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I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have gained weight since I got married, and so has my husband. We still take care of ourselves, but we're not as slim as we should be. I still shower, shave, do hair, do make-up, use perfume, but I am overweight. Does that mean I have let myself go? I don't thinks so. I think it is a sign that life is hard, and sometimes food makes you feel better. I don't feel like I owe it to my husband to still be a size 7 just because I was that size when we got married.

I think what happened was this: MIM wrote a post about her opinion on marriage and appearances, based on her personal experience. My own conclusions on the subject are somewhat different, and I wrote a related post. And then you did, and then dozens and dozens of commenters all put in their two cents -- again, based on their own personal experiences.

So I think there are no "right" answers to any of this -- there are millions of right and wrong answers, based on millions of individual women`s experiences. One woman`s "right" answer is another woman`s "dead wrong" answer.

In the end, nobody can speak for anybody but themselves.

I think you are correct to frame this whole discussion in terms of "taking care of oneself" instead of just making it about weight.

Food consumption (or weight), just like alcohol or gambling or lots of other stuff isn't about the food or alcohol or other stuff as much as it is about what we humans do with them.

If my spouse maintained her size, but stopped taking care of her hair, I'd feel like I should ask her about it. "Are you doing okay? You seem, I don't know, kind of lost recently... you used to do such great things with your hair and now it looks like you went after it with a hand blender or something."

If my spouse had food/weight issues in the past (which are usually about control, not weight gain) and suddenly became obsessed again with the topic, I'd ask NOT ABOUT THE WEIGHT but about how in control they felt and if there was anything they needed from me to help them feel more on top of their game.

But because we've all bought into the image of the size 4 (or smaller) woman being the ideal, we get to ignore what the issues of food/size really mean.

I am a skinny person. I may never see size 4 again (I'm 5'1" so size 4 was just the size I was as a dancer and pre-babies). But its a fashionably current to say that this is the "right/prettiest/best" size. My grandmother (same build as me) was prescribed milkshakes to drink in the 1920's before bed so she could gain enough weight to be attractive.

Go figure.

Kel

I actually asked my husband about this last night. He says the true "false advertising" lies in the fact women "put out more" (his words, not mine) before they're married, and then once the ring goes on, the headaches begin. Men get married thinking they are going to get some every night, and then have to wake up to the hard reality of a few times a week. Ahh, it is tough to be a man.

I've been following the debate - I guess what bothers me is the idea of "advertising" for marriage. Advertising for a date, okay.

But once people are getting /married/ they are not buying a car! They are agreeing to go through the unknown together - illness, infertility, periods of being an asshole, death, monsoons, whatever.

So for me the question is "How do we handle it if one of us perceives that someone is not treating themselves respectfully - together" and not "s/he should treat themselves the way I think they should."

Marriage is not, IMHO, a deal, or a business transaction. Wives are not products. Nor are husbands.

hmmm, I thought I knew my hubbie's opinion but now I am second guessing myself. Give me a second to call him...
he said "yes, false advertising".
I said "but wait a second, you went to the gym when we started dating and haven't been back since the first year we dated".
To which he replied "did you keep your reciept?"

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Somebody pass me the ice cream scoop.

Hi Tertia,

I think it is more fair to frame this in terms of taking care of one's self instead of weight, thank you. And I also think that you have a lovely group of commenters here-- love what they have said about this issue. It's funny because I work at home now, and because I run with my neighbor daily, I hang out in sweats and a ponytail, no makeup all day. I do dress up now when my husband and I go out, and I think he appreciates that-- but when I apologize to him for my appearance the rest of the time, he shrugs and laughs and says, "You know, I didn't really notice." I think it's the same way for me-- I don't often notice whether he is wearing glasses or contacts, and I find him sexy with bedhead and bathrobe, but also think he is cute dressed for work.

There are so many ways we can take care of ourselves, and our spouses, the least of which being consideration of each other, respect, and probably regular daily hygiene (last bit tongue in cheek).

Tertia, I replied more eloquently on my page, but basically, I think most guys get far more than what they expected when they entered into the contract of marriage.
Also, men don't really care to stand around discussing kilojoules or dress sizes. Or if they do, they probably have a collection of Streisand dvds hidden under their beds.
Men don't discuss it for this (among other) reason (s): If you say your wife is perfect, she'll take it the wrong way, say she is too fat- well- you may as well tie yourself up in a burlap sack and throw yourself off a bridge. *Tip to men: never date/marry a woman who can fashion a weapon out of a cooking utensil.

You know, I actually find the fat issue WAY more offensive when couched in the language of "taking pride in one's appearance."

Is the correlation supposed to be that only thin people take pride in their appearance, and that fat people are only fat because they're lazy and don't care how they look?

I'll say it again: I married a great big fat guy. He DOES, however, take pride in his appearance. He picks shirts in flattering colors, takes pains to find the right cut of jeans, and likes his hair and beard to be neatly maintained and clean.

He's fat because he likes really fattening food and hates exercising. He's fat because he likes food more than he likes being skinny. He's just fat--he's not some slatternly dirty person because of it.

Being fat does NOT mean you do not take pride in your appearance.

Still love you, Tertia.

Yes yes! I was trying to say that, albeit it v badly.

When I said "Whether you are 100 pounds or 300 pounds (am v bad at the conversions!), you can be beautiful, attractive etc. The issue about not taking pride in oneself was directed at people of all shapes and sizes." I meant that it applied to thin people, fat people, not so fat people, not so thin people, whatever. It is about not caring, rather than any shape or weight.

Argh! Wishing I had never got invovled!

Smooch

xx

So, here's a different way of looking at it. I was at a BMI of 29 when my husband asked me to marry him. (That's overweight, almost obese. I don't know if you guys use BMI in South Africa.) Four years and one baby later, I am exactly the same weight. Is it false advertising if one of these diets I keep going on actually works and I lose 50 pounds and keep it off? I doubt anyone would look at it that way.

Or how about this: since I've known my husband I've been on countless diets. Everytime I stop actively starving myself, I quickly come back to this exact weight and stay there. After my pregnancy, I came back to this weight within weeks. I think it's pretty evident that my body is very "set" at this weight and I have to devote all my energy and concentration to changing it. After having my baby, I have a new respect for my body and what it can do, so I've decided to stop with the insane dieting. The result is I'm still the same weight. Is it false advertising that I no longer try so hard to lose weight?

My problem with this whole "false advertising" debate is that it's really code for "is it okay for a woman to accept that she is fat?" (And, let's be truthful, it always starts about being about a woman. Sure, someone will always throw out "But men need to keep themselves up too!" like it makes it fair, but it's not. Mostly, people think about women in terms of looks.) In my case, even though I started out fat, and despite all my efforts during my single years stayed exactly the same fatness, I think a lot of people would say that my decision to accept my body and stop dieting is "letting myself go." Because people are more forgiving when the fat woman is obviously trying to do something about it, but they are very judgemental when she decides to have dessert.

But if I actually ever did become thinner, I doubt anyone would think it was false advertising. In fact, they would probably think that my husband got lucky with a great investment. Sorry, but I'm a person, not a possession.

So I just called DH and told him I needed to interview him for a blog I was reading that wanted us to ask our hubbies a question. I could hear him roll his eyes over the phone. @@ I asked him if it would be considered "false advertising" if you put on a significant amount of weight (and I used 40-50 lbs. as an example) shortly after the wedding. His answer,

"Well, yeah, but so is dating."

His premise that pretty much all of dating is somewhat false advertising as everyone is putting their best foot forward during that phase of a relationship. Not that we're maliciously planning to do away with all our good habits and looks the minute the preacher says, "I now pronounce you life partners until someone decides otherwise", but that it's human nature to present the best side of yourself when you're in the "attracting a mate" phase of your life vs. the "if you would just PICK UP your stinking socks and put them in the hamper, I'd wash them!" phase of your life.

I think you prejudice things with the terminology 'let yourself go.' That's BS. It implies that one always has something to do with it. It implies a lot of negativity that I don't think is appropriate.

If I had not had to torture my body for years with lupron and provera shots for endometriosis (they made my small-ish pear shape into a large apple) or if I had not needed other medications notorious for putting on weight, then I would be harder on myself right now. As it is, I weigh 80 pounds too much b/c of medical factors beyond my control.

My ex husband dared to think I let myself go! Hell, I had no f'in choice in the matter. I've lost 30ish pounds 3 or 4 times now in my life, but each time was followed by another medication that packed the pounds back on. Some of us have sensitive appetite centers; we do not choose to eat, we are biochemically compelled to eat.

One med, with the well known reputation for putting on 30lbs each time you're on it, was prescribed to me 2 different times over a couple years. Yup, I got 60 lbs total from one f'in med. It puts on pounds 3 ways: it makes one crave food; it makes one crave sweets; and it lowers metabolism.

Taking a medicine to help me is by definition not 'letting myself go.' When you're desperate to find a med to work, side effects like weight gain are not your primary concern - for me, the primary concern was to get some blessed sleep. Well, if someone wants to judge my fat ass, like my shallow ex husband did, let 'em. I am probably well rested enough now to let them slide out of their own ignorance.

In this process, no where did I let myself go. My body failed and I needed meds. I do not believe, however, that I should have to exercise five times as hard as anyone else or watch every thing I put in my mouth more closely, b/c I was cursed enough to be on meds that changed my body shape. I eat what I want. I am not bad about it. I was never particularly bad about it, but my over sensitive appetite center was in control. It's not fair that I should lose 80 pounds. It's also not fair that I had the medical conditions (now to include hypothyroidism) to put the pounds on.

For better and for worse - that's what my marriage vows said. Heck, over our 15+ yr marriage, he put on 40+ pounds from just plain recreational eating, no other excuses, but obviously that's okay in this male-eyed world. I hate when women fall for that crap, too.

I'm glad you post about controversial topics like this one, Teria. Your blog yesterday did make me realize something: I was running up to 16 or 18 miles in a day ten years ago because I wanted to be very thin. I knew that was what my then-boyfriend, now-husband wanted: not just a thin wife, but a strong, fit one who could keep up with him on long hikes or runs.

And it worked, at the time. I was very slim and fit.

But I've realized that all that running probably caused the freakishly early-onset arthritis in my hips. As a result of that arthritis I can now sometimes hardly walk.

You know, it has only now dawned on me how my health truly has been devastated by the pressure on women to be thin. If I had been allowed to accept myself at my natural weight (a little pudgier than the ideal), I wouldn't have pushed myself so hard with all that running.

And I would have hip joints that functioned properly today, instead of the hips of an eighty year old.

And it would still be feasible for me to exercise normally today, and I would retain all the emotional, mental, and health benefits that come with regular exercise.

And I would be better able to manage my weight today.

Gah. I miss being thin and fit so, so, so badly. Running to me is the ultimate, glamorous, sexy, appealing activity. I look at runners on the streets and I sometimes have to look away, the envy I feel is so acute. A sleek runner, with a great stride and great endurance, to me is almost godlike. (OK, I know, this seems silly to you all, but what can I say? Running made me feel invincible and beautiful -- at least, when I wasn't in agony because of hyponutremia or stress fractures.) And I loved the way people would exclaim, "How can you worry about your weight? You're SO THIN!"

Anyway -- this isn't just your average IF blog any more, is it?

//Sorry, but I'm a person, not a possession.//

ay-frigging-men.

Your husband really won't watch HIS OWN children for a couple of hours while you go out to lunch with your friends? Excuse me, but that's bullshit. Those are HIS CHILDREN. Marko needs to grow up.

I asked my husband last night and he thought the idea was ridiculous. People change. He married me, not anything I was "advertising." (In the interests of full disclosure my husband struggles with being overweight and I am naturally slender. I think that experience makes him more sensitive. Also he is best husband ever.)

My recent conversation with DH:
(scene: I'm standing looking at the profile of my body in the mirror)
Me: I think I want to get a tummy tuck
DH: (overly excited) OK!
Me: ........ I think they cost around $10,000...
DH: That's OK, I'm sure we can come up with it!

Asshole. He could have at least pretended like he loves me the way I am, but if I wanted the the tummy tuck, well ok then. Asshole.

That's all I'm sayin'.

I don’t like the implication that when women get married they decide to “let themselves go”. I seriously doubt that when a woman wakes up the day after her wedding she thinks “Ha! Got him! Now let me shove these Ring Dings in my mouth”. I also don’t think it’s fair to assume that when a woman gains weight she has “let themselves go”. I asked my husband what he thinks and he just shook his head. He loves me for me. He tells me everyday that he thinks I’m beautiful even though I don’t believe it. He married me fat and has supported me through all my (continuing) weight loss adventures. He doesn't expect me to lose weight but knows I would be happier if I did. He would never expect me to look a certain way to please him. When I talk about changing my hair style/color/length he says whatever makes me happy. He prefers me without make-up. He could care less if I was wearing jeans or a dress. I love that I can be me with him and not have to use make-up/clothes/jewelry or a tiny waist to get his love.

I already reported my husband's opinion in the comments on the previous post, so I won't repeat it - but I did want to say this is one of the most fascinating (and, for the most part, amazingly civil) discussions I've seen in the blogosphere in a long time, so thanks Tertia, and everyone involved. This is so cool!

Thanks for sharing Scott's opinion. He was a breath of fresh air on this topic.

My soon to be DH has known me since I was a child, so I don't think that my weight/attitude/hairstyle/etc has been or in any would could have been designed to "falsely advertise" myself to him. I think that there is the underlying issue of many men who are disappointed when they get married and realize that the woman they married is flesh and blood. She shits, farts, eats, belches, can have up moods and down, changes her mind, changes her hair, changes her life. So do men. All human beings change, some can change from athletes to invalids, some can change from svelte to plush, some can change from nice to harpy. I know I am not the same person I was at 16, nor 25, nor 30. I know that my relationship with my fiancee would not have worked out had we become more than friends at 20 instead of at 30. At 30 I was a very different person than I had ever been, physically, mentally, emotionally, yet our friendship formed the basis for an awesome romantic relationship. Any truly sturdy relationship based on trust, love, respect should be able to weather the ups and downs of weight and hairstyle. If you are gaining weight simply because of depression, the issue isn't the weight gain, it's the depression. Deal with the depression and forget about the weight. If you're losing weight because you want to fit into some societal view of beauty, or think it's required by your mate, rethink, learn to love yourself as you are, accept the body you've been given and all the amazing things it can do. Treat your body well, eat well, move well, live well and enjoy yourself. That to me is much more important than a perfect body or hairstyle or makeup. There is no perfection in life, striving for the unattainable is just doomed for failure.
Long, rambling but how I feel.

I've been following this topic all around the 'blogs you linked to yesterday and again this morning. Great reading, very thought provoking. Thanks for the heads up :)

I asked my husband about the notion of false advertising last night as we got into bed. And he answered, very seriously, that he thought marriage was about more than that...vowing to love someone for the rest of your life didn't include any disclaimers. He then added that he would tell me if he thought my weight was unhealthy...but that right now, at 28 weeks pregnant with our second child - our fourth pregnancy in 5 years - it seemed a pretty inappropriate conversation right now.

He went on to say that at my teeny-tiniest and my largest, he was always in love with me and always wanted to "do me"...that he wanted me to be healthy, and happy with who I am.

Gosh, I really love him :)

My DH and I are both on the warpath to lose some poundage. I love him. He loves me. But, we know we can take better care of ourselves since NOT taking care of ourselves is what got us to this point, so that's what we're doing.

Our vows state - for better or for worse - and hopefully we've seen the worse. It is time for the better.

I asked DH for his opinion here it is his words my typing.

WTF are you crazy woman! but if you really want to know the answer is no, false advertising is being all nice and sweet having hot and heavy sex every night and then turning into a frigid bitch after the wedding. ya know that car we bought 5 years ago how good it looked felt and smelt? well do you really think I expect it to look feel and smell the same way today? sure it's in good nick but it aint the same car at all. now wheres me dinner wench.

**so there you have it my very PC other halfs opinion I figure so long as I make dinner he wont care if I lose that new car smell :P

Hey T, I know you love Marko dearly, and I know you've posted that his caveman ways work for you, and that's great. But man, if my DH refused to take OUR kids for awhile so I could go out for lunch? I'd be pissed!! It's not a big ask, and he is their parent. I'm wondering how he enjoys the kids...is it when you or Rose are around to help? Or is it a story before bed? Does he interact with them much? I remember my husband taking my daughter out in the backpack for 3 hours once a week so I could rest, then he came home and put her down for her nap. Because he's away a lot he treasures every minute alone with his kids. Shared family time is great, but there's something special about that one-on-one time (well, one-on-two now!). He is so proud of himself for being able to change nappies, do the bedtime routine, make a meal. He's proven to himself that he can be a very good hands-on Dad, and I'm not the only one with the "expertise".

And I also agree with another commentator that being overweight doesn't necessarily mean you've lost pride in yourself. One doesn't equal the other. There is more to pride than weight. Someone may gain weight for medical reasons, but take great pride in themselves. Someone may gain weight after a pg, and not have the support to lose it but may keep a clean house, brush her hair nicely and put on a bit of lip gloss. Others may show pride by undertaking a university course they thought they could never handle. There are a lotta ways.

It's lovely that the comments have been so thoughtful, and civil!

I have to laugh at him not taking the babies to bed. What was his reason again??? Oh ok nothing? They are way old enough for him to be able to put them down for a nap. I mean how many times has he watched you do that??? OK I know no one else commented on that but it irritates the poo out me when my hubby makes a statement about not knowing how to do something for babe or not feeling ok about it. I can do it...He can do it!!! I am sure it doesnt bother you but it just struck a familiar chord in me.

Ok I didnt read anyone elses posts now I see others agree with me. You need to go out alone! 14 months is way long enough and old enough for him to put them for a nap and hey if he makes a mistake its not like its going to kill them. My hubby was never close to babyG until I started making him do things for her. Now he feeds her, bathes her, does her hair, diapers, clothes, naps....everything! ITS WONDERFUL! He can do it just encourage him a little.

Ooh! a new issue! Yeah, I agree- when a husband looks after the children it is not 'babysitting', it is parenting.
I speak as one who also resisted, but now really values time alone with his children: I learn so much about them when I spend time with them.

Personally I think weighing a few pounds more than you originally did, but popping out two beautiful babes and quitting smoking, is far more admirable than fitting into those premarital jeans. Can Marko lay claim to either of those fantastic feats?!

Since when did parenting come with the option of not having the patience/energy/time? Tertia! Your husband IS the father of those children, he can manage. If he can't it is HIGH time he DID!

Hi Tertia,

Nice post!

Everyone, the only reason my post focused on weight is because we were discussing weight in my class. Weight can fall under the broader category of taking care of one's self. People can choose to exercise and eat right. That's taking care of yourself.

You are not doing that guy any favors by letting him off the parenting hook. One day he'll say "Hey. Why don't my kids share with me? Why won't they open up to me? Why don't I know what their lives are like?" And he will be sad about it. Maybe it feels like you are being nice and supportive by doing things he refuses to do, like care for them and put them to sleep. Maybe you feel like it's better that he not do these things because he'll do them "wrong". But unless he does these things and SOON, he will never get another chance. And I think it's sad for him and sad for the kids and if you have to force him to do these things it'll be like forcing him to go to the dentist. Much better in the long run.

I exercise and eat right and still weigh 40 pounds more than my ideal goal. I do take pride and joy in myself, and I resent EXTREMELY the suggestion that I've "let myself go" simply because I don't adhere to a particular standard of beauty.

Frances McDormand never dresses up for the Oscars, even though she certainly could, she has the resources and the money. Do we think then that she's not respecting herself, not taking care of her husband's need for her to be glamour-attractive? No, we think she's got her own standards and she holds herself to them.

I don't bend to fashion in any number of areas, including the area of my body. The idea that gaining weight, or even (gasp) not exercising enough to keep the chocolate from going to my hips, somehow indicates that I'm not taking care of myself, offends me more than words can say.

In point of fact, there are quite a few foods that taste MUCH better than being thin feels.

Uh, am I the only person who took the "Tertia/Marko" conversation much like one would take the "Tertia/Julie" conversations?

It seems to me it was a come on. It also was pretty friggin' funny.

Uh.. you're joking about your husband wanting nothing to do with raising his children, right? Please? If not, you have much larger problems that his concerns about "false advertising".

I asked my husband yesterday and he said, "What? No way, babe, it's about much more than looks", and then went back to watching basketball.
What can I say, I picked a good one!

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