We are a society obsessed with physical appearance. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships. We’ve got to look good to catch the attention of a man and we better stay that way if we expect to keep him around. Do an internet search for “letting yourself go” and you will come up with thousands of results. And almost all of them are directed towards women. They’re about how or why you shouldn’t let yourself go after being in a relationship for awhile, after you get married, or after having kids. Letting yourself go could mean wearing sweatpants too much (oh the horror!), not spending as much time primping, or gaining weight.
How many articles have you read about spicing things up or keeping your relationship from becoming routine that include at least one bullet point about what you are wearing or how you look? You’ve got to buy some new lingerie to keep him interested in the bedroom or pull out a dress from the back of your closet so he can see you as feminine and desirable again.
This whole mentality is taken to extremes in some circles. Could we really be blaming women and what they are wearing (or not wearing) or the extra pounds they’ve gained over the years for their significant other cheating or having a wandering eye? Well, if you had been taking care of yourself and making sure you looked hot for your husband, he wouldn’t have gone looking for something better. Wait, what? The fact that we could be putting blame for cheating onto anyone other then the cheater blows my mind.
We socialize girls and women to put way too much importance on physical appearance, to a point that it is normal for a woman to be concerned that she might be letting herself go and losing the interest of her boyfriend or husband. We pass on the message that frump is the enemy and that it’s a constant battle to keep yourself looking good against the odds of aging, pregnancy, illness, and stressed over-commitment.
Personally, I felt my relationship with my then boyfriend, now husband entered a new (and better, more mature) stage when I was comfortable being, well, comfortable around him. At that point I knew that he liked me for who I was and thought I was beautiful no matter what I was wearing. So I could not wear makeup and dress down and feel okay with that.
When I want to put on makeup or blow dry my hair or go to the gym, it’s not for my husband, but for me. I want to dress in things that make me feel beautiful so I can walk out the door with confidence. I want to start getting better about exercising so I can be healthier and feel better physically. I want to be able to feel good about myself. Sometimes self care or paying attention to my physical appearance can give a boost to my mood and my self esteem.
But I’m also okay with being comfy some days, even if it could be construed as frumpy. I don’t think that walking out the house without makeup on means that I am descending the slippery slope into irrelevance in my marriage. And when I want to make my husband smile (because I love him, not because I think I need to) I’m going to wear something he likes, not something a magazine thinks all men will drool over.