What Men Do -- and Don't -- Notice About Your Body

I woke up the other morning to find my wife, Karel, in front of her mirror, examining her stretch marks. She asked me whether I thought she should try using cream to get rid of them. I told her the truth, which was that if she really wanted to improve her appearance, she should get some more beauty sleep before our gremlins came in to rob us of whatever remains of our youth. What I didn't tell her—but should have—is this: I pretty much never notice those stretch marks. Like most guys, I'm too busy paying attention to the stuff that makes the female body so awesome. We do, however, see your obsessing and attempting to compensate for what you perceive as flaws. Want to save yourself a whole bunch of angst and money? Read on.

WHAT MEN DON'T NOTICE

Cellulite, bellies, etc.
When I go to the pool in the summertime, I get sad when I see beautiful women covering up their bodies because they're self-conscious about a few jiggly parts here and there. Who cares? Everybody's got a little jiggle; it's a sign of good times. A woman who is confident enough to show you that she knows how to eat and laugh, who is willing to let a little muffin top rise over the edge of the pan, is a lot sexier than someone who hides herself in big, billowy clothing. As for getting physical, these bits don't bother guys either: A little extra bounce and slap here and there is never a bad thing in bed.

Also see:

Breasts that don't bounce to attention.
Men love boobs. Some guys are "boob men" and have specific tastes, but most of us are excited by life's rich tapestry of breasts. After two kids and 10 years together, I think my wife's pair of aces is just as incredible as when she first taught me how to play Texas hold 'em. (Worst poker metaphor ever? Yup.) Luckily, Karel still loves her girls too, and proudly displays them despite all the changes they've undergone in the last decade. An appreciated boob is a sexy boob, whether it's an A cup or a double D, whether there is a little sag or one's bigger than the other. If you love your breasts and think they're hot, so will your guy.

What you're doing with your hair down there.
Sometimes I trim my beard, sometimes I don't. Feel free to take the same approach, because I'm not really paying attention. I've had this discussion with friends, and we all agree that the product is a lot more interesting than the packaging. So grow it out, trim it, make a funny design like a lighting bolt or an arrow, just have fun with it. One personal caveat: I'm not a fan of totally waxed pubic hair. I think it's creepy and weird to fetishize the look of prepubescence. And regrowth is no fun for either party. Besides, people who take pubic hair for granted are destined to wear a merkin.

Split ends.
What are these things? I see so many commercials about split ends, and the women in those commercials seem very concerned. I couldn't identify a split end if it robbed me at gunpoint.

WHAT MEN DO NOTICE

When you fake the color of your skin.
You know what freaks me out? Women spending money on products and treatments to make their skin darker. You know what's equally crazy? Women spending money on products and treatments to make their skin lighter. The end results always seem to hover around "orange" or "E.T. when he's sick." Natural is hot: I love dark skin. I love olive and caramel skin, and Gothy pale white skin. Sick alien and Creamsicle orange I don't dig so much, and I don't know any guys who do.

Lips that have been injected with a foreign substance.
So creepy. Take it from me: Collagen injections don't make a woman look like Angelina Jolie; they make her look like she's just had invasive dental surgery.

Frozen face. (Are you detecting a trend?)
Why do men despise it when you inject your wrinkles away? Let me see, maybe it's because it robs you of the ability to convey human emotions like surprise or worry.

Husband: "Honey, you seem strangely unmoved by the fact that the dog just ate a carving knife."

Wife: "I'm furrowing my brow with concern… on the inside."

Scars.
And so we come back to the stretch marks. At one point Karel's were red and unmissable, along with her C-section scar, but they don't, and never did, bother me. I don't think other guys mind them either, as evidenced by the fact that many strippers out there have obvious C-section scars (don't ask me how I know this). In Karel's case, they are physical evidence of our shared history and of the pain Karel was willing to endure for our family. They show just how tough my wife is.

In fact, all scars represent experience and endurance. One of the most beautiful women I've ever seen was a nude model in a figure-study class I took in college. She was in her 20s and had an athletic body, but what made her exceptional were the severe burn scars all over her back. I loved that she had the confidence to reveal them in a room full of strangers who were there to stare at her.

Look, I know this sounds like I'm blowing sunshine. But I really believe that a roll here, a scar there (or, potentially, a Batman-symbol bikini wax) is a sign of fun, strength, experience, and an active imagination — all of which are positive indicators for awesome sex. See? I'm really just as shallow as the next guy.

REDBOOK columnist Aaron Traister lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. Read his blog at redbookmag.com/whysguy.

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