My mission is to love people "from the inside out" and inspire others to do the same.

Real Men Love From the Inside Out

So my friend Lauren recently posted a link to an essay she'd written for a class. It was about a dress she originally got at 13 for a formal dance. The dress is a  cheongsam, "an Asian-style dress with a mandarin collar and three frog clasps below the left shoulder." She describes how it fit her when she first got it (the "you" in the essay is her):
The shining column accentuated your statuesque frame. Its capped sleeves showed off your slender arms. It was ankle-length, but had a slit on the left side that went three inches above your knee...It covered your breasts completely. Your father couldn't find a reason to disapprove.
At 18, she brought the dress along when she went to meet for the first time in person her self-described Internet boyfriend (who is now her husband, Sam). I love this sentence: "If things went well, if he wasn't a creep or a liar, you'd wear this dress, and you'd wrap him around your finger."

By now, the dress barely fit. Before, the dress was a stately sheath, and now, the way it hugged your pronounced curves was almost obscene. The slit threatened to ride up to your waist when you sat down in the restaurant.
That night, while they happened to be alone in an elevator, he rode his hand all the way up the slit while they held each other and kissed.

At 20, the dress didn't fit at all anymore, and she sold it "with great consternation." Sam asked if she remembered the night of the elevator ride, and she did. But--all reminiscing aside,
...slowly, mistrust and melancholy crept in...You told him you would probably never look like that again. You told him that he might be better off finding someone new. You believed, with every fiber of your Valley-forged soul, that men were primarily interested in one thing, and when you no longer had it, you could no longer wrap men around your little finger, and your relationships were doomed to fail. You were wrong. He said you were wrong, but you didn't believe it - not until you rebuilt the rest of your life and befriended men, real men, not snuffling canines. The chengosam is gone forever, but you don't really miss it. You have other dresses that you make look lovely, not the other way around. (emphases mine)
Did Sam enjoy the dress and Lauren in it? Clearly. But, good man that he is, his attraction did not stop there. Bravo,'re among my heroes.

And Lauren, I'm so glad too that you realize: It's you that makes the dress. True beauty really does shine from within!

Plus-Size Women Compared to Robots

Well, I thought I knew what I was going to write about for my next post...and then the following happened at work yesterday [Friday]. (For reasons that should be obvious, I'll refrain from mentioning the name of the company where this happened--though those who know me will figure it out easily enough, lol.)

So my company has an intranet, and on it they post a daily Photo of the Day. Often it's something from the corporate archive, or it can be one an employee took and submitted to the intranet staff. Anyway, employees can post responses to the photo, like we can to internal news stories, etc. On Fridays the photo is a "mystery" photo--something the intranet staff cannot identify--or, I suspect, pretends it cannot identify, just to see if the rest of us can figure it out. And, for better and for worse, the Friday mystery photo has become an occasion for much humor making (or, as you'll see, attempting).

Yesterday, the mystery photo of the day was the one you see to the right. It turns out that this is a coal pulverizer. (Fascinating, huh?) One of the responders, who apparently thought he was being funny, posted this "guess": "Bender's date last Thursday. He likes plus-size models too." Well, as a "plus-size" woman, you can imagine: I was not amused. And told him so in a response of my own. We ended up in a bit of an exchange, which follows:
Me: [So-and-so], As a "plus-size" woman, I don't find being compared to the above photo to be at all amusing. Perhaps I read too much into it, but I couldn't let this go unsaid."
 Him: Connie, along with Bender, i am also a fan. I appreciate many shapes. As far as how plus this "robot" is, i could not say, depends on robot scale, of which I am not an expert.
 Me: I'm not here to start a "war," but I feel like a true fan wouldn't compare us to hulking pieces of metal machinery in the first's degrading.

I just ask that next time you're about to generalize re: any category of people, just think a little more first how they *might* feel about what you're gonna say.
Him: I wasn't comparing it to a girl, i was comparing it to a robot, but yes, i know this is unwinnable.
Oh, so it's less degrading to be associated with robots?? I gave up at that point. In his mind, machinery and robots are somehow associated with plus-size women.

Does the association somehow go away for average or thin women?

Objectifying and stupid enough to broadcast his objectifying!  And can you say missing the point?!? He didn't even recognize that it was the association that I was really responding to.

(Then there's always the fact that he also broadcast Bender's preferences re: the opposite sex to the entire company. Gotta wonder how Bender feels about that.)

Talk about a big reminder of why I started this blog. Got my work cut out for me.

Now, before any of you give me that "Yeah, men are Neanderthals" business, don't even start. You know what that's called? An excuse. An excuse to succumb to the baser instincts of your nature. If that's you, ask yourself: Is that really the kind of man you want to be?

In an unrelated conversation this week, another coworker talked about a time when he considered the kind of son (in this case) he wanted to be--and started treating his mother better than he had in the past. His mother had been horrible to him and to his children, and for a long time he didn't speak to her. But, he said (and I paraphrase), "Rather than focusing on what the other person had done, I thought about what kind of person I wanted to be." And once he determined that standard and started acting toward it, their relationship improved. He concluded by saying, "Our behavior should not depend on other people." Wow.

So my challenge to you is this: Think about what kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be one who objectifies others? Who sickeningly degrades by associating a certain kind of person with inanimate objects? Or do you want to be the kind of person who treats others--all others--as unique, valuable, multi-dimensional people?

The choice is yours.
© Loving From the Inside Out

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