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Do I Look Fat in This? A Definitive Answer

By Robin Rice

Say she is getting dressed—she being any woman in your life—assessing herself in the mirror.

Say she turns to you.

Already you know what is coming. Already you know you are in a lose-lose proposition.

In an instant you assess her mood, the time of day, the event she is preparing for. You contemplate answering the question to come, then not answering. You look for an exit—a non-obvious exit. With none found, you try to find a way into a joke or attempt to create a distraction.

You know this is sure to fail; yet still you must try. Your entire relationship is at the edge of a cliff and she has just asked you to either push her or jump yourself. Or both.

Finally she says it out loud, demanding you engage in the one conversation you wish would go away forever: “Do I look fat in this?”

Finally she says it out loud, demanding you engage in the one conversation you wish would go away forever: “Do I look fat in this?”

Having no clear pathway out, you freeze—in and of itself risky. Too slow a response to the question and she’ll fill in her version of your answer, then blame you for it. Too fast and you’ll be blamed for not taking her seriously.

If you look at her, you’re a goner, because unless you are really practiced, your opinion will show. If it doesn’t show, she’ll make something up.

You start to stutter, wondering what will come out of your mouth, already imagining the doghouse you will surely be sent off to for who knows how long. Again.

Sound familiar? Almost funny if it weren’t so very true?

I thought so.

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