*HUSBAND SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*
When your wife asks you how she looks, you must do the following:
1. Look her over.
2. Look her over for a reasonable amount of time so that your answer is credible.
3. Don’t look her over for so long as to imply untoward scrutiny or the existence of flaws heretofore unseen and/or altogether nonexistent.
4. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5. Don’t say anything except “You look great!”
Failure to follow those guidelines will result in, at the very least, a frantic wardrobe change — which is likely to be accompanied by a souring mood and/or extreme lateness to your event and also has the potential to reach catastrophic, even nuclear, levels that may or may not require a divorce attorney.
Good night, and good luck.
I kid, I kid. But only kind of — because everyone in a serious relationship knows that navigating such questions as “How do I look?” and “Does this make me look fat?” and “Do you think she’s pretty?” is a fight waiting to happen. You have to be careful to toe the line between honesty and insult.
At least, you do if you’re a guy. If you’re a woman, say whatever you want; it doesn’t matter.
Women have no problem being brutally honest with their spouses about their spouses’ flaws, but men are conditioned to lie to their wives about stuff like that. God forbid we even think it, because if we are brutally honest, it’s worse for everyone. Honesty may be the best policy, but flattery will get you everywhere.
Every once in a while, my wife will put on a new dress or whatever and ask me how it looks or if she looks fat in it, and when I say, “Good” or “No,” she’ll say, “Really?” as if I were lying the first time. I’m usually not (I mean I’m never!) lying, but at the same time, I understand why she thinks I might be, and it’s her fault.
She thinks I might be lying because she knows that I know if I truly don’t think it looks good and I say so, there will be a shitstorm of biblical proportions.
But if she tells me something doesn’t look good, I have to grin and bear it — by which I mean, change it or else!
She is constantly nudging me to get back to the gym, or telling me that a particular shirt doesn’t quite fit anymore, side-eyeing my new haircut, or exhorting me to pluck an errant eyebrow or three. If I said anything like that to her, it would mean war. And she would win.
It’s not that she’s trying to hurt my feelings, or even that’s she’s wrong (I just burn!-ed myself), and it’s not that I want the freedom to say similar things to her. It’s just annoying that she has no qualms about saying that stuff, combined with the fact that if I merely take a second too long to give my opinion on the new dress she tried on, she gets pissed off!
All in all, this isn’t really a big deal. I value my wife as a partner, a friend, a mother, and a beautiful woman. Truth be told, she has much better fashion sense than I do, and sometimes I need the little nudges she provides to keep me motivated. I know she’s just being constructive. Plus, I hardly care what she’s wearing, or how often she hits the gym. It doesn’t change my opinion of her. She’s still the woman I fell for, married, and had two beautiful, annoying kids with. Sure, maybe I don’t like those stupid rompers she wears but I love it, honey. You look great!
Why does this double standard exist? I have no idea. Because women are fragile? Yeah, right. Not the women in my life. My wife is among the toughest people I know! Hell, just for women to survive the daily shit my gender puts them through, they pretty much have to be tougher than us. So I’m not buying that argument one bit.
I suppose it might have something to do with the patriarchy, and the fact that women have far more unreasonable beauty standards than men (see: the dad bod), both of which are valid issues. Except I feel like once you’re in a committed long-term relationship, society’s pressures shouldn’t matter as much as your spouse’s feelings. (Yes, men have feelings too!)
I dunno. Maybe I’m wrong.
I’d ask my wife, but I’m afraid she’ll make fun of me.
This article was originally published on