Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Curious Thing

On Thanksgiving, TLC ran a marathon of What Not to Wear (love Stacy and Clinton and their fashion magic). Since hubby was cooking, I watched several episodes while keeping tabs on the football games. Football, fashion and food... what a great day, but I digress.

While I was watching, I noticed something curious. The episode was them working with a woman who had a particularly tragic mullet turned braid-monster. Throughout the whole thing, the woman was attentive and flexible about the things Stacy and Clinton were telling her. (If you haven't watched the show, a lot of the women get mulish about their fashion ruts, but not this gal.) By the end of the show, the transformation was astounding. She was looking good, she was feeling confident, and she went home with a new outlook on herself.

This is where the curious part came in. At the end of the show, they always follow the newly transformed person home to catch the reactions of their families, and the reactions are (usually) very positive. This time, while the butterfly was hugging her best friends and everyone was crying over how great she looked, you could see her husband standing in the background, glaring at her. Then they interviewed the husband and he said he was happy and his wife was beautiful, but the insincerity dripped off him like spaghetti sauce off a ceiling.

Needless to say, the whole thing stuck in my mind. The only thing I can figure - because she really did look amazing - was that he was happy with his dowdy, unattractive wife and pissed she'd been changed. (He wasn't any prize himself, btw.) Her sudden transformation into attractive and confident was somehow threatening to him. And I wonder now which won - her newfound beauty and confidence, or a marriage that was based on keeping her husband comfortable at her expense.

I had a relationship like this once - only the man in question wanted me to be gorgeous, but not smart. Whenever he caught me reading, he'd get a look very similar to the aforementioned husband. I wasn't ALLOWED to do anything to improve myself, unless it was in the looks department. Many many MANY conversations were held on the subject of breast enlargement (and since you can't see me, please understand I will never need that kind of operation - I need the opposite). One Christmas he bought me an entire wardrobe from Fredericks of Hollywood. (Yes, they do make things to wear outside the house... If you're comfortable with your bits hanging out.) Another Christmas he bought me hot rollers and other beautifying gadgetry.

Neither example shows a good relationship. A spouse, boyfriend, lifemate, significant other, partner, etc. should help you improve in every way because it's good for you. They shouldn't get angry because you're becoming a better person, and they shouldn't force you into their 'concept' of you. (Of course, this cuts both ways - men shouldn't put up with this crap either. And how many comedians joke about women trying to change their men?) When I think about people wasting years of their lives in a relationship like that (and I wasted three), it just pisses me off. Hell, both of my sisters ended up in similar circumstances, which pisses me off even more.


Anyway, for me it has a happy ending. My hubby loves me for who I am. If I want to do things to improve myself, he's happy for me, but he never pushes me to. He loves me for everything I am - warts and all. (It's an expression, folks. I don't really have warts.)

So, have any of you ever been in this type of situation? Know anybody who was? How do you/they get out of it, and how much better is life now?


Kristen Painter said...

My previous relationship had a lot of these issues, but my current relationship is great. I lurve my hubby.

Travis Erwin said...

I gotta say i'm been lucky in love and hopefuly my wife would say the same.

WordVixen said...

I had an ex with issues- he would say things specifically to P!ss me off just to get me to yell. I still haven't figured that out.

But, like you, I now have a wonderful hubby who loves me totally. He does try to get me to clean house more often, but I love him anyway. :)

Alex Adams said...

Been there, done that, got the heck out. My ex-husband mocked me so much when I told him I wanted to be a writer that I threw it aside for years. If I was then who I am now, I would never have tolerated his manipulative behavior.

Now I'm married to Mr. Wonderful who not only encourages me to write, but also thinks I'm beautiful in sweats or a pretty dress.