Rules for a successful

October 03, 2003

Rules for a successful relationship

J is trying on clothes. I am working on class prep and commenting on her new purchases. As I do so, I am once again reminded of three basic rules for maintaining a successful relationship:

  1. She is always beautiful
  2. Some clothing accentuates that beauty; some clothing disguises it.
  3. If you can truthfully tell her that something looks terrible, she will believe you when you later tell her that something looks good.

It has become a cliche. Woody at /gu comics has turned it into a running joke. And yet, it is a joke because it is true: women are more likely than men to seek fashion advice, and women are more likely than men to measure their self worth by what people think of their outward appearance. Most of us have figured out the difference between "Does this make me look fat?" and "How does this look on me?" The first is a call for reassurance, the second is a question that needs a practical answer.

The trick, for a guy, is to always provide both answers, if only because it is too easy to hear the second question when she has asked the first question. So work on variations on: "The color on that is wonderful with your skin, but it is pulling a little at the hips" or "You have such a beautiful neck, why not wear something that focuses attention on it?"

If she thinks you are feeding her a line, she will get even crankier than if you said something bad straight out. This can be dangerous, which is where the third rule comes in handy. If you can truthfully tell her that something looks hideous on her and do so in memorable language, she will remember it. Oddly enough, being critical once or twice buys you almost endless credibility as you tell her she is beautiful. Of course, even when you are critical you should remember to say bad things about the clothing, not about the woman. I am still reaping the benefits of the night eight or nine years ago when I told her that the new cheap stirrup pants she bought made her look like she had crapped her pants and was walking around with a load in her drawers. (They did, they were a really cheesy pair of pants.) I, of course, followed up by adding that she has beautiful legs and that it was a shame that the droopy-drawered pants were disguising the wonderful line of her hamstrings.

Of course, mixing a critique of the clothes with praise of the lady requires that you learn something about the way your honey looks and about the way your honey thinks about her appearance. J has magnificent legs - long and shapely with well defined hamstrings. Rowrr. She has a short torso and does not look good in clothing that emphasizes the midriff and hips; not surprisingly she does not like to show her belly even when she has been working out and has a firm flexible torso. Starting with these basic traits I can usually say something that is both flattering and useful.

If you can make the combination work, you get the benefit of pleasing her ego while steering her towards the sorts of clothing that you like to admire on her. These are both very nice rewards.

Whoops. She is done with the fashion show, and I should put this away and go back to work.

And so to prep more classes.

Posted by Red Ted at October 3, 2003 10:20 AM | TrackBack