So back in February I got this sweet email from a 17-year old boy about girl issues and a girl he liked being offended when he said she looked “healthy.” Here’s the original post. I posted the initial back and forth, and over the last few months we’ve exchanged a few emails. Heck, I remember being 17, and being really self conscious and not really knowing who I was!! I would hide under ugly turtlenecks and baggy shorts and hated that my hair wasn’t straight! 🙂
BUT- happy ending!!! Last night I got a sweet email from the GIRL!! Their names are changed and I got their enthusiastic permission to retell their story of teenage love (ahhhhhhh, 16 Candles anyone??).
(Here’s the emails from Feb).
My name is Kyle and I’m 17 years old. I know this might not be your particular area of expertise, but since you deal with beauty and self-image issues I thought you might have some good insight on an experience I recently had. It involved a girl I had just met at a dance. We talked for a good half hour and seemed to be hitting it off. She was very pretty, smart and nice. We even exchanged email addresses. I was so excited!
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.
As I was standing there alone rubbing my cheek, with my friends nearby laughing at me, I was wondering why she was so offended. She had a classic hourglass figure – very busty, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs. I guess she had interpreted “hourglass” as meaning big/overweight/full figured. Why can’t girls embrace their curves?
Btw, I do have her email address. Do you think I should her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as another way of saying she does not want to see me again?
HERE’S MY REPLY BACK TO HIM:
I usually take up to a few weeks to answer someone back, when I get swamped, but your email was to sweet and sincere to put off!
You are a fantastic writer and you should pursue something that involves writing as you go to college and eventually choose your career. I am impressed. Teenagers can have a very hard time expressing themselves adequately in words. You are lucky because you can do that through your writing, which not everyone can.
For this reason, I would highly recommend emailing her, and explain what you were really trying to communicate. Use the words “beautiful” and “attractive.” I am personally trying to change womens’ interpretations to view the word “healthy” is actually the body adjective we should strive for. Unfortunately, it does get interpreted differently. A girl that is even slightly self-conscious of her body, which is pretty much every teenage girl, and most women in the world (!), will interpret someone saying she is “healthy” as a nice way of saying fat.
Every girl wants to feel beautiful and attractive. So also tell her that you wouldn’t think she would be any more attractive if she was stick-skinny, and the reason you said she was “healthy” was because healthy is synonymous with “beautiful.” I think the world would be a much better place if women knew that guys like you thought that healthy was much more attractive, and if women thought the world “healthy” was a huge compliment. We do not all have to fit into one stereotype. It starts even earlier than 17, but especially at your age, if girls embraced their bodies it would save so much wasted energy and heartache down the road.
Keep in touch, and let me know it goes with your lady! All my very best, Kimberly
FROM LAST NIGHT
Hi Kim. This is Adriana, the girl that Kyle met at the dance a while back. I don’t know how to thank you for giving him advice. It turns out that he’s a really sweet guy and we have a great relationship. Lots of guys my age are jerks and I guess I assumed the worst about him when he made the “hourglass” comment. I’m happy with my body shape but it’s really frustrating to be judged for your bra size and not your brains. I do remember that he looked ashamed rather than angry after I slapped him and I was hoping I was wrong about him. I was thrilled when I saw and read his email!
We’re having a great time and can now laugh about the first time we met. Kyle is great guy and a true gentleman. He’s also really tall too, at 6’6″, and I’m a short girl at 5’2″. I really had to reach in order to connect with that slap, lol. But I also assured him that I would never slap his handsome face ever again and planted a big kiss on his cheek 🙂
Without your help, this might not have happened so you should feel great!
Sooooooooooo sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!!! Who doesn’t love a happy ending?!! The heart of it was that he thought she was beautiful and great all along, but we girls are really the complicated ones with body image and words, and boys mean well, but can sometimes be boneheads when it comes to the right words and communication. 🙂 Glad it all worked out. The young uns’ are happy!! Yay!!