ask this? Can't they tell for themselves if they look good or bad in an outfit? I never ask my boyfriend how I look, I just get dressed and I'm ready. if he doesn't like it then tough titty!