Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's a Body Image Bonanza Over Here, Ya'll

After reading my last post, Geekhiker sent me an email with the following response:

"You totally mis-quoted me in your post. My point was not that it was "easy" for you. My point was that you can't dismiss those qualities as having been to your advantage. Would Mr. W have fallen for you, or gone out with you, if you looked like a 300 lb Hunchback of Notre Dame? Would you have fallen for him if that's what he looked like, and he melted in a gasping, sweaty puddle 100 feet into a hike?"

[He also went on to say that obviously other factors play a role (intelligence, education, etc.) and that the idea of manifestation may be only one small component. But I'm not tackling that part of the conversation right now...] 

In yesterday's post, I wasn't meaning to say that physical appearance had NO bearing whatsoever on one's dating life. The human race likes eye candy; most of our Presidents have been tall; studies show that attractive people fare better in interviews; etc. I know how things work in our society. BUT I still believe that if you accept your perceived shortcomings and learn to love yourself, you will discover there's someone out there who finds you just as lovable.

It's not about striving to nab a Ryan Gosling look-alike, it's about finding someone whose whole package fits with your whole package. (Yes, there are a dozen dirty jokes in that last sentence...)

So if Mr. W or I had been 300-pound hunchbacks, we may not have attracted each other, but if we were happy, confident hunchbacks, I believe 100% that we could have each attracted other mates who fit well with us. If we had moped around lamenting the fact that we were overweight and had bad scoliosis, I doubt anyone would have wanted to spend time with us. But I think a smile, eye contact and a good attitude go a long, long way.

The bottom line is, most of us are not hunchbacks. Most of us aren't growing our twin out of our face or have black, hairy moles covering 7/10 of our chins. Most of us have small hangups—some of which only we will ever notice. Most of us (as Mr. W mentioned in his comment on my last post) need to lighten up and have fun. And if we spent more time focusing on our cute dimples instead of our muffintops, we would probably feel more deserving of finding our matches and put out the kind of irresistible energy that attracts people to us.

Steve Buscemi, Paul Giamatti and Hillary Clinton are all married. None of them fit the stereotypical confines of what society thinks is attractive, but they all found love at some point in their lives. Could it be that they focused more on their talent, their smarts, their charisma?

I'm not saying you have to embrace every little thing about yourself and call it a miracle from heaven. It's ok to use Crest White Strips and wrinkle cream. It's okay to go to the gym to try to trim your thighs. But if you let all that stuff hold you back from how you think of yourself, ya might have some problems finding someone who wholly embraces you.

Geekhiker is completely right about one thing: If Mr. W had "melted in a gasping, sweaty puddle 100 feet into a hike," I probably would not have been attracted to him. But that's because hiking is a huge part of my life. In order to fully enjoy a relationship, I need someone who can share that with me. That's the kind of stuff that is more important to me than looks. 

Looks will fade over time. Hiking skills can last forever. Even when you're a hunchback.


  1. I don't see why people go gaga over Ryan Gosling. Ryan Reynolds? Now we're talking! =)

  2. Hillary Clinton is not attractive? I had to trip over that statement twice. I thought you had written "Bill Clinton" and I had to backtrack!

    I think Hillary is way more attractive than Bill.

    What was this post about again?

  3. I love this post!! I totally agree-looks only go so far then you focus on the what-what that doesn't get wrinkly with old age. :)

  4. I love how you write this as though you and dubbya don't have hunchbacks.

  5. Word, sister. When I wrote a series of about 10 million posts about weight loss and body image, the biggest point I tried to make--and the biggest thing I had to realize myself---was that we are meant for much more than defining ourselves and our existence by appearance. I think when you get that, and when you practice it with yourself daily, you open up to a whole new world of acceptance. How could others not be attracted to that in some way?


Well, whatdya think?