Ginger or Mary Ann?

My Favourite Five: While Lori and I cruise Alaska, I am rerunning a few of what I think are my best posts from the first six months of this blog back in 2013 and 2014. 


“Ginger or Mary Ann?” 

Mary Ann, Gilligan, and Ginbger © Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Any man in the USofA who is in his 40’s or 50’s has heard that question many times in his life. We don’t need an explanation; we understand we’re being asked which of the ladies from Gilligan’s Island we would rather be with. Ginger was “the movie star” – a red-headed Marilyn Monroe knock-off, while Mary Ann was a “girl next door” farm girl from Kansas. 

Would you be surprised to know Mary Ann wins in every poll I can find? The best showing I can find for Ginger is a third, with 20% and lower being more common. If men are all about beauty, why do they choose the farm girl over the glamorous sex symbol? Psychologists both professional and amateur have given all manner of answers to that. I think the primary reason was expressed by every man in a group of half a dozen of my friends when this question came up recently: Ginger is high maintenance

I’m going to let you in on a secret. Most men want a peaceful life with a nice woman far more than they want a smoking hot woman. Not all men, but the vast majority. What’s more, the number who choose a peaceful life goes up as men get older (and wiser). Most of us learned early on that “smoking hot” women are usually high maintenance. There are exceptions, but it does seem to be the norm. In part, this is because being smoking hot is more than just natural beauty – it requires a huge amount of effort and caring a great deal about appearance. Being “smoking hot” is a high maintenance choice for a woman, and she usually passes that on.

All of this is to show that once men get past the testosterone poisoning of puberty they tend to see more than just a woman’s body. We notice “smoking hot women” because they catch our attention, but that does not mean we want those women. Once we figure out that women are package deals, we look at thing very differently. Things like personality, sense of humour, and intelligence become far more important than looks. 

~ Paul – I’m XY and I got me a Mary Ann!

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46 Comments on “Ginger or Mary Ann?

  1. To be clear, notice in this photo that Mary Ann has a nice dress on and a bow in her hair. “Low maintenance” doesn’t mean sweats, no makeup, and a pony tail. :)

  2. I grew up reading Archie. I never understood why he went gaga over a rich snob like Veronica who was happy to use him instead of a pleasant and beautiful girl next door like Betty who was crazy over him.
    Nick Peters recently posted…The Church Does Not Exist For YouMy Profile

    • Forget Betty and Veronica. Midge!

      I know fellows who love the all-natural, one of the guys, roll in the dirt kind of gal.

      I know fellows who love the old-fashioned, classic, housewifey kind of gal.

      I know fellows who love the edgy, punky, partying kind of gal.

      I know fellows who love the smart, career climber kind of gal.

      I know fellows who love the high maintenance, trophy wife kind of gal.

      I have seen girls of all shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and ages on the arms of guys.

      I am not my husband’s fantasy ideal. For that matter, neither is he mine. But, in realty we love each other and we have developed a preference and attraction to how we each look to the other.

      My father always preferred MaryAnn, and considered my mom his MaryAnn.

  3. I beg to differ. I know why guys really prefer MaryAnn. It’s because she’s a petite brunette. As a tall blonde woman, I can tell you that most men prefer petite brunettes. Petite brunettes are seen as perfection. Just Google it. There are a zillion articles about men really prefer petite women, and men really prefer brunettes. I know you can’t believe everything you read online, but most articles bash tall women and call them names.

    At 5’9″, I am taller than most people. Most of the women in my family are 5’5″ or under, and they have always made fun of my height. The slur “Amazon Woman” was hurled at me my entire life and still is on occasion. I can not wear heels without looking ridiculously tall.

    We went through a time where my husband would notice other women and obviously admire them (in front of me, which I hated). Thankfully he has either stopped doing it, or at least gotten way more subtle so as to not hurt my feelings. Anyhow, every woman that caught his eye was a perfect, petite, brunette. Every girlfriend he had before me was a perfect, petite, brunette. Why on earth he ever got married to a tall blonde woman, we may never know.

    But yeah, as to the Ginger vs MaryAnne question, I think the real reason is that Ginger is too tall (like me), while MaryAnne is an adorable, perfect, petite brunette.

    Yes, yes, yes, I could quit complaining and just dye my hair brown. But what’s the use? I can’t shrink myself. So I’ve resigned myself to being tall and blonde. But yeah, the Ginger vs MaryAnn thing has always been just one more kick in the teeth, a little more proof that I don’t measure up.

    On a brighter note, except for the times when I stumble on articles like this, I’ve been doing a pretty good job just trying not to worry about it too much. I can’t change it, so why complain?

    • I’m taller than every woman in my family that’s older than me, and taller than most of my cousins. Out of 20 women, I’m like the 3rd tallest. I’ve gotten comments about my height, my glasses, my legs, my laugh, how much i talk, how I’m so sensitive.
      I have tried limiting my time with negative people, and tried speaking truth to myself. How often do you spend time with the family you were brought up in?

    • @B – I would want the woman with the attitude and personality of Mary Ann no matter what body she was in, and I would not want the attitude and personality of Ginger no matter what body she was in.
      I know it flies in the face of what we are told about men, but most of us are far more concerned with personality and other mental things than we are how the body looks. Sure nice wrapping paper is nice, but it’s what inside that counts. No amount of fancy outside can fix a nasty or selfish inside.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Letter to My 16-Year-Old SelfMy Profile

    • I disagree B. Any blonde woman with a very pretty face, no matter if she’s 6’2″ even, will have tons of attention and desire from men.

    • I really don’t see why you think you’re big. In the Netherlands 5’8” is average for a woman. In South Africa where I grew up I think it 5’6”or 5’7”. Two of my aunts and one of my female cousins are over 6 feet. My husband is your height and the very first thing every single family member said to me after they met him was *aside* * sotto voice* “he’s so short”.

      It’s all relative. We teased our one male teacher, who was 5’8” BTW, about answering a casting call for Hobbits. A short girl, aka, all of your family, would have been teased at my school cause they’re so tiny.

      Women on the east coast is short. That’s just because of all the Scottish and Irish blood. I’m told they’re taller in the mid west.

      Also, I’ve never heard of men preferring brunettes. Every “informal poll” (aka worthless data) I’ve ever seen says gentlemen prefer blondes. There’s even a movie about it.

  4. I’ve had a lot of platonic male friends over the years, and my husband and I still are friends with a lot of couples. We’ve had these types of discussions before. Never have my male friends seemed to shun the idea of a tall woman, or tall and blonde. I’m not trying to be harsh, B, but I think I hear your own insecurity and bias based on self-doubt talking, not the actual preferences of men. It makes me sad. Based on the discussions I’ve had, it seems that Paul may have the right of it on this one: men may notice wrapping paper, but all the pretty looks in the world can’t compare if there’s no heart.

    • Hi Alicia – I’ll be the first to admit I’ve got insecurities. But I don’t think that necessarily makes me wrong. Here’s a snippet from an article written by a psychologist:

      If you take an informal poll of men, you’ll quickly see that many men have little or no interest in dating a tall woman. Extremely tall women are often treated as if they are freakishly tall or Amazonian, as if their height is some sort of mistake or genetic mutation. What’s more, many very tall women engage in a range of behaviors to diminish the impact of their height in order to appeal more to men. For some, they rarely wear heels – even if they like doing so; for others, they may make self-deprecating comments about their height in a defensive effort to fit in with what men want.

      Now, thankfully I’m not out in the dating world, but everything he says is very true. At 5’9″, I cannot do feminine things like wearing heels, and people constantly tell me I’m intimidating. At the encouragement of my husband and a friend, I went out on a limb and wore heels (about 3″) to my son’s graduation. Almost every other mother there looked me up and down and said, “oh my you are so tall!” It wasn’t worth being made fun of all day. Would they have enjoyed it if I said “oh my you’re so short!” Or “oh my you’re so chubby!” – um, no I do not think so. I don’t know why everything on earth these days is politically incorrect, but making fun of tall women is socially acceptable.

      And the brunette thing? Again – just google it. I had my hair dyed brown once, but my husband didn’t like it. (I didn’t really like it either, but I’m not trying to please me, I’m trying to be special to him). Remember, I live with the man. Brunettes catch his eye – NOT blondes. From what I’ve read online, that’s normal. I bought a brown wig, so it wasn’t a permanent thing, but again, it did not get the reaction I was hoping for. I think he thinks I’m just not good enough to be a brunette. The wig actually didn’t look bad, but he still didn’t like it. So I’m not really sure why he married a blonde, if he loves brunettes.

      But anyhow, I’ve been blonde and tall since I was 12 years old, and teased almost every day because of it. My sisters are all petite (though one got fat – it’s impolite to tell people they’re fat – so I can’t really fight back). The few times a guy was interested in me or asked me out, I turned him down because I knew it was just pity. The first time I was asked to Prom I turned the guy down because my mom said he was probably only asking because he couldn’t get anyone else to go with him. So I learned my place early.

      Anyhow, I’ve read so many things about women being stared at, or cat called, or hit on and how they hate it. None of that has ever happened to me. No man has ever given me a second glance. And I’m not objectively ugly. Been asked a couple times if I’ve ever modeled. When touring colleges with my son a couple times people thought I was a student (because I look way too young, especially in the summer when my ugly freckles come out). So the way I figure it, the things that cause the stares of disgust I get daily – mostly from women, but from some men, too – are my ugly blonde hair and my gargantuan height.

      I envy tall women who are confident and I think it’s awesome, but it’s just not me. The people around me like to keep me humble and remind me daily that I’m actually a bit of a freak.

      • @B – I have a different take on tall women, based on experience. Autin TX has a thriving tall club, as do many other big cities. At 6’2″ I was just below the entry level for a man. At 5’9″ you just make it for a woman. The club is very much about giving tall folks a chance to meet and date other tall folks. Most men my height and taller do not want a woman under 5’6″.

        I recall going to a movie for my brother-in-law’s bachelor party with him and the other 7 grooms men. We were all single, and six of the groom’s men were taller than me. A lot of women walked by as we stood waiting for the movie, and none of them got much notice. Then a woman who was 6′ in sandals walked by, and all of us stopped talking and stared. I have no other recollection of what she looked like, but every one of us was interested for the simple reason that she was tall.

        That said, I do know plenty of men who feel insecure with a woman taller than themselves. So yeah, it limits things a bit.
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      • OK, so this is probably going to seem like an silly question to you, B, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Why does anyone else’s opinion on your appearance matter? It seems to me that you base too much of your sense of self image and self esteem on what other people think, and not enough on what YOU think. Someone (I don’t remember who) once said, “if you live for a man’s compliments, then you will die from his criticism.” Building your self worth on the validation of others is not a stable foundation. It would be a less futile endeavor to attempt to build a sand castle upon the sea instead of the shore, than to try to please everyone.

        • Well, first of all, I’m not trying to please everyone – just one man. No wife wants to be ugly, worthless, or not good enough in their husbands eyes. I’d venture to guess I’m not the only woman who longs to be special and desireable to my husband.
          Those more righteous and spirtitually mature than I may say looks don’t matter. Appearance means nothing. And I suppose that is true and Biblical. Maybe I’m 100% wrong, but I doubt I’m the first woman who ever wanted to be attractive to her husband.
          In my experience, people only lie to puff one another up. The truth hurts, right? So when people say things that might seem cruel, it’s usually to make you aware of the truth, no matter how harsh. (Referring mostly to other women here, not my husband).
          Anyhow, I’m not big on the “everyone is special” – narcissistic, inflate your self worth movement. I think that’s just as dangerous as trying to please others, if not more so.

          But we are veering off on a whole ‘ other topic. My original point was, guys prefer petite brunettes like MaryAnn. It has very little to do with attitude, and much more to do with looks – regardless of what we want should be true. At one time, in my younger days, I was super fun, carefree, great at sports, and happy. I have never turned a single head. That’s for the adorable, tiny, feminine brunettes. Google it. We are not all petite brunettes. It is what it is.

          • That’s good. Since you aren’t trying to please anyone else, feel free to disregard anything negative anyone has ever said or will say about how you look, and any “stares of disgust”; it simply isn’t relevant.

            Better to have an inflated sense of self worth, I think, that to have none at all. But perhaps we simply have different definitions of what constitutes having an inflated sense of self worth. I don’t think that simply daring to like one’s appearance and appreciating, but not requiring, external validation is enough to constitute being a narcissist; that’s just having a healthy self esteem. How would you define being narcissistic?

            Regarding the whole “men prefer tiny brunettes ” thing, I have heard that, so I don’t need to google it. I don’t know if it’s true or not (I’ve not personally asked every man on earth about is, so how could I?), but it seems unlikely. Men like such a wide variety of traits, that I don’t see how it’s possible to lump all men together under a blanket statement like that.

            Yes, sometimes the truth does hurt. You know what else hurts? Lies. Malicious, cruel, told-with-the-intent-to-hurt lies. Lies like the ones your family told you growing up, and continue to tell you. People don’t usually lie to “puff one another up,” they lie to tear each other down, to wound and kill the spirit, to make others feel small and worthless, to doubt themselves. Which is EXACTLY what has been done to you. And you’ve believed those lies, that should never have been uttered, let alone accepted as fact.

            • Just reread my last comment, and I believe I owe you an apology, B. I realized that the last sentence could be construed as placing the blame for what was done to you on you for believing the lies you’ve been told. The blame for that rests squarely on the shoulders of those who chose to be cruel to you, and NOT on you. It was not my intention to victim blame you that way: it was a poorly phrased, inconsiderate, stupid thing to say, and for that I do apologize.

              • Ace. There is actually some truth to it. Imagine a child growing up with abusive parents who regularly tell him he’s no good. When does it start to really hurt the child? When the child starts believing it and telling it to himself. Someone can tell you something negative all day long and it doesn’t affect you. What affects you is when you internalize it. What you tell yourself is far worse than anything else anyone tells you. You have a tremendous power over your attitude with your words.
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            • Well, you got me there AmazingAce: “That’s good. Since you aren’t trying to please anyone else, feel free to disregard anything negative anyone has ever said or will say about how you look, and any “stares of disgust”; it simply isn’t relevant.”

              I guess I do care what other people think, if I care what they say.

              I think inflated sense of self worth is thinking too highly of yourself, thinking you deserve things. Things like that. Thinking people should do things to make you happy, etc. Liking yourself (too much).

              I’m not sure about the lies thing. People have said that to me before. But I still don’t see why someone would say untrue things just to be mean, I’d feel so badly about myself if I did that to another person.

              • You know what? I don’t know why someone would do that either. It doesn’t compute. I mean, I do know of reasons why a person might do that, but it’s something I only understand with my head, not with my heart. And I feel like that’s a good thing. If it was something I understood deep down, then I would be the kind of person who WOULD tell lies just to be mean to others.

                But I am not that kind of person, thank God. And it sounds like you are the same way, and that’s good too. Just know that other people are not you, and don’t behave as you do, even though it doesn’t make sense to you. It makes sense to them. And some people really do lie about themselves to make themselves look good, and about others, to make them look bad and make themselves look better by comparison. It’s not something you have to understand the logic of in order to know that it is something other people do.

          • @B “In my experience, people only lie to puff one another up.”
            In my experience, a lot of people lie to puff themselves up – to look better than they are or to make themselves feel superior to others. So they build themselves up falsely and tear others down falsely. From what you have said your family, and especially your sister, have done this to you since the day you were born,
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            • Paul, funny you should say “since the day you were born”. Because my oldest sister has hated me since the day I was born. I’ve never really understood why. But I was born near Christmas, and she has always said I ruined Christmas forever by being born. She told her children I ruined Christmas for her by being born. She made my mom a scrapbook and put a picture of my mom holding me as an infant and she captioned it “the year Christmas was ruined”. And this was 40 years ago! And she still complains about it.
              So yeah, it’s been since the day I was born. :(

              • @B – I hope you can see how crazy that is. You didn’t ask to be born, so even if her “ruin Christmas” claim were sane it would not be you who is to blame.

                I sounds to me like your sister needs a scapegoat, and she chose you. This makes everything she has ever said about you suspect. She has a unloving ulterior motivation, and she is obviously willing to hurt you to make herself feel better.

                Being family does not give her the right to treat you so wrongly, and being family does not require you to put up with it. The wise choice would probably be to significantly limit contact with her and assume anything she says is tainted by her jealousy.
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          • B, I disagree wholeheartedly that men prefer brunettes. In fact, I know it’s a fact that men prefer blondes, if you consider the world. I think some 95% of people on earth have dark hair. If a blonde woman so much as walks down a street in many countries, men salivate.

            Now in the US or Canada, that bias doesn’t exist as much. I still feel that, face being equal, neither a brunette nor a blonde win out over each other in the minds of men.

            I believe you think this way because your husband prefers a brunette. Unfortunately you have a guy that feels this way. But it’s not about blonde vs. brunette – your husband should desire you whether you’re a blonde, brunette, redhead, green-haired, bald, or whatever – because it’s you!

            • Yes Tom, I do believe this because my husband definitely prefers brunettes. I have no idea why he married me. If I knew he felt that way when he asked me to marry him I would’ve said no because I would’ve known I wasn’t attractive to him, nor was I what he was looking for.
              I wish he had waited until he found a brunette woman to love. I think he would’ve been happier in the long run. Instead of settling for me.
              I wish he’d let me dye my hair brown, to be more like the women he finds attractive. But he really doesn’t want me to. I think that’s unfair, not wanting me to even try to be what he’s longing for. :(

              • Why did he marry you, a blonde, when he prefers brunettes? That one’s easy. Having a preference does not have to dictate one’s choice. Preferences are just preferences, not requirements. I may have a preference for chocolate ice cream, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying vanilla. I don’t require all the ice cream I eat to be my preferred flavor to enjoy it; it’s ice cream, and all ice cream is good ice cream.

                Besides, it’s REALLY hard to find someone to love (who loves you back) who not only is compatible with you in other areas of your life, but is ALSO your physical ideal. If you are lucky enough to find someone you love enough to want to marry and are compatible with, you aren’t going to ditch ’em over something as trivial as hair color or body type. Anyone who would do that is really immature and not worth having, IMO.

                • I agree with this. While i find my husband attractive, he’s not my usual “type.” i tend to like dark haired guys who are taller than me. I met my husband when i was 16years old and i was shorter than him. He was 18 but had stopped growing. Now we’re the same height. He also has red hair, and i usually like guys who have dark hair. I met my husband in the late 90s and i was also going through a weird bleached blond phase. So, my husband it’s not my physical type at all.

                  But, and this is the huge but. He is my type. He’s funny, and sweet, and kind, and sarcastic but not mean. He’s great with kids, he’s always treated me with love and respect. And he has always accepted me for me, crazy flaws and all.

                  So, yes he is my type, because attitude and personality are more important than looks.

                • @AmazingAce, you have good insights. But I have strange feelings that I guess I need to work on.
                  Why did he marry me? I don’t know. I think he settled.
                  Can you love a blonde when you REALLY prefer, desire, and long for a brunette? I guess so. He is a good person. But all of that being said, what woman doesn’t want to be special to her husband? What woman doesn’t want to be attractive to her husband? Better women than me, I guess.
                  It’s just hard knowing I’m never quite good enough. Wrong? Maybe. Selfish? Probably. But I’m being honest. I guess I just always wished I could be beautiful to someone. My husband will say I’m beautiful once in a while, but we both know it isn’t true. So it actually hurts worse to hear him say that, knowing it’s empty words and not what he’s really feeling.

                  I am honestly happy, albeit jealous, of objectively imperfect women who have husbands that think they are beautiful. That must be amazing to be loved like that.
                  So yes, it’s hurtful that I am not my husbands physical ideal, or even the right “type” or in the right category. I find my husband very attractive. I’ve never had a “type”. I just like him. (But he is hot, if I can say that here.)
                  Anyway, if I had known he preferred brunettes 20 years ago, I would have let him go. I’d rather him find his ideal and be happy. I hate knowing I’m the consolation prize. I hate knowing I’m not attractive to him, that I come in a far distant second to any petite brunette walking around out there. Am I selfish to feel this way? Maybe. But I’d rather he had gone after what he’s always dreamed about as opposed to having to live with the knowledge that he thinks I’ll “do”.

                  And the age old question – why does he get so angry every time I suggest dying my hair brown – or the one time I actually did it? Why am I not good enough to try to be what he wants? Why does he fight me trying to be good enough for him?
                  Some people might be strong enough to believe someone loves them when they do not like what they look like. I’m not one of them.

                  And to speak to your analogy, I don’t want to be good enough “ice cream!” That’s insane! For my husband, I want to be his favorite. If he prefers chocolate, he should go for the chocolate – not settle for the vanilla because it’s all there is!!! That is like the most hurtful analogy ever – although it very much proves my point. I don’t want him to enjoy me because I’m “there” – all the while knowing he really wishes he could get his hands on something better. I’d really rather set him free to do what he wants.

                • B. I’ve had to take time to think about how to respond to your last comment, and I think I’m ready now.

                  Regarding my analogy, I acknowledge that perhaps it was imperfect, and that it could have been fleshed out more to better express what I meant by it, but even in its bare-bones state I don’t think I ever implied that I don’t love vanilla ice cream. I do (in fact, I love several!), and I found myself feeling slightly resentful of the idea that anyone would think I was “settling” because I couldn’t find any chocolate. Let me be absolutely clear on this point: if I’m eating vanilla cream, it’s because I WANT to. And I certainly don’t eat it whilst wishing it was a different flavor, pining for something else. It is possible to love more than one flavor of ice cream, you know, and it’s just as possible to really, truly love a woman with a different hair color and body type than what one typically favors.

                  It’s not that you’re just any ol’ vanilla ice cream, you know? It’s more like . . . you’re a special vanilla ice cream made only by one specific brand, that is unique from other brands, and it is so unbelievably good, so delicious, that given a choice I would choose to buy that vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate from any other brand (or even the same brand!), even though prior to discovering that one brand’s vanilla ice cream my natural inclination would be towards chocolate. Does that make any sense? That’s what I mean by preference does not have to dictate one’s choice. Oftentimes, choice can and does override one’s natural preference.

                  Now I’m going to extend my analogy still further, and it’s probably going to get a little weird, but that can’t be help, so please bear with me. Now, having found “the one” vanilla ice cream I love enough to choose over any chocolate, I might still go through my day being tempted by chocolate ice cream. Maybe I see it advertised on TV. Maybe I see it in the freezer section of the grocery store. Maybe I see someone else outside enjoying an ice cream cone on my lunch break, and it just so happens to be chocolate. And every time I see it, it makes my mouth water a little, but that’s only because my body hasn’t gotten the memo that there’s a whole carton full of the most scrumptious vanilla ice cream waiting for me at home in my freezer, even though my mind knows this. All my body knows is that it sees a flavor of ice cream it still likes, and it sends the signal to my brain to make my mouth water and my stomach growl, without ANY conscious input from me, without my consent. But, I still CHOOSE to ignore my stomach, and wait for the better stuff I know is at home.

                  Now, having done that ALL DAY, I finally get to go home after work, and look forward sitting down to a bowl of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Now, imagine how I would feel if after all that, I came home to find that in my absence, somehow, that carton has magically transformed itself into chocolate, because it thought I would like it better that way (see, I told you was gonna get weird!). Needless to say, I would be very upset by this. If I had wanted chocolate, I could have HAD chocolate; I could have gotten an ice cream cone at lunch or a carton of it at the store. But no, I chose to wait for what I really wanted, only to find it trying to be something else, something I don’t want it to be. I don’t WANT it to be anything other than what it is, because I chose it knowing full well that it isn’t chocolate. I just want it to be itself.

                  OK, that’s all I got to say right now. I hope that clarifies what I meant a bit, and perhaps undo a little of the pain I have unwittingly caused. I don’t know if that’s how your husband feels or not, I only know that that’s how I would feel if I was in his shoes.

                • @AmazingAce, thanks for taking the time to expand and explain your analogy. You have given me a lot to think about.
                  Though if I’m being honest, I do have a longing to know what it’s like to be someone’s first choice, not their “well I’ll take the vanilla since there’s no chocolate left” – even if they did discover the vanilla wasn’t half bad. I still hurt for him, having to walk around every day, being tempted, longing so deeply for chocolate all day long, only to have to come home to the vanilla that’s stuck in his freezer.

              • *SIGH* I think I feel a headache coming on. Still gonna persist in misinterpreting what I’m saying, huh? Alright. That wasn’t what I was saying at all; I really don’t know how I can make it much plainer, but I will try, once more. Here goes:

                I DON’T eat vanilla ice cream because there was no chocolate to be had! I don’t eat it just because it’s what I happen to have stuck in my freezer at home at the time! I genuinely love vanilla ice cream, for itself, NOT in spite of the fact that it’s not chocolate, but BECAUSE it’s vanilla! When I choose to eat vanilla ice cream, its because I wanted vanilla, not because I was tricked into eating it or something. And the fact that chocolate ice cream is tempting to me also IN NO WAY negates the fact that I STILL FREAKIN’ LOVE VANILLA!

                Okay, that’s all. Sorry for not using my indoor voice. Are we clear? Any questions?

                • Ace, thank you for the conversation. I don’t think I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying as much as just not agreeing with you.
                  Put it this way. I love my husband. I want his happiness. It hurts me that I cannot provide true happiness for him, because I’m not good enough. When we married I was young and oblivious. I had no idea he had such a strong preference for brunettes (which he denies at times, but I’ve seen the way his head snaps around when a cute brunette is nearby, plus a couple years ago, his brother told me my husband was actually looking for another girl – petite and brunette – the day he asked me out. She had gone home already, so he asked me out instead. Second choice. Leftovers. Consolation prize.) Which can be affirmed by his uncontrollable desire to stare at brunettes.
                  And so, no, I don’t believe him if he calls me pretty, beautiful, or sexy. And that’s okay. He doesn’t have to lie to me. Would I prefer to be loved as a loving, sexy, desireable wife? Sure, who wouldn’t? But I can accept friend-love. It is what it is, right? Sometimes I just try to be thankful that he seems to want to keep me around.
                  That being said, I wish he’d held out for what he truly wanted. Whenever I hear (or read) of a wife saying “…but I don’t mind because I know my husband loves ME, and desires ME, and cares for ME…” I think – what a blessed woman! I’d love, maybe selfishly, but I’d love for one day to know what it’s like to be someone’s “extra special girl”. But, I also know I am blessed in a lot of ways, and so I need to focus on the positives.
                  But yeah, the brunette thing bothers me. Because I feel if my husband has such a deep desire for chocolate ice cream, even if he sees me as special vanilla – I’m still vanilla – still second choice, then he should have waited until he found the chocolate he was pining for. Instead of having to walk around each and every day with a longing for chocolate. If he’d married a tiny brunette, he’d be much happier, and not have to struggle every time he saw one wishing he could know the joys of being married to a girl who possessed his physical ideals.
                  That’s all.

                • Yeah, I hear ya, and I understand. I’m sorry you’re going through all this, I know it’s hard. I’ll keep you and your husband in my prayers, if that’s alright, and hope everything will work itself out for you two.

                  If I may, I would make one suggestion. During this conversation with you, I got the smallest taste of what it feels like to be told that you really don’t really love the thing you say you love, to be called a liar, essentially. It’s incredibly frustrating. And is was over a relatively small thing, too, but I still felt strangely resentful at being told (indirectly, but repeatedly) that I can’t really love more than one flavor of ice cream, that because I like chocolate then I can’t REALLY like vanilla, and that I must be settling for an inferior second best option if I eat it. Because it’s NOT TRUE, I do enjoy vanilla, and I don’t see it as settling in the least.

                  This was such a small thing to be irritated by, so stupid, and yet that is how I felt. So I imagine that feeling of frustration is many times worse for a husband who is consistently disbelieved by his wife when he tells her he thinks she’s pretty. God, that must be frustrating! In that position, I probably wouldn’t bother trying to tell a wife that very often, just to avoid that frustration. In fact, I probably would have given up by now; it’s kinda miraculous that your husband still tries to. He’s a better person than I am, I guess.

                  So, my suggestion to you is this: the next time your husband compliments you, do him the courtesy of at least acting like you believe him (but if you can, do try to actually believe him), it will spare him a great deal of frustration. You love him, no question, so why would you want to put him through that? Accept the compliment graciously. Whether he’s lying or not doesn’t matter, accept it anyway. No one likes being called a liar, not even liars! Besides, what good has it done you to disbelieve him and not accept his compliments? Has it made you any happier? Why not just take them at face value, whether true or not, what harm does it do? Even if untrue, it could still benefit you, over time it might help you to build some (much needed) self esteem, maybe enough that you don’t need as much external validation. Which you gotta admit, it would be pretty great for you to have a more internal sense of sense worth that doesn’t rely on other’s opinions as much.

                  • It is. My wife has some issues with her self-perception and will argue against me or tell me I’m blind. Today in therapy her counselor agreed with me to just say “Thank you” whenever I compliment her.

                    B. Might I suggest you try that when your husband pays you a compliment?
                    Nick Peters recently posted…Deeper Waters Podcast 5/13/2017: Craig BlombergMy Profile

      • Dear B,

        It sounds like your family of origin was abusive to you. I don’t know where you live, but on the off-chance that there is a “Mending The Soul” support group near you, I give them a hearty recommendation. My heart hurts for you.

        Love, T

        • T, thanks for the suggestion, but there’s none in my area. Looks like it’s more of a west coast thing. But thank you for thinking of me!

          • B. You’ve seen me around here and you know the way I treat my wife, something that Paul can back me on as he is friends with me on Facebook. My wife grew up with bullies around her and hearing a lot of negative messages. She still will argue against me even when I compliment her, which can drive me nuts. Whenever I’m wanting to show some affection or say something to her I get “But other people always.” I have to remind her that I’m not other people.

            There are jerks in this world and if you listen to them, it will hurt not only you but those around you who really care for you, which could include your husband. If your husband praises you, the best gift you can give him in that case is to accept it. Don’t listen to the people who don’t matter. Listen to those who do. They will tell you the hard truth even if you don’t want it, but they tell it for your good.
            Nick Peters recently posted…God As An AfterthoughtMy Profile

  5. B, if your husband doesn’t want you to go brunette even though that’s what he prefers, there’s something very wrong with your relationship, something way beyond his preference for brunettes.

    • Exactly, Tom. I don’t get it either. He’ll say something cliche like, “but you’re beautiful just the way you are” although we both know full well that isn’t true. We also both know he cannot possibly feel that way given his strong presence for brunettes. And so, my only conclusion is that he feels I am not worthy of the beauty most brunettes possess. He must feel I don’t deserve to be a brunette, or that I’m just not pretty enough to pull it off. It makes me sad.

      • Might I suggest that if your husband says something to you about your being beautiful, take him at his word. I know I compliment my own wife and it stings me to no end when she denies it or argues against it.
        Nick Peters recently posted…Nintendo, Sega, and the GospelMy Profile

      • Given what I’ve read in all your comments over several blogs and at least a year: it’s entirely possible that your husband does not prefer brunettes. You probably just interpret it that way because of your insecurities. Probably he reacts negatively to your attempt to dye/ change your hair, because it’s more proof that you think he’s lying to you and keep believing your inferior in some way. He’s told you he likes the way you look. You refuse to believe him, so you change yourself to fit “his ideal” (in your mind). That’s extremely hurtful. He married you because he wanted YOU.

        It’s very frustrating and hurtful when someone you love chooses to believe distructive lies about themselves instead of believing your loving truth. I know. My mom does that. I hate it.

        Honestly, your sister and mom ard ****ed up. You really shouldn’t continue to believe them. You should look into cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s very hard work to change your thought patterns and beliefs, but it can be done. At the very least look up all the verses in the Bible about how God feels about his children/ his love for you and memorize them.

        As for hair. Really B, what type of an idiot chooses a wife based in hair color? It’s just hair. My husband is pretty much the exact opposite of my ideal of male beauty in every way. I think he’s hot anyway and would be appealed if he tried to change his looks to fit my aesthetic deal.

  6. “testosterone poisoning” ???

    As a man in his sixties using testosterone replacement therapy, I can tell you I wish I could feel the poison. You only realize how important it is when you start losing it.

  7. “testosterone poisoning”?

    Here’s a column by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit (and husband of Helen Smith, author of Men on Strike):

    “Likewise, references to “testosterone poisoning” should be avoided. This variant on “toxic masculinity” identifies a particular hormone (stereotypically identified with men, though in fact women produce testosterone too, and suffer problems if it’s too low) as poisonous. Again, this is simply a statement of naked gender prejudice whose expression is likely to make students who identify as male feel uncomfortable, unappreciated, and stigmatized.”

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