The Opposite Sex 

A heavy load—what should a body-conscious person do?

A heavy load—what should a body-conscious person do?

Dear B & D,

I’ve been dating someone pretty seriously now for a couple of months, and we’re about to take the next step. Except I’m not in as great shape as I could be, and I’m kind of shy about taking off my clothes. Should I start a diet immediately?

—Bashful, Green Hills

DANNY: Well, Bashful, you must be a woman. Because of all the things men are concerned about in ”taking the next step,“ fat isn’t one of them. In my experience, new relationships go one of two ways. I once dated a guy, and all we did was go out to eat. We’re talking appetizers to dessert and everything in between, three and four nights a week. We loved food and wine and trying new and alarmingly fatty things. So when it came down to getting down, we were both fat and it didn’t matter, and that is a beautiful thing.

Conversely, I recently dated a guy whom I absolutely had to force to take me out to eat. And I felt like a big fat pig doing it, but I can’t be giving up the goods if a guy hasn’t so much as offered to buy me a platter of chicken tenders, you know? Thing is, I lost quite a bit of weight dating him—but it didn’t matter in the end, because I gained it all back after I had to dump his non-effort-making ass.

But I digress. As far as the dieting thing goes, I’d say do whatever you want to get to the point where you’ll feel comfortable being naked with Boyfriend. There’s too much else to be concerned about once you’re in the bed—trying to position the sheets to hide the unhideable is going to be distracting for the both of you. Feel safe in the knowledge that guys don’t really care if you’re sporting an extra 5 or 10.

Though I don’t believe in Ben’s theory that men are just a bunch of standardless moles looking for a hole to burrow into, I do agree that women make a bigger deal out of body shape than men. And it only takes three minutes with a Cosmo magazine to figure out why. In the spirit of honesty, both Ben and I are willing to own up to some physical imperfection: In my case, it’s that (unlike Ben) I have enough ass for the both of us—and there are two matching saddlebags and a small carry-on in the front to go with it.

I’m human. I crave potato chips and French onion dip while I’m eating fettuccine Alfredo after devouring a salad swimming in bleu cheese dressing. Ask everyone you know and some people you don’t, and most of them will tell you: No one is in the shape he or she wants to be in.

But it’s far more important to be comfortable in your own skin. And if you’re not, do something about it. Exercise, diet, be the 10 zillionth person to buy the Tae-Bo tapes. What’s it going to hurt? It might even give you the extra energy and flexibility to go a few more rounds in the sack, which never hurt anyone. Leave your insecurities on the floor with your clothes—and have fun burning those calories.

BEN: The first thing you should understand, Bashful, is that men and women have entirely different conceptions of what it means to be overweight. Women seem to consider the slightest bulge or swell ”fat“ when more likely it’s just normal body development; they also seem to think that men don’t know the difference. What’s more, women assume that because we drool over supermodels and waif actresses, this is what we consider the acceptable body weight to be.

Actually, I don’t know many men enamored with the current trend of 98-pound sex objects. If I wanted to have sex with a pole, I’d just throw myself against a stop sign—I don’t need a woman to look like one. Rarely are we offended by ”love handles.“ The truth is that males are irrepressibly horny and therefore luck has it for you gals that we don’t really have very high standards. More than likely, we’re going to take our chances with anyone willing to put up with us.

So don’t go off the deep end with a diet if it’s not really necessary. If you need to diet for health reasons, fine. But don’t do it because of a preconception you think we have. If your man has stuck around for a couple of months, he’s already made a full evaluation of your body and has no worries about what he’s going to find. He’s interested enough to pursue the next level without making useless face-value judgments about your body.

Besides, if he’s a mature adult worth his own body weight, he understands that it’s the imperfections that help make the human body beautiful. I’ll tell you a little secret about myself: I was born without an ass. I know it sounds as if I’m exaggerating, but it’s true. I don’t let it bother me, though, because that’s just a part of who I am, and if I had a large, meaty, manly ass, it just wouldn’t look like me. Sometimes I have regrets, like when I see the beginning of Saturday Night Fever. Watch that flick, and you’ll be left thinking the only thing that matters on a man is his ass.

But that’s just an image on-screen. We all look at the pretty people on TV and long to have those kinds of features. But the pact with Satan these people made comes with a price—they’re completely obsessed with their public image and therefore devoid of an interesting personality. And in the end, it’s personality that’s going to get you over in a relationship much more than what you look like naked.

Which brings me to my other piece of advice: Know your business between the sheets. The size or shape of your body has little bearing on how well you know how to use it. Well-given fellatio or cunnilingus in the dark can erase any memories of undesirable flab, scars, and God knows what else in the light.

Got a question for Danny and Ben? E-mail oppositesex@nashville scene.com.

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