Thursday, March 5, 2009

On men, women and body image

A boy and a girl (or a boy and boy, or a girl and girl for that matter) like each other, they get together. And then you hear about the great effect they had on each other: “oh, have you seen how positive she is now?”, “yi, she gave him a sense of stability”.

I often hear about a girl that stopped smoking or a guy that resumed studying, thanks to the aura of their significant others.

How does that happen really? Does he tell her: “I want you to stop smoking”, does she tell him “I want you to start studying”… and they execute swiftly?

All this “nurturing each other”, and “getting the best out of each other” concept is praised by all....until he asks her to lose weight. In the same line as “I want you to stop smoking because it’s bad for your health”, he asks her to lose weight because “you would look much better without those 5 kilos” and “you’d feel much better about yourself if you toned your thighs”. And then he starts monitoring her food intake. Staring weirdly at her when she gets desert, getting upset if she doesn’t go to the gym. She obviously reacts. It’s her body, her health. “oh well”, he replies, “ your body also concerns me”. And then he throws in the killer argument “watching you eat is like watching my sick father smoke”. Hmm, hmm.

Even if a man is not satisfied with his woman’s body, how legitimate or acceptable is it to let her know about it? Isn’t it common knowledge that women dread remarks about their weight? And if he doesn’t speak up his mind, wouldn’t he be hiding things from her? In couples, can we share everything? When it comes to relationship management, where do boundaries stand?

26 comments:

Camille said...
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Camille said...

I have a clear cut answer to your question : "In couples, can we share everything?"

My answer is an unshakable: 'NO'

Sharing everything is simply a couple suicide!

And the sacro saint 'jardin secret' is not sacro saint for nothing... is it!

I don't have to tell her that I think that 'tiza 2achta'... and she doesn't have to tell me that she had an erotic dream with Joe the Plumber...

I will tell her how great her boobs are, and she will tell me how good in bed I am...

and we will be a happy couple...

Chou ra2yik?

Maya said...

:-))) ra'yeh is sooo men ra'yak!!! You should write on relationships more! yalla!

nathalie said...

Cut the bullshit
Lying is lying
Being honest is hard to do but is the right thing to do
Cowards lie
Brave people say what they think
Sorry but this blog is becoming more and more fake and typical
Yes I am rude
And yes you are hypocrits

paisible photographe said...

je ne suis pas sûr que l'échange que vous décrivez relève bien d'une relation de couple, mais hélas c'est bien la majorité...

il est infantile de s'en tenir à l'image de l'autre - infantile non pas au sens de régressif ou déplacé ou de pas permis ; mais plutôt au sens où l'on ne sait pas de quoi on parle quand on s'adresse à l'autre pour faire telle ou telle remarque; et on sait encore moins ce qu'on fait surtout...
on oublie que le couple se décide non pas hors du lit ou dans le lit, mais pile entre les deux, c'est-à-dire au bord du lit - là où les positions les plus acrobatiques sont les mieux venues maybe..

un vieux psy suisse du nom de Jurg Willy avait inventé le concept de collusion fantasmatique entre les partenaires pour rendre compte des miracles occasionnés par foi par un aveuglement à deux...

mais pour en revenir à votre description, ça donne plus l'impression d'un partenaire infantilisant l'autre qui tire lui-même son plaisir de retrouver dans le premier l'image, souvent parentale, qu'il lui a projetée dessus...
vieux jeux éternels... et comment en sortir? et y'a-t-il la moindre possibilité de couple sans en passer d'abord par ces conneries à tâtons qu'il faut surmonter?

mais les miracles que vous décrivez sont à mon sens bien moins dûs aux remarques échangées qu'à la simple réalimentation immédiate boostant la pile narcissique dès le moindre frotis-frotta, vu la misère de l'époque et les doses énormes d'angoisse traversant désormais les isolés de la société du spectale ; il s'y agit donc peut-être moins de l'effet d'une réelle rencontre que d'une réactivation de la vie mais dans une mécanique du geste.

faire l'amour à une femme, à transformer le dernier thon venu en sirène irrésistible, cela consiste d'abord, et uniquement probably, à trouver et choisir les mots qui touchent juste au clavier de son histoire (qui n'est faite que de mots, même si elle veut se noyer d'images et de miroirs...), la géographie de son corps et de ses gestes suit immédiatement, ses lèvres suivent, et c'est heureux, les quatre.

si la femme accomplie déchire toujours quand elle aime, aveugle irréveillée au immenses prunelles, le meilleur moyen de la toucher vraiment et d'aller vers un vrai rapport érotique par delà le sexe mécanique, c'est de trouver la différence sexuelle et de ne plus la lâcher, en y insistant - pour cela, il faut d'abord déjouer...
et surtout déjouer sa mère, sa mère qu'elle me demande toujours de jouer sous la menace de me la ramener...
comment les séparer de leur mère? c'est toute la question -always.

"on est hétérosexuel quand on aime les femmes, qu'on soit un homme ou une femme" disait le plus grand écrivain français, et tant de femmes aujourd'hui ne savent plus émerger au-delà du p'tit mec avec des airbags...

donc : sortir du sexe plat pour aller vers l'eros qui est la vraie création, et par rapport à laquelle ces effets d'embellissement certes réels que vous décrivez ne durent pas plus que des anémones d'adonis...

Camille said...
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Camille said...

@nathalie

You sound young and idealistic... The path to a bearable balance is long and painful.

And you need to suffer a couple of setbacks before you understand how to wisely use what you call "hypocrisy" in order to protect yourself and the person you love.

And yes, a lie is a lie, but there is lie and lie...

nathalie said...

I am 45 years old
Married and divorced
I am much more experienced than you think
The person you want to be with is the one you can be fully transparent and be yourself all the time and that person with you as well
That is the essence of an enduring and lasting relationship

Camille said...

@nathalie

You might not be so young, but still are too idealistic in my views. Things are not black or white and there is a wide range of nuances of greys (and even more cheerful colors).

Moreover, there isn't a single magical recipe to successful relationships that would be 'tell them everything and live happy ever after'.

I think you have to cultivate your private secret garden, enjoy its flowers and keep some mystery in your couple.

I which you read french so you can understand the beautiful comment of paisible photographe above.

nathalie said...

Thank you for the advice
Good luck with your grey areas
You will realize that grey areas on the long run will screw up your relationship
I have been in many relationships and a marriage
I know what I am talking about
Your opinion is actually more poetic than realistic

paisible photographe said...

thank u Camille..

nathalie, let's only be logical, ok?
so : if only once in the hole history of humanity, we found one concept or one idea everybody agreed it was absolut truth and not lying, than little by little we would reach the point where language itself wouldn't be usefull anymore, and we could join, in great happiness, the joy of the beasts - they never never lie, believe me on that one ;)

a couple, or any human relation, with no lie and total light is simply the best definition I see of terror and terrorism.

your argument relies on the idea that somewhere there would be a Truth and that we are all lyers and hypocrits...
but don't u think that the exact point where I start to loose my Reason is when I suppose that no one around, but me, is reasonnable?

finally what makes a man and a woman come, is pleasure, and there can be no pleasure without playing, and how can u play without dissimulating - and revealing? and how can u play with anything else but the truth?

I have a rule in my life when I make love, I always watch very carefull is she's able to laugh after sex... if she's not, I never come back.

nathalie said...

She might be laighing at you
People can lie about laughing as well
You can be fooled
Don't be too confident when it comes to human beings
They can be very deceiving
And you will mature one day and realize that your poetic way of describing things is disconnected with reality
Look around you
Look at maya's freedom of choice stories
Life is much more complicated than the games and the gardens you are describing or dreaming of
That's what breaks couples. The notion that you can hide things eternally is an illusion that has a price

Camille said...
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Camille said...

Woow... Nathalie :(

You are not an idealist at all, my mistake...
actually you are much worse than that, you are bitter :(

I am really, deeply and sincerely sorry for you.

Cheer up !

nathalie said...

I don't need sympathy nor people being sorry for me
I was young and thought like you
But life taught me a great deal
Maybe I live in a different environment than you and it has an impact on the way I see things
I live in new york
It is quite different than beirut or your region
By the way I know some lebanese people here
And believe me, when it comes to honesty in relationships, lebanese guys are not a reference

Camille said...

@nathalie

Oh! now you're being racist, drowning cliché conclusions on nationalities based an a sample of people you met !

End of discussion !

nathalie said...

It is too frequent with lebanese guys
And I have heard the same from other people as well
I am not saying all lebanese are like that
But it is too frequent to ignore as well
I am not racist. Far from there

paisible photographe said...
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Maya said...

Hello Nathalie,
It is extremely hard to be deceived. It is also harder to bounce back. but I think one can bounce back... once she believes in her right to be happy. and do whatever it takes. I dont mean to give advice, well because i am not a reference (at all). But I don’t like the idea of you having been an idealist and having let go of that freshness. The person who deceived you does not deserve you. For whatever reason, be it his childhood, his messed up mind, his whatever. You deserve to get that freshness back.

As to my post, it was specifically meant to address the issue that women have with weight, something that men tend to misunderstand. Its like a "red line" with women whenever you talk to them about their body shape. It might be because eating is an emotional activity for many women, a shelter for when they feel mellow, blue or even fat! I am sure, as a lady yourself, you understand that aspect of things. Another proof is the large number of females that suffer from eating disorders, which is not the case for males.

I think, like Paisible Photographe and Camille put it, that sometimes saying things bluntly can hurt the other person’s feelings and not help her implement a course of action that will shake her to do things right. If I was a boy and thought that my gf was fat, I would not say it (unless specifically asked) but would rather make her feel beautiful, epanouie, so that she can have an emotional equilibrium, which, in turn, would help her loose weight.
Of course honesty is key. But also hurting the other person just for the sake of telling whats on one’s mind is not necessary, don’t you think?

Paisible Photographe and Camille, you guys will make some ladies very happy!

paisible photographe said...
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paisible photographe said...
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paisible photographe said...
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BabaGannouj said...

camille,
this might totally be unrelated, but i don't think anybody should have an erotic dream with joe the plumber. ewww.

marooned84 said...

I'd call him sick who say a line like "watching u eating..."

I'm not experienced in that, but I think I might joke about it and accept jokes about it as well.

Néphèle said...

I just wanna say, the thing is how you say sth, than what it is that you say.
I mean, I really wouldn't like to hear inno "tozi 2ashta" alright, i find it offensive somewhat, plus it is stepping on my toes obviously, but well if he would really notice that i am overdoing it for quite some time, then it is nice to ring a bell, nicely put, ppl need that sometimes.
And you know what also, it depends on what we are talking about. If a girl is like i dunno, 80kg let's say, and gourmand, and obviously he knows it after choosing her like that, he wants her to become 50kg, then well obvisouly the problem is not the weight, nor the girl (talking about this story).
Anyway all i'm saying is, truth is to be valued, but watch out the language, coz among other things, it is to show respect, not only to not hurt one's feelings.
As it is silly to dive into one's mouth no complaints for months and there start nagging about it. It is manipulative and wrong.

Néphèle said...

a smoker's one i mean :)