Whether getting ready for a job interview, a day trip to the beach, or your anniversary dinner, at some point you’ve probably put on an outfit and looked in the mirror, only to wonder if it looks good at all. Next, you might’ve recruited your husband to help you decipher the truth, asking him the one question every man dreads: “Does this dress make me look fat?”
A million thoughts will run through a guy’s mind when he hears this: “Why would she ask me this? What does she want me to say? It’s really not the most flattering. Should I tell her that?” In the end, the one thing at the forefront of his mind is what he’s always heard over the years: Always say no, no matter what.
But is that true? Should a husband really always say no, even if he doesn’t actually think that? Or is there a better way to answer his wife’s question, nerve-wracking as it may be?
What She’s Really Asking
We all have that one (or more) piece of clothing that, every time we decide today is the day we’re doing to wear it and we slip it on, just doesn’t look right. We can’t put our finger on it, but we feel like something is off, whether it’s the cut, the color, or … us.
While every husband alive has been trained to fear the does this make me look fat? question, it’s important for them to understand what women are really asking when we pose this question, and it’s not really about our weight. We want to know: Do I look good? Is this flattering on me? Does it accentuate the right things or the wrong things?
We Do Want the Truth, Even If It Hurts
We’d be lying if we didn’t admit there’s a specific answer we hope to hear when we ask this question: “Of course not! You look beautiful.” But even after getting an answer like that, we won’t really be satisfied. The question might get quieter, but it will still ring around in our head. We’ll still spend the rest of the day insecure about how our pants fit. We’ll still find ourselves asking the same question the next time we put this piece of clothing on.
What we really want is the truth, even if it’s a little uncomfortable. We want to know if the dress doesn’t look good, if the cut of the pants isn’t flattering on us, or if the length of the skirt doesn’t complement our body shape.
We don’t ask this question to test our husband’s willingness to placate us (at least, most of us don’t). We ask him this in order to invite him to have an opinion, to tell us what he thinks from his unique male perspective, to show that he cares and takes the time to formulate a real answer.
Husbands, Here’s How to Actually Answer This Question
With that being said, husbands, there is an art to telling your wife her dress might not be the most flattering on her. Bluntly stating, “Yeah, it doesn’t look good” is a sure way to hurt her feelings. So how can husbands answer this question honestly, kindly, and thoughtfully?
Ask her what’s making her insecure (“What about this outfit is making you feel insecure?” “What don’t you like about it?”). This can help you understand exactly what she’s seeing that she doesn’t like or isn’t sure about. That will help you know what she’s trying to avoid or fix, and whether it’s in her head or something that can be remedied.
If you really think it does look good, tell her – and try to be specific. (“I think you look beautiful. That cut/color/length always looks incredible on you.”)
If you really think it doesn’t look good, also tell her, but do this by telling her what would look good and by expressing what’s not right with the piece of clothing, not her body. (“I think that cut might not suit you. Maybe try something with a higher waist to accentuate your shape.” “The color isn’t quite right. I always really like you in maroon.” “It looks a little long. What about that brown suede skirt you have? That one looks amazing on you.”)
It’s finally been settled: Husbands, women really do want to know what you think about her outfit. But we also want you to be kind about how you answer. Give your real opinion and offer a thoughtful suggestion.
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