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!

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