Among the numerous readers of my blog to whom I am related by blood or marriage, my sister-in-law, F, is not one.
So when we spoke on the phone earlier this week for the first time in about a month, she asked how my love life was going.
“Not great,” I sighed–informing her about my recent spate of rejection.
“Huh,” she responded, contemplative. “How’s your hair?”
“Kinda bad,” I told her. “It needs a cut.” I was tired, and possibly distracted by some blanket-laden homeless person on Central Avenue; I at first did not absorb her question’s implication. But then I did.
“Are you suggesting that men are rejecting me because of my hair?”
“I’m just asking,” she said. “I mean, I saw you recently so I know you’re not fat. Maybe you’re having a bad hair year.”
Let’s put aside for a moment any questions about the likelihood of bad hair lasting for an entire year, and allow me to provide some context. First of all, F and I have similar hair: she’s Italian and I’m Jewish and both of us have seriously thick, coarse and texturally schizophrenic manes to show for our respective ethnicities. Second of all, having dated my brother since I was five years old, F is the closest thing I’ve got to a sister and has therefore earned permission to tell me things no one else can.
But back to completely inane perceptions of what makes us more or less attractive.
Because no matter how fervently we insist to ourselves that someone’s lack of interest has absolutely nothing to do with how we look, act or smell, I’m fairly sure that most women I know generally assume they’ve been rejected because they’re fat. It hardly requires stating, that they are not fat.
It’s important–though perhaps impossible–that all of us, someday, realize we are not fat. In the meantime, let us try and realize something else: even if we are, by our own obscene standard, a few pounds heavier (or for that matter, lighter) than normal, the men in our lives probably don’t know it. Do your girlfriends? Perhaps. The warped vision to which we subject ourselves often carries over to the women around us. But men? Within fifteen pounds or two-to-three dress sizes, chances are they haven’t got a clue.
Similarly, short of giving yourself a buzz cut or a radical bleaching, they have no idea what’s going on atop your head. I say this as someone who has spent her life trying to manage difficult hair, only for guy friends, boyfriends and brothers to greet each arm-exhausting blowout with, alternately, silence or some rendition of, “is that a new shirt?”
But regardless of men being oblivious and all of us being hot all the time, F wasn’t totally off. Feeling fat–or feeling, as the case may be, frizzy–can throw a wrench into one’s love life. Not because of the way we look, but because of the way it can make us act: you know, less confident. It’s the converse of that Golden Rule by which if you think men want you, they do. If you think they don’t–if your body or your epically bad hair day/year is making you feel less than your usual hotness–there’s a good chance they won’t. Even if you’re delusional. Which, I am assuming for the purposes of this post, you are.
(Don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about right now? I feel obliged to remind you–the two of you who may have forgotten, anyhow–that my record in finding a boyfriend is about as good as the Knicks in finding a basketball championship; take me with some salt.)
Anyhow. Which is why, the day after that phone call, I made an appointment to get my hair cut by a not inexpensive stylist named Mario on Saturday afternoon.
Let me momentarily break from self-deprecation to tell you that Mario made me look pretty damn good. So good, in fact, that I made myself push through a massive hangover and the exhaustion of little more than three hours of sleep to go out where I knew I’d run into a Current Crush. One who, I should note, has pretty well compensated for my latest string of rejections by routinely dousing me with compliments.
(Last tangent, I promise: guys, really, the compliment thing. I know we’ve been over this, but few of you got the memo. It really isn’t that hard to find some way to tell a woman she looks good, and it is guaranteed to make her more interested in sleeping with you. Just try it. And tell your friends.)
Sure enough, Mario earned me another one. Sort of.
“You look lovely tonight,” Current Crush said. “I like your dress.”