Dear woman who will not let this issue die,
1. Women do not always
complain that men do not express their feelings. Some women may complain about this often, some not at all, and most are probably in the middle.
2. I don't think that "you are overweight" is a feeling, or at least not the type women "always" complain about. I'd call it an opinion. I am fully aware that one can express such an opinion by saying "I feel
that (you need to lose weight)," but I think that the use of the verb "to feel" which requires this particular construction (i.e. one which requires a dependent clause) is different in meaning than the verb "to feel" in the statement "I feel (sad)."
3. Setting aside the difference between feelings and opinions, I must point out that neither Healthy Girl (Board Question #22007
), tiblittle (Board Question #22396
) nor I (Board Question #22487
) ever complained of guys not expressing their feelings. A reader who wrote in saying "I hate it that guys never express their feelings. Also, I hate it when guys express their feelings" would most certainly be castigated. Such was not the case.
4. Nike, tiblittle, bawb, and la bamba have all brought up the point that being overweight can be a health risk, and that someone (a boyfriend or otherwise) might bring this up out of genuine concern. This is most certainly true (although one should still tread lightly, in my opinion) but in reading the original question, Healthy Girl seems to be far from that point. (Dress size is not an absolute measure of body fat, but it strikes me that she would have to be quite short to be dangerously overweight at a size 10.) In fact, she states that she had actually lost
weight during that time period, and that she has healthy eating habits. If his concern were genuinely for her physical well-being, wouldn't he be congratulating her on her current lifestyle, in addition to encouraging her to improve?
5. I will allow for men to have their preferences in appearance when dating -- we all do -- but surely this should have been handled when they first started dating, and not 4 months later. I don't see that it's fair for a guy to start dating a girl, hoping or expecting her to lose weight any more than I would start dating a guy, expecting him to bulk up. If he didn't want a girlfriend of her body shape, he shouldn't have started dating her in the first place.
6. Bawb's point (if I may paraphrase) was that the boyfriend might desire more general self-improvement. He compared wanting your girlfriend to lose weight to wanting her to be more well-read. I would agree, on a perfectly rational level, that both might be positive things, but I think that the extent to which our society values beauty, superficiality, appearance, and a frankly unhealthily thin figure pushes the issue of a woman's weight out of the range of things which are easy to judge in a completely rational manner. (And I realize that men "always" complain that women are irrational, but I don't agree that super-rationality is necessarily the answer in this situation.)
To turn the situation around, if our society were obsessed with being well-read and literate, and only valued women as such, I might agree with bawb. (Or flip my assessment, and say that weight was fair game, but that "Would it kill you to pick up a book?" was the cruelest thing a man could say to a woman. Oddly enough, in such a society, I
would be a supermodel.)
7. Is it Christian to "demand an apology"? I don't believe that it is Christian to be mean or unkind, but that applies to the original statement by the boyfriend as well as to any response. And I don't believe that it's Christian to be a doormat, either. Healthy Girl never specified her response and tiblittle merely suggested she point out that "his comment hurt [her] feelings and just talk about it." That strikes me as a perfectly kind, appropriate and "Christian" way of dealing with the situation.