true religion

Make no doubt about it I’m into men.  The smell and stubble, the hard parts, the muscles wrapped around one another like braids.  But tonight, even the fat women look hot.  I’ve seen the bulge that happens to your torso when your jeans are too tight, and no doubt, the woman in front of me is working the bulge.  But you know what?  It’s hot; she wears it with appeal.  I’ve been her, in that mirror, worried, pulling on my shirt, looking for a different pair of jeans to mend the situation.  But as an observer, all I see is a beautiful woman, mostly, I suspect, because she’s confident and comfortable. That, or she doesn’t realize she’s a walking muffin top.   Look, it’s no newsflash that confidence is sexier than hosiery and garters.  But it’s easier to live it when you can spot a flaw in someone, the kind you would hate to have yourself, and realize it’s really not that bad.

It may not be all it takes, but it’s half the battle.  We get so hung up on ideals and Scores, but at the end of the day, I’d choose the bulge girl with confidence over the waif who’s looking at my shoes.  I wish sometimes I could see in myself exactly what I see in the woman with the muffin top. 

The other night, I asked The Suitor the question no man likes to answer: “Do I look fat?”  Instead of rolling his eyes, he replied, “You really want me to answer that?”  I nodded a yes.  “Fine, but then I really need to get a look.”  He then pulled off my jeans and lifted my top for a cheap thrill.  I let him knowing exactly what he was up to.  “Hmmm,” he said with his finger on his chin, “Fat? Huh?”  I held my breath, terrified he might say, "yeah, you could stand to lose a good 15."  Instead, he replied, “Stephanie, you are so hot.  God, don’t you realize, I don’t see you as fat or skinny?  You are the love of my life.  I see you as absolutely beautiful.  You have to remember I don’t see you like you see you.  Do you really want me to look at you as just fat or skinny?”
“No,” I said in a small voice.  Cause I already know I can stand to lose a good 15.
“Good, because you’d be doing us both a disservice.  Just let me love you.”  Dammit, the boy didn’t answer the question.  “And no–I know how your sick mind works– you are not fat.”  I knew this before he said so.  I asked because I’ve doubted myself, because I haven’t shit in three days.  Because I feel like I ate Jenny Craig.  But naked in bed, I realized, people really don’t look at me the way I look at me.  Thank God.  No wonder those jeans made with all that elastic and “stretch” are called True Religion.



  1. wait a sec.

    "i haven't shit in three days."

    THAT's what you should be worried about! fat schmat! get thee to an enema! or at least a big cup of coffee!

  2. why do you refer to him as "The Suitor" rather than your "boyfriend" or the (next) "love of your life"? The term "the suitor" is a distancing one, at least in your writing about him. Are you doing this on purpose?

  3. When went to a kid's recital, there were dancers of every age group preforming at various times. Some of the older ones were quite heavy, and the outfits that they had to wear did nothing to de-emphasize the weight issue.

    But I was stunned, almost embarrassed, by, not just how they danced, but their confidence and complete disregard by their weight issues.

    I can't even walk on a stage without being physically ill. How I wished I had their confidence.

  4. “Stephanie, you are so hot. God, don’t you realize, I don’t see you as fat or skinny? You are the love of my life. I see you as absolutely beautiful."

    This is how my lovely boyfriend sees me too, even though it's not always how I see me. Thank goodness for lovely boyfriends who get it.

  5. Thank the suitor for me, I'm totally going to use that on my wife the next time she asks, although she hardly ever asks…I think it has to do with the confidence you're referring to. So there's all this love from him and he'll walk Linus when you go on your book tour. Unless you take the bean, ala P. Hilton.

  6. The Suitor sounds like a real man. Not the kind who sits in front of football chugging beers (ar ar ar), but a real man who is secure with himself and able to love somebody like he loves himself.

  7. "walking muffin top?" I bet her confidence would deflate pretty quickly if she knew you'd referred to her that way, even in jest.

  8. The age old question we should never, ever ask. Because, in my opinion, by doing so, we are saying we are.

    The entry reminds me of a distant memory related to the topic — I think I was about 18, and my best friend at the time and I did an experiment to see just how off our body image really was. We both sat in the mall and pointed out girls/women who represented what we really looked like (including stance, which was an important factor, and still is) — I was shocked at what my friend was picking out as representative of my body and the way I carry myself. It was a great lesson in having more confidence, and stressing less about that extra 5 lbs. I once carried.

    Thanks for reminding me of this… I haven't thought about it in a long time!

  9. Congratulations Stephanie on coming to this conclusion! How is it that we are so accepting of others, and so harsh on ourselves?

  10. Steph, don't you know that you have to absolve yourself of the fat judgments until after the holidays? "Mashed Potato Season" is no time to criticize your ass. Just remember to drink a glass of water for every serving of alcohol, try not to eat too much pie and just roll with the rest of it. You skinny ass is waiting for you in the early spring bathing suit shopping where it belongs. :)

  11. Long time reader, first time poster… I've read a lot of your stuff, and have to say that this is my favorite post yet. I love your writing for the real, everyday joys and insecurities you detail so well. Have you read Eve Ensler's "The Good Body"? Seems like you might enjoy it. Thanks for making my day with your sweet post.

  12. He's a good man. It's the most wonderful thing to be told by a man that's you're beautiful and know that he means it.

  13. I LOVE this post. LOVE. The Suitor is a keeper. I feel the same way about my hubby-he's really, really thin and I'm a curvy size six. Our waist measurements are fractions of inches from each other. But I love him. And he loves me.

    Brilliant post.

  14. Awesome!! Lucky lucky you! The Suitor seems to have a very sincere heart!
    I've been pigging the last week, and feel like a sausage too, but my new sweetie has been right there pigging with me! Tis that season, and we'll be back to normal soon.
    Muffin tops are the best part, and cheap thrills are always welcomed!

  15. Thank you for introducing this topic. I've wondered about it for a long time… "Do *they* think I look fat?" frequents my mind when I'm out. Even if I like how I look.

    More people need to be explicitly informed of the difference between the way they see themselves and the way others do.

    I'm glad your chivalrous (and opportunist) Suitor took advatange of your insecurity and told you just how beautiful and well received you are by the world around you.

    Congrats. He's a gem. And you get to wear him on your finger (so to speak).

    God I wish I could write like you.

  16. Stephanie, it doesnt sound like luck, it sounds like love. After 8 years or marriage, 18 month old twins, and a curvy figure to boot- I still enjoy being "seen" by my husband as the "beautiful mommy of his children".. Beauty fades as we grow older, it's the hardest thing to accept in life. The most wonderful thing that you can hold on to is the confidence that that beauty gave you when you were young– how it made you feel– and carry that throughout your life. It wont matter, in a few years, if you've put on a few lbs… It will matter if you let weight make you feel differently about yourself. You are worth more than that– all women are. It only takes time to figure that out on your own.



  17. You've got a man on your hands, not a boy.

    Anywhere from every three days to every three hours is considered normal, so don't heed the laxative pushers just yet, but you may consider drinking a glass of water.

    When you do go, you'll be well on your way to droppping that fifteen pounds, me thinks.

  18. "But as an observer, all I see is a beautiful woman, mostly, I suspect, because she’s confident and comfortable. That, or she doesn’t realize she’s a walking muffin top. "

    Apparently all you see is NOT a beautiful woman, or you wouldn't have referred to her as a walking muffin top in the next breath. It makes you sound like you are not only jealous of her self-confidence, you don't think she deserves it, so want to make sure everyone is aware of her flaws as you perceive them.

    The best thing you can do for your own self-esteem is stop pointing out the flaws in others. Beauty certainly isn't about making ugly observations.

    I'm sure you are aware that there is an email going around laughing at your self-absorption. I'm going to suggest that you are merely incredibly young, and therefore your stances are age-appropriate. But if you really want to move ahead, you might indeed spend a litle less time pointing at others and then stroking yourself and a little more time looking at yourself honestly.

    I'm sure you are a beautiful person inside, but it doesn't come through in many of your writings. Your sadness over your insecurities, however, does, and I am very sorry you are not happier.

  19. Sallie, to quote me:

    "But it’s easier to live it when you can spot a flaw in someone, the kind you would hate to have yourself, and realize it’s really not that bad." That's the point. She looked hot, as I said. So the flaws I saw in her, I might see in myself… and seeing them in her, and realizing she was hot, even still, made me realize, those "flaws" don't matter as much as we sometimes think. That is the point.

    And yes, I am a very lucky woman. The Suitor is wonderful.

  20. Sallie,

    I feel so very sorry for you. perhaps i'll suggest it is merely your advanced age and your comment comes from an age appropriate downtroddenness. Unfortunately, that doesn't hold water as you not only didn't comprehend the post but felt the need to comment on what the post didn't say AND then judge SK.

    Someone writes about seeing their own flaws from a different perspective and understanding they aren't real. They write about someone loving them for who they are and not their shape. They express introspection and humility and somewhere in your small, judgemental, ego-filled head you need to attempt to give a life lesson? I'm waiting for the email going around about you but won't hold my breath as you are truly insignificant. You've tainted a wonderful thought and expression. That is your legacy. Bravo.

  21. Jeez Tom, get off your freakin high horse. All Sallie did was express her opinion in a polite, but pointed way. She also said that Steph was a beautiful person inside. No way in hell did she deserve your calling her life insignificant.

    And if you're so impressionable that someone's comment can taint what you thought was a wonderful thought and expression, perhaps you need to get ouside more.

  22. "The Suitor sounds like a real man. Not the kind who sits in front of football chugging beers"

    I think you can watch FB, chug beers, and still be a real man, just as women can be anything they want to be and still be real women.

  23. i believe men do not see us the way we see ourselves. i try to never point out my physical flaws. it bursts my guys bubble. and hell, if he doesn't notice the love handles i'm sure not going to point them out!

    the suitor sounds like a keeper.

  24. Oh, for christ's sake. The hero-worship neither truly helps Stephanie nor takes the wind out of her detractors. Tom, "You've tainted a wonderful thought and expression?" Please. This was a reasonably good post; I pointed out that "walking muffin top," which was no doubt meant to be the comic relief in these paragraphs, was something of a back-handed compliment and something I would be insulted by if it were directed toward me, notwithstanding Stephanie's "but she's hot anyway because she's so CONFIDENT" comments. Sallie just took the criticism a step further. Tom- I'd worry about your own "legacy," if I were you. Ugh.

  25. Essentially what Ms. Klein offered was what we in the South call a back-handed compliment. "She's so self-assured in spite of being fat!" It's not really a compliment at all. So let's call a spade a spade.

    That said, I actually will leave more to the world than that honest comment or this one. Bravissimo.

    I've no doubt there are no such emails going around about me, because I tend to live my life offline. I don't agree with the email entirely, and I don't even get the bizarre dog fetish part (can someone explain that?), because I think Ms. Klein CAN write.

    Perhaps doesn't see how her words come across to those who are newer readers and not as smitten. One problem with electronic publishing is the speed that is intrinsic by nature of the medium. One hasn't the built-in wait time to weigh one's words that is part of traditional paper publishing. I would suggest she moderate her own posts as carefully as she does her comments. Write it, save it as a draft, walk away, come back in an hour and reread it.

    There is no place on earth that referring to a person as a walking muffin top is not belittling and nasty. There is no caveat that makes it a compliment. If one is resolved to be kinder to oneself, and kudos if that is her conclusion, one need start be being kinder to others.

  26. I think you should take some time and peruse classic art that has encaptured beautiful women for centuries. You will find women who share your physique. Degas' beautiful bathers, Waterhouses's women. Did someone once compare you to Botticelli's Venus?

  27. So besides getting into the whether or not the muffin top comment was backhanded or not, I will say that after seeing you talk about The Suitor in real life, and reading this you are very lucky and you seem very happy (and yes I realize that it's already been said, but I figured I'd point it out anyway)

  28. Will have to agree with the person who pointed out that calling him The Suitor is distancing. He'll always be The Suitor to you? As in, the one who is pursuing you, wooing you, the one you can choose to reject? The word implies a power imbalance.

  29. I can't tell you how much True Religion Jeans have changed the way I think of Denim (capital D). Yes, I know there's a far more important and pressing idea in this post – the part about wondering what others think, none of which matters unless we feel wonderful inside….that part. The part we've been hearing since, like 6th grade, but it still hasn't sunk in and surprise, surprise, I still look at my side-view in window reflections when I go out. Nonetheless, SK, why NOT feel self-appreciation when sporting the newest in low-key cool. With their perfectly situated rear pockets, their oh-so-stretchy-good fit, their unique washes….why, I've all but forgotten about the rest of the Denim in my closet.

  30. i'll add: i never ask anyone if i look fat. i always already know the answer anyway. i can tell exactly where i'm at within my range of low and high weight (about a 10-pound, um, spread). so i know. i think everyone knows. there's really no point in asking, right? but whatever, i'm still thinking about the 3-day no-poo.

  31. It is interesting and smart that he said he doesn't see you as you see you.

    Research supports this in that women see themselves and other women as fatter than men see them.

    Women, you're much harsher on yourselves than we are!

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