The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Do you still love me despite my...?

“Do you still love me despite my […insert perceived undesirable body part(s)…]?”

“What’s that, oh love of my life?”

“How can you still love me with my […insert perceived undesirable body part(s)…]?”

Actually I heard her the first time, but was attempting to give myself time to think. An array of possible strategies need to be formulated, considered, worked through and accepted or rejected before replying. And all within a fraction of a second.

Any delay in answering is going to be taken to confirm that the […insert body part(s)…] is/are* […insert undesirable characteristic(s)…] and therefore you no longer love her, indeed have probably never loved her and your entire 16½ years of relationship have been nothing more than an empty sham.

Of course a straightforward answer is completely out of the question. Consider:

“No, I…” You won’t get any further with this line of thought because your genitals will have been removed in a sudden and violent reaction.

Alternatively:

“Yes, I still love you…” will only elicit the response:

“Oh, so my […insert body part(s)…] is/are* […insert undesirable characteristic(s)…]!” resulting in an angry and/or* insecure partner on your hands.

“What’s wrong with your […insert body part(s)…]?” might give you a few moments extra thinking time, but is a delaying tactic only. After the […insert body part(s)…] has/have* had its/their* […insert undesirable characteristic(s)…] reiterated and exaggerated further, you will still be expected to announce your verdict.

“I love you BECAUSE of your […insert perceived undesirable body part(s)…]” is a dangerous route to take unless you are particularly adept at verbal gymnastics. It is not recommended for the amateur, or for certain times of the month.

Feigning a sudden migraine/cramps/heart attack* is an emergency response and can only ever be used once in your relationship. If you used it up in your first year together, any attempt to repeat the tactic, even if it is 16½ years later, will be met with cold suspicion, even if you are genuinely suffering a sudden migraine/cramps/heart attack*.

“Oh for goodness sake, woman. Haven’t you realised yet that after 16½ years together I love you for being you? Your body is a part of who you are, no matter what size, shape or quality it has.” On the face of it, this appears to be quite a good answer, but don’t be fooled: your astute partner will still pick up on the fact that you didn’t actually deny that her […insert body part(s)…] does/do* have […insert undesirable characteristic(s)…].

So what possible answer can you give to such a question other than diving out of the nearest window and running up the road as fast as you can, making sure you never look back?

My tried, tested and patent pending response to this most destructive of apparently casual questions, is “Do you know why your […insert body part(s)…] is/are* so special to me?” and then proceed to relate a memory of a shared event or experience, where the […insert body part(s)…] took centre stage. Then again, this should probably only be attempted after at least 10 years of being together, by which time you should have built up a backlog of such incidences.

This morning, however, I discovered one more answer, which seemed to get me off the hook:

“Ha! That gives me an idea for an excellent blog entry!”


*delete as appropriate

43 comments

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Wow. Great answer. I'm going to have to remember this. At least I hope I'll have to remember this ;)

I'd have gone with the "I love you BECAUSE of your [insert perceived undesirable body part(s)]," and had a go at some verbal gymnastics. Probably a stupid choice, but it sounds like such a great challenge and good practice for improv. It'd probably make for a good story as well :D

Christina said...

Oh so smart. I will have Bookie read this :-) He will get a kick out of it!

Z said...

If I was very lucky, I'd get "You look fine. What's the problem?" But he'd probably just chuckle and evade the question, so I don't ask it.

I think my dream answer would be "What, these [...insert body parts...]?"
Aforementioned body parts grabbed and soundly kissed, tickled and generally dribbled over, in the nicest possible way
"I adore these [...insert body parts...], just as I adore the rest of you."

Ain't never going to happen in my house though!

Mary Witzl said...

This cracked me up. We do make things hard on the people around us, I suppose.

Nowadays, I don't bother to call attention to the offending body parts. I notice them with irritation and occasionally voice my frustration that things are not what they used to be, but I accept that there is no graceful way out of this for one's mate. And my husband does this to me, too. When I tell him that he needs new clothes his response tends to be that he needs to lose weight first. This is true, but how can I possibly answer?

As for the 'Hey, this'd make a great blog!' comment, I've made quite a few of those ever since I started my blog, and it's amazing how civilized everyone around me has become all of a sudden. Might there be a connection, I wonder?

Julie said...

I used to ask questions like that and found that I always had some kind of issue with the answer. It's kind of like asking the age old "Does this make me look fat?" It's impossible to answer without having it misinterpreted. Lovely entry.

ORION said...

Kanani pointed me in your direction. I enjoyed this immensely.
Re: body parts:
DH feigns deafness put hands over ears and goes, "la la la la la."

Jeff said...

Kim

We will all need to keep this blog entry handy for quick reference.

Charlie said...

Very, very clever, Crusty.

ADW said...

Ha! I'll have Hooters Man read this post. You're right about my last rant, I need to warn people that my blog is NC-17.

I still love ya!

savannah said...

very good, sir! and after only 16.5 years..you're quick! ;)

Eryl Shields said...

I've learnt not to ask such questions because I always get a lecture about body dismorphia, eating disorders and the futility of comparing myself to the models in magazines. Even though I haven't compared myself to anyone since about nineteen-eighty which is when the lecture got it's first airing. It has been refined over the years but is much the same as it was all those years ago and it has worn me down: I never, ever want to hear it again.

Kim Ayres said...

FLG - To be honest, I can't imagine anyone other than El Guapo managing to pull off the BECAUSE option

Christina - :)

Z - given that most men freeze like a rabbit in the headlights with this question, maybe he needs a bit of encouragement

Mary - I'm beginning to worry that my entire life is just becoming a series of blog entries...

Julie - It's true, it's just another variation on "does my bum look big in this?"

Orion - welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to comment!

Jeff - print it up and keep it on the bedside table at the ready.

Charlie - I'll accept your compliment with a nod, a half smile and an unspoken understanding...

ADW - The more adult the rating, the more visitors you'll attract :)

Savannah - I pride myself on being a fast learner!

Eryl - so what is it about your internal narrative that says you are unworthy of being loved for who you are?

Carole said...

You know why I like your nose hairs? Ever since I have known you, your intelligence, bubbly personality, and artistic ability, have so overshadowed me, that I am thankful there is one thing that you are not perfect in.

It is true that there is no easy way to answer that question, on the other hand the mental gymnastics you have to go through help keep your mind sharp.

PI said...

Attack can often be the best form of defence:
'How can you possibly doubt that my love is eternal come rain or shine and has little to do with the extraneous details - delightful though they are. Really love I'm just a little bit hurt.'
a few blinks and sniffs.
Gotta go the apiarist is cometh!

quinn said...

I have saved my hubby the misery of those questions...we have an understanding I think..I don't ask him and he doesn't ask me LOL..just did 20 years ..

eg (scotland) said...

I can't believe you survived when you said it provided food for a blog! That must be worse than any of the other choice of answers - surely.

I'm not sure you can actually win in such a situation though.

EG

Mauzy said...

heck I just want BigDawg's input on a new hair style idea and can't get one...now I know why!

I see a new book...

How Husbands with Children with Down syndrome Keep the Mommas Happy

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - you mean my nose hairs are not perfect? I always figured they lent me a certain air of mature distinction...

Pat - I've tried that, but the fact that I still haven't answered the original question gets noticed

Quinn - you never ask? Never? Wow...

EG - Maggie's used to me suddenly scrambling around for a pen and paper to scribble down a blog idea these days.

Mauzy - Don't worry, if Jeff's come back to check the comments he should have a printed off copy of the right response sitting on the bedside table at the ready :)

BStrong said...

Oh hell. When I'm put in that position I freeze up and look like a deer in headlights thinking "Run Forest Run".

You handled it magnificently. However, if I answered the way you did she would see right through it knowing that I was full of shit.

Stupid is as stupid does...........

Kav said...

I like your new categorisations Kim. Does that mean I have something in common with the other bloggers in the Mug of Coffee section?

Kim Ayres said...

BStrong - I think you'd be surprised - it works well (not so much the blog entry bit though)

Kav - The first to notice - congratulations - you win the option to move to whichever category you prefer.

As for what you might have in common, that gets much harder to explain if I try and say it out loud, especially as I bounced you through 2 or 3 different categories before I settled you in the Mug of Coffee. It makes sense in my own head, which is all that realy matters here.

PI said...

Bless you my child for hot chocolate and cream!

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Hey, I like the new banner. Very cool.

Kanani said...

This works:

WHAT'S THAT YOU SAY?
I can't hear you right now. I'm GRINDING COFFEE!!!

quinn said...

Hi, kim...lol nope..Never do.

BStrong said...

Hey, very cool. I just noticed the new banner look at the top of your blog.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - Somehow it seemed to fit you best

FLG - thank you

Kanani - Not so easy to use when you're lying in bed, but I like your style :)

Quinn - then it's about time you should!

Bstrong - thank you

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Maybe the best solution is simply to insert body part. Speaks volumes and shows how attractive you still find her.

justin barker said...

Or you could just deny the presupposition that
"Your […insert body part(s)…] isn't/aren't […insert undesirable characteristic(s)…]" Afterwards, one must immediately blame society for a perverse view of attractiveness. This causes your partner to forget for a moment that you disagreed with him/her. Though, problem-child-bride's answer is probably the most practical.

justin barker said...

don't bother mentioning the double negative. It's only a problem for people who have a perverse view of grammar.

The Hangar Queen said...

I think she was just stunned for a few minutes by your Blog Fodder reply.
Bravo Sir!A brilliant move and one I hope to use myself at some point in the future.

The Hangar Queen said...

Oooh.I'm in Tea and Biccies.How perfect.

Kim Ayres said...

Sam - I tried doing that once, but they booted us out of the cafe...

Justin - I think I understood what you meant, but we should be in the clear over the double negative as it's been a while since Foot Eater commented here.

Hangar Queen - When recategorising the sidebar, I had to think about where to put each and every link. Some were immediately obvious while others required some serious pondering. I must admit though, I thought Tea & Biscuits would appeal to you the most.

justin barker said...

Actually, it was just a mistake made by chopping out the transition between two sentences, and deny (in my mind) cancels out any following negatives. One can't deny that one didn't do something for that would be affirming that one did. I am still working on BC BTW. I'm just slow.

Kim Ayres said...

Of course, as you're someone who teaches English I can see why this is nagging you

Mine is a Gin said...

Fast thinking! The only thing is I'd imagine it's a one-use card. Having one's [insert perceived undesirable body part(s)] written about in more than one blog entry would surely bring on more feelings of paranoia.
I only speak for myself as an ex-"I feel fat. Do you think I've put on some weight?" sort of person. Crikey, it's like laying an elephant trap isn't it? ;-)

jenni said...

hmmm.. I wonder how many times you can use that answer...

Kim Ayres said...

Mine is a Gin - true. This one was a one off, I think :)

Jenni - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment :)

Jen said...

Kim, I hate to burst your bubble, but women are on to the whole "what did you say, dear?" stalling-for-time trick. There's no way all of you guys are that hard of hearing.

Kim Ayres said...

Not sure about that, Jen. Half the time Maggie says something out of the blue I'm engrossed in something else so don't necessarily catch what she said first time

Nicole said...

The best part is that you THINK! :) Before answering. ha ha ha

Ruth said...

okay Kim! what a marvelous giggle that I needed tonight! I think if I ask a similar question your "standard" answer is awfully close to exactly what I want to hear...

Kim Ayres said...

Ruth - it's one of the trickiest of all questions for any man to answer, and I've never figured out why women insist on putting us through it...

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