Day 148. My Open Letter to All Women

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Michelle’s mom, sister, and cousin are in town for a few days, so today was a girls’ day for us. We went to the beach in Malibu, and did, you know, girly things. Well, we mostly just laid on the beach, which is gender neutral. But, when we got in the water, no one cared about my idea that we pretend like we were pirates. That’s not a gender thing, that’s a maturity thing. Anyway.

The following does not deal directly with my day of hanging out with women, just inspired by being around women. It got me thinking.

Open Letter to Women

Ladies, Women, XX Karyotypes,

It’s Jeff, sit down, grab a diet Fresca, relax. I think it’s time we had a talk. I don’t know how to start other than to just to dive right in. Hey, you know that part of your body that you hate?  You know, the part of your body that you don’t ever want accentuated. You know, the part of your body that makes you try to stand at the perfect angle when a picture is being taken. You know, the part of your body that makes you think, ‘If I could just change that one thing, I’d be great.’ You know, the part of your body that makes you hurriedly get on Facebook and untag pictures.

It’s okay, sit down. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you with my knowledge. You see, I’m married, so I know about these things. Since I have now been married for five years, I’m an honorary female.  I’ve helped pick out a lot of outfits in the morning for my wife, I’ve seen more Tyra than I would like to admit, and I’ve eaten Activia. I’m not quite one of you, but nearly.

Also, I’m a nice guy, we have our hangups too, just not as often with looks (every mirror is somehow a skinny mirror to us). Nice guys don’t set the tone for the societal male voice. You see, we’re like colonial America, we’re a member of the empire, but we don’t have representation. King George is a prick and it’s time to start throwing crap into the harbor.

Remember what I was saying about the part of your body that you hate? Whether it be nose, hips, boobs, hair, skin. Yesterday, I said to Michelle, “Sometimes, I just want to yell out to women,’What if your body is fine the way it is?! What if you’re good? Maybe you’re fine the way you are. Yeah, I think you’re fine.'”

Put the Fresca down. I know, this is revolutionary, it goes against the core of who you think you are. Maybe, the only one who notices that part of your body that you hate is you. Seriously, what if? Speaking as a nice guy, I don’t notice those things. Listen, attractiveness still plays a role, but if I’m a single guy at a bar and I see a girl, I just think, “I’m attracted to her, or I’m not attracted to her.” If I’m a single guy at a park and I see a girl with a big forehead, I don’t think, “Gross, look at that girl with the big forehead, she needs some bangs and a distracting necklace.” No, I think, “A taquito would taste good right about now.” See, most of the time, we’re just thinking about food anyway. We’re extremely simple creatures.

Beyond being noticeable or not, maybe those unique things about you are great in the fact that they are unique. I was looking at trees once admiring one in particular because of the way the roots were exposed and the way the trunk twisted and curved upward. It didn’t look like the others. I remember thinking, “In nature, the beautiful things are the things that are unique. Yet, for people, we think that to be beautiful, we need to look like everyone else.” We turned that upside down. You should be like the rest of nature instead.

Now, I’ve been an honorary woman long enough to know that you aren’t necessarily trying to look good for guys, or for yourself. You’re trying to look good for other woman. Shocker, I know. Pick up the Fresca off the floor, we’ll clean that later. Remember, I know a lot more than you think I know. I know, I know, that is locked door meeting kind of information, but remember, I’m on the inside.

Here’s the thing. You should stop that.

This is the harsh part. You see, you, who has insecurities with your body, are the same one who will point out the deficiencies of another woman if you’re with a group of women. Okay, I never should have given you that Fresca, because that hurt. Don’t blame me or yourself, the socializing started when you were in junior high.

But, maybe, the best way to stop focusing on your ‘bad’ qualities is to not be on the lookout for ‘bad’ qualities in other women.

It doesn’t make you feel better to point them out, in the end, it makes you feel worse.

Here are some suggestions to think about when wanting to point out the deficiencies of other women. These are things that I try to think about when I don’t want to look lustfully at other women.

-The starting lineup of the 1989 National League East champion Chicago Cubs.

-Imagine her quilting.

That’s it, those two things. It’s a mixed up crazy world. You like things that are beautiful, that is all well and good. You want to be one of those beautiful things, again, all well and good. The problem is that you think you aren’t in that category because of the very thing that makes you unique. It affects a large part of your day, your week, your life.

Well, as a nice guy and a woman, let me tell you, you’re fine. Wait, I’m also a husband, so let me rephrase that. I understand and validate why you feel that way, but let me just say, “You’re fine.”

Also, as a representative of the Nice Guy Movement, let me tell you, there are a lot of us, we just don’t like to yell. I know that most of us are married, or gay, but there are still a ton of us out there. If you need a list of men available in your area, I know a lot of them. You don’t see them because they’re working, donating blood, or playing in an adult kickball league (it’s something we care about a lot). But, they exist.

So, please, take my words to heart.

And remember

I’m one of you.

Sincerely,

Jeff Houghton

Honorary Woman

VP of Marketing NGM

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Day 148. My Open Letter to All Women

  1. Amanda

    Awesome. Just, awesome.

    Also, my nice guy used to play in an adult kickball league for years until he moved to Springfield. I’m sure as soon as he finds one here he’ll join. It’s so true.

  2. Nate

    From one nice guy to another, good post. Also, if you’re into kickball or know people who are, we’ve got a benefit kickball tournament (for adults) to raise money for kids with disabilities in Springfield on Aug. 27. It’s a blast. E-mail nreed@thearcoftheozarks.org for information.

  3. Nate Reed! You read this too? I’ll sell more guns for you again next year!

    Yes, nice guys are out there, and 15 years on the inside, I still don’t claim a man-gina. (my bad, my bad).

  4. This a well intentioned post, and I appreciate that, but I’d like to go one step further and ask sincerely nice guys and women out there to say, “I honestly want to know you as a person. Your value is not in your looks, good or bad,” and for you to actually MEAN it. Because really, that’s the message we need to hear. As a feminist, I find this post a little condescending. Women in our culture are raised to be objects, that’s harsh, but that’s how it is. Whether we are dressing to be sexy objects or “pure/chaste” objects, we are raised to think that a good deal of our value is in how we look. And then these beliefs are reinforced by how men treat us, if we get attention from dressing in short skirts and low cut tops and we like that attention, than that’s where we place our value, if we get positive attention from dressing modestly and never getting uppity and requesting to lead in church, then that’s where we place our value. It is sad because rarely, especially when we are young do we think, “I’m smart and talented,” without adding the addendum, “and beautiful so men should like me/not that pretty I hope men look past that and like me anyway.” You see where I’m going with this? Did you ever worry that how you dressed or acted would make you come off as a prude or slut? There isn’t really an equivalent for men, and that’s a bigger problem.

    • If men didn’t treat us like objects then it would be easier not to treat each other like objects. We shouldn’t treat ourselves and each other like objects to be judged and picked apart, the fault doesn’t just lie with men. It would be awesome if we could be kind to one another, to value each other as people, and we should attempt to do that every day. This problem is a lot bigger than just, “Hey, you’re pretty, stop that.” Would you say to a male friend, “Hey, you’re handsome, stop that,” and expect it to make him feel appreciated and valued as a person? I’d venture to say, no, not really, so isn’t it absurd that we think this is how we should treat women?

      I like the intention in your post. I like it a lot. But let’s try to go one step further and address the root of the problem, not just a symptom.

      • jeffhoughton

        Erin! Awesome thoughts on that. I’m sorry that it came across condescending, that’s not what I intended. I think it was the way I tried to make it humorous at the same time. I think your thoughts are spot on, and like I say in the article, I don’t know what it is like to be a woman, but I’m close to them (wife) and see glimpses of the things you are talking about. I try to keep the scope of my pieces narrow for the sake of brevity, but I like your idea about addressing the root of the problem. How women are taught to feel about themselves is a gross, convoluted mess.

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