Body Image Question from17-year-old Kevin

My name is Kevin and I’m 17 years old. I discovered your website and thought you might have some good insight on an experience I had involving a girl’s image of her body. She was a girl I had just met at a dance a few weeks ago. We talked for a good half hour and seemed to be hitting it off. Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a “really nice, hourglass figure”. I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only made things worse when I used the term “healthy”. With a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed. She had a classic hourglass figure – large bust, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs. I guess she had interpreted “hourglass” as meaning big/overweight/full figured. Why can’t girls embrace their curves?

My response:

I don’t know Kevin. It’s mystery to me as well, why girls can’t just love what they’ve got? I, personally, have always striven for an hour-glass figure. But, I’m not in your generation.

Evolutionarily, scientists use the hip to waist ratio as a measurement of beauty and attractiveness. Hour-glass is the evolutionary ideal.

Perhaps, though you misread why she was offended. It’s possible – and I wasn’t there, so I can only guess – that she wanted your focus and interest to be on her self, the whole package – brains, personality, mutual interests, shared values, and body – rather than on the shape of her bod or her physical appearance. Especially, so soon in your interaction.

Next time, save the hot body comments for a more intimate moment, when you know each other better and she’s sure you’re not just in it for her shapeliness.  Focus on a new girl as a three-dimensional and interesting person, a friend you share things in common with. What did you discover about this girl in the 30 minutes you chatted? Did you both enjoy history or love to watch Sci-Fi films or enjoy the same literature? Were you both going to the same college, or have a similar family background or religious affiliation? Do you both love to swim, golf or fish?

Focus on those things next time.  Ask a girl out on a date, doing something of mutual interest, and you most likely won’t get slapped in the face.

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