I can’t believe you wrote that response to Hawt And Royally
Depressed! He wrote because his wife of 10 years had “let
herself go.” Men and women were hitting on him and he had
to resort to stoning before he could be with her. And you
told this asshole to “be honest with her.” Your version of
“honest” was the verbal equivalent of hitting her with a sledgehammer!
If what HARD says is true, it sounds like his wife is depressed
or has health issues. HARD may have gotten his physical body
into shape, but emotionally he is an out-of-shape, immature
didn’t write that response to HARD. Not one skinny word of
it. You see, D&D, two weeks before HARD’s letter appeared
in the column, I answered a letter from a gay guy with a fat
boyfriend. Seeking A Solution, who described himself as outgoing
and athletic, wasn’t attracted to his boyfriend of three years.
After describing himself as “stuck,” “struggling,” and on
medication for anxiety, SAS told me I wasn’t allowed to tell
him to break up with or cheat on his fat boyfriend. So I advised
SAS to drink heavily and warned him that sooner or later he
would sabotage this relationship in order to be with someone
he was actually attracted to.
Readers—mostly female readers—were outraged: Before breaking
up, before cheating, before drinking heavily, couldn’t SAS
try being honest? Why didn’t I tell SAS to tell his
boyfriend that the weight was a turn-off and that SAS was
seriously thinking about ending the relationship if the boyfriend
didn’t lose those extra pounds? By not recommending a little
honesty first—by pushing a breakup instead of a little heart-to-heart—I
had revealed myself to be a cynical and heartless faggot.
HARD’s letter arrived when I was sorting through all this
outraged e-mail about SAS and I thought, “Gee, I wonder what
would happen if I cobbled together a response for this hetero
HARD from all the advice these women sent in for this sissy
SAS?” The advice you read in this space for HARD—all about
being honest and open (including those now-infamous conversation
starters like, “You have gotten fat and unattractive and my
sex drive is nil, so can we do something about it before I
bail on you?”)—was written by my female readers. All I did
was change the pronouns from male to female.
And guess what? It turns out that honesty—at least when we’re
talking about a woman’s fat ass—isn’t the best policy after
all. Honesty about a partner’s premature and avoidable physical
deterioration is only fit for faggots, it seems. So what should
HARD tell his wife? My outraged readers weigh in:
Your advice to HARD was way off. I’m a firm believer in truthful,
open communication, but not in this area. I have a close friend
who dumped her boyfriend because he told her she had gotten
too fat. We all hate him now for saying that. HARD needs to
realize that being overweight lowers a woman’s self-esteem.
He should approach her gently, say absolutely nothing about
not being attracted to her, and play the “I’m concerned only
about your health and well-being” card.
If he takes your advice and tells her she needs to shape
up or he’s shipping out, hopefully she will muster the self-respect
to dump him—just like my friend dumped her asshole ex-boyfriend
who was “just being honest.”
Angry Fat Girl
AAFG—HARD should play the “health and well-being” card and
refrain from being honest. Righto.
I’m sure you’ve been slammed plenty for the advice you
gave to HARD, so I’ll keep it short: Don’t ever tell someone
to “bring up the health thing,” as you did in your response.
Each and every one of us fatties soon learns that this is
code for “I think you’re ugly and disgusting but I’m not allowed
to say that so I’ll just pretend I’m concerned for you.” All
kinds of people—distant aunts, strangers on the subway, siblings’
one-night-stands—who don’t bat an eyelash at your smoking
like a fish or drinking like a chimney are suddenly so concerned
about your well-being. Which is why most of us fatties react
very badly to anyone bringing it up. Honesty is good, but
“bringing up the health thing” is not really helping since
a fat person equates it with dishonesty.
No Health Guru
YNHG—don’t bring up the health thing. Righto.
A man should be honest with his wife, Dan, but telling
a woman she is fat and unattractive and that if she doesn’t
lose weight he will leave is not sound advice. It will only
cause her to spiral out of control. Instead, HARD should talk
to his wife about exercising together and make a healthy food
plan. But he should do so without telling her that if she
doesn’t lose weight he will never want to sleep with her again.
Were You Thinking
WWYT—a man should be honest with his wife. Except about her
premature and avoidable physical deterioration, the impact
this is having on their sex life, about how miserable he feels,
and about how he’s seriously contemplating adultery or divorce.
About those trifles, a man should keep his counsel. Just encourage
her to exercise and make a healthy food plan. Righto.
I speak from experience when I say that there is nothing
HARD can tell his wife that she doesn’t already know. And
while I’m all for honesty, there are times when it equates
to cruelty. Moreover, offering to lift weights together or
create a food plan, etc., will only humiliate his wife. Here’s
what he can do: Since he loves his wife and since their relationship
is more than skin deep, he can acknowledge that even though
she’s lost her attractiveness, she still deserves to be treated
with love, tenderness, and affection. He can support anything
she tries to do about it without judging her if it doesn’t
PG—love and support, no criticism or judgment, no offers to
exercise together, no healthy food plan, and no griping if
nothing changes. Righto.
I have to agree with what you said to HARD—and I’m speaking
from the other side of the thin-fat relationship. While my
wife is still at the weight she was when we married 10 years
ago, I had packed on over 100 pounds. She finally brought
up the effect this was having on our love life. It wasn’t
a pleasant talk, but I’m trying to lose weight and am having
some success. I’m 25-pounds lighter now thanks to her honesty
(and a heart scare). Being fat is a health and relationship
problem, and our spouses need to speak up and be honest with
GT, but a spouse should only be honest when the fat spouse
is male, the honest spouse is female, and—shit, we’re out
of room. For tons more about HARD—including the actual advice
I sent HARD privately—go to www.thestranger.com/savage/hard.
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.