May 1st, 2011 by Nina Atwood
Dear Nina: I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She seemed very educated and sophisticated; we’re both in our late 20s. We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime. Then, things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and 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. She said, “Excuse me? Why are you talking about my figure?” I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head. She told me I was being “inappropriate” and with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed. As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset. It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don’t understand women as well I should. What did I do wrong? – Keith
Dear Keith: You’re asking the right questions instead of being defensive – good for you because you’ll learn. The face slapping was over the top and not necessary. However, there is an opportunity here for you to understand women better.
Most women do not want to hear coments made about their bodies until well into a committed relationship, and even then, minimally. Women do not connect visually with men as a primary way of relating; they don’t ogle men’s bodies except as a bit of a joke (i.e., noticing the hunky construction worker with no shirt on). For women, it’s much more about eye contact and verbal exchange. As long as you were in a good dialog with her, you were clicking. The comment about her figure was a disconnect – it took her away from the exchange you were having, and unfortunately reduced you in her eyes to just another sex obsessed guy.
When you are happily in love with a woman, and she with you, telling her that she is beautiful is a huge turn-on. Admiring her body, as long as it is in the context of love and commitment, is okay, but the best way to connect with her is through her mind and heart.
What a woman wants is to be seen and appreciated on a heart and soul level. She wants to know that you take the time to really listen, to understand her, and to honor all of who she is. She wants to know that if she gains weight as she ages, or if she loses her skin tone, or if she no longer has the beauty of her youth, that you will still see her as the most beautiful woman in the world. That is something that transcends the physicality of today. That is real love, and it starts in dating by being utterly fascinated with discovering who she is – on the inside – from the very first conversation.