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Friday, March 13, 2015

Superficiality Is Ugly - A Flashback Friday Post

So, consider this to be a "Throwback Thursday" type piece.  Only, it's being written on Friday.  Friday the 13th, that is.

Anyway, I couldn't come up with a suitable topic for today (for some reason, March is really giving me major writer's block), I thought I would revisit a topic that I wrote about four years ago, in April 2011. 

Besides, tomorrow is the 14th, and I have a fantastic idea for a topic.  Let's just say that the idea hit me like a custard "pie" to the face...only with less custard and less mess.

So, until then, enjoy this Flashback Friday entry.



WARNING: This note is rated “M” for mature, for strong language and general anger from the writer in question. It takes a lot to get me angry, and when I do blow...ye best duck and cover like scared schoolchildren from the 1950's.

Advice columns have been around for decades. Ever since Ann Landers and Dear Abby were schoolchildren, people can count on picking up a newspaper or their favourite magazine for advice from a variety of people on a ton of subjects. Medical advice. Dating help. Recipes. Interior decorating. Some of the questions that people ask can range from perfectly normal to “what the hell were they thinking”. On the flipside, some of the advice that some of the people give to the advice seekers can range from “incredibly boneheaded” to “absolute brilliance”. Suffice to say, the columns and the columnists who write them aren't going anywhere soon.



Have you ever heard of a columnist named Amy Dickinson? She has a column in a newspaper here in the area that's based in Ottawa. Normally, I tend to skim over the letters and question how some people can get so personal in an advice column (and yes, this is coming from someone who admittedly has over a hundred thought-provoking blog entries right here on Facebook), but the one in the April 14, 2011 paper really struck a nerve with me. It wasn't so much her answer...it was the attitude of the person who sent in the question for her to answer.

And, it made me see red.

Here's the question in full. I bolded it just for you. :D

Dear Amy:

In our 20-year marriage, my husband has gained more than 50 pounds. I have gained about 10 and am constantly exercising and working to keep my weight down.

He has an unsightly gut that hangs over his pants. His clothes are often ill-fitting and sloppy looking due to the difficulty of finding a good fit. I find this embarrassing.

I have begged, pleaded, argued, threatened, reasoned, tried “Weight Watchers” for both of us and expressed concern about his health. Nothing works.

He makes a half-hearted attempt for a week or two and then quits. We have no sex life, as I am repulsed by his fat gut.

Otherwise, he is a loving, devoted, loyal guy with a heart of gold.

I love him, but the truth is I would not have even gone on a first date with him the way he looks now. This feels like a classic bait and switch (women are often accused of this behaviour).

I have all but given up as I watch him wolf down portions enough for three. I guess he doesn't care if we never have a romantic life again.

Should I just give up and live with him as a lifelong friend?

I am not interested in anyone else but, truly, his physical condition has completely turned me off.

I am really furious with him because I feel cheated out of a full marriage. I can't help thinking that if he really loved me, he would try harder.

-Given Up

Can you say...superficial much?

For the record, here was Amy's answer...this time in italics.

Dear Given:

If your husband loved himself a little more, he would try harder. Compulsive eating can provide a relief from the pressure of relationships, work, sex, and the expectations and disappointment of the people around you.

Not only are you pressuring him, but your hostility is so evident that I find myself pining for a pint of Haagen-Dazs just from reading your letter.

Instead of dragging your husband to “Weight Watchers”, you should examine your own issues and behaviour.

Addictive eating is different from other addictions because you can't swear off the stuff (food) forever. You must face your “drug of choice” every single day.

You and your husband don't need diet tips. You need marriage counseling.

You will go into counseling demanding that your husband needs to change to make you happy, prove he loves you or to save your marriage.

But as spouses and loved ones of addicts learn, he will only commit to the hard work of change in order to save himself.

Now...she was a LOT nicer to her about it than I would be. People like her make me see red. I have never been a huge fan of people who were up themselves to begin with, but superficiality is a great way to turn me off of you forever. I never could stand people who demanded that other people change in order to suit THEIR needs, and meet THEIR demands.

When I read that letter, it kind of made me wonder what I would say to this woman if I had stepped inside Amy's shoes (and hopefully she doesn't wear six-inch stillettos, because those things are wrong no matter what sex you are).

It wasn't pretty. In fact, I reckon I'd probably have uttered one too many swears in it, and get promptly fired for my stance on her issue. But, I don't care. It really pissed me off.

So, for all of you...below...in bold AND italics...here's what I would have said to this lovely lady in all of its uncensored glory (hence the “M” rating). In a way, it also showcases my own feelings on the subject of superficiality.

Here goes...

Dear Given Up:

What the f@#$ is wrong with you?!?

I mean, seriously, who the hell are you to go on and on about how unhappy and miserable you are because your husband has gained an extra fifty pounds over the course of your two decade long marriage? News flash...unless you have an insanely twisted obsession with botox injections, there isn't ANY couple who have been married for that long and looks exactly the same as they did on their wedding day.

You're embarrassed to be seen with your husband because his gut is a bit bigger and his pants don't quite fit him like they used to? I'm sure he's just as embarrassed to have a shrieking harpy shrew of a woman berating him and making him feel like crap because of something so superficial as weight gain. In fact, I'd bet my last toonie on it.

I'll tell you one thing. Belittling him, forcing him to do things...doesn't work. I'm sure if you were more supportive of him instead of being disgusted by him, you'd find that he might have the self-confidence and the motivation for him to make the changes himself. You cannot force him to do so, because it gives me the impression that you are a controlling person who really cannot stand imperfection. Here's some advice for you. You want imperfection? Look in the damn mirror, lady, because I certainly would not want to hang around with someone who only seems to look at the surface of a person instead of what's deep inside.

Oh, sure, you've said that he does have a heart of gold and is loyal and devoting, but it shocks me that you only see those as secondary qualities, of lesser importance than six-pack abs and a 32-inch waist. Do you have any idea how many women would DIE for a husband like that, you stupid twit? Regardless of looks? There are men who have the body you want, who lie, cheat and abuse their wives on a day-to-day basis...well...kind of like what YOU'RE doing to your husband right now. I'm sure that there are a lot of women that would be honoured to trade places with you at this moment. I secretly hope that one does.

It would be something different if you were genuinely concerned about his health issues, and if you were worried about him having a heart attack at 50, or high blood pressure. If this was all that you had touched upon, I'd go a little easier on you, but noooooooo. You had to really flick the switch into bitch mode by complaining about your lack of sex life because you find him repulsive. Guess what? I bet he finds your attitude and personality just as repulsive, sweetheart. And, if he doesn't, he SHOULD.

It's women like you that make me see red. You are so hung up on what a guy looks like and how cute he is that you refuse to see just what other great qualities he has because you're too blinded by soap opera star looks which eventually fade over time. You my dear, are no exception.

If I were your husband, and I read your letter, I would have called up my divorce attorney, kicked you out of the house and eaten an entire tub of Cool Whip right in front of you (and I'm talking the Cool Whip with the ocean blue lid...no 98% fat free crap). I'd then hit the gym and get skinny again on purpose just to spite you. But, hey, at least this way, you would have some vindication that you ended up giving motivation after all.

I wouldn't want him to see you as a lifelong friend at all. You haven't been friendly to him for quite some time. You have been a stuck-up, snobbish, selfish, superficial bitch. Thanks to you writing in, everyone knows it...including the man you promised to love in your wedding vows through sickness and health.

You have absolutely no idea what food addictions can do to a person. I can speak about this because I had a really bad addiction to food during my high school years brought on by kids who used to bully me for my weight. You do realize that the more you push your husband, the more he eats, right?

If say, oh, I dunno...you actually decided to, oh, I dunno...SUPPORT HIM...you might get results? But, no...you're too stuck on yourself to think about that, now...ARE YOU?

You may think that he's no prize to you...but neither are you.

Seriously, just go away.

Seriously.

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