What Men Do - and Don't - Notice About Your Body
Aaron Traister explains why guys don't see your supposed flaws — except when you try too hard to hide them.
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.
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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.
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."
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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It gives me hope to think that there are decent men out there who don't idolize the disgusting fake trends like orange skin, bee-stung lips and invasive plastic surgery, and who think that women's bodies are beautiful even after having children. Not to mention the scarring issue, I have quite a large scar on my back from scoliosis repair surgeries. The scoliosis has left me slightly disfigured, people stare but it doesn't stop me from wearing what I like to wear.
In the summer, regardless of my disfigurement I wear a bikini to swim and if people don't like it they don't have to look :)
I don't have a perfect beach bod, even if I did I wouldn't want to be stared at like a piece of meat. Women should embrace how they look and stop looking at all the sh*t in magazines. Photoshop isn't real life.
Dear Mr. Aaron Traister - i must say i thought all the decent guys were gone - you sir are not only a fine gentleman but a credit to humanity & a good role model for men young & old! Your wife is one lucky lady.
Thank You on behalf of Women everywhere!!!!
Well MsCatfur there is at least one more like him and, for myself, I come from the planet Earth.
The simple truth is that perfection is boring, variety as the old saying goes is the spice of life. All I can say is that it is the little imperfections that makes a woman interesting to me, not the breast size or the perfect figure. The perfect woman is one that accepts what she is and accepts me as I am. If I were perfect then maybe I would want the perfect woman but I am far from perfect. I love this article as it expresses quite well my own outlook and what I feel about women. Be yourself and enjoy what you have cause there are many of us that will love you a lot more that way.
It's nice to see someone agreeing with my husband. (My wonderful husband who told me to eat what I want as long as I keep up being fit & healthy, and that he'd like to see me gain a couple more pounds). He thinks men who like women completely bare down there (not just trimmed, but completely bald) are closeted pedophiles.
The sexiest thing my husband ever did? He grabbed my little extra bit of tummy during sex. Totally changed my opinion about how my body looked to me.
Glad to see there are a few decent men in this world. I bet you have more sex than the men who want the perfect barbie doll.
Great article! I think most good guys share the same view including my husband.
"E.T. when he's sick" .....this is the best thing i've read in my life, the whole 20 years of it haha
We appreciate atitude over all, if you complain about how you look, we might notice. If you are laughing and happy, we will be grab assing and enjoying the fact that you are not b*tching and having fun. You can make us oblivious to a lot of your body concerns.
We also have an overall, overriding, over indulgent need for intimacy, translation sex. If you are on board, it can be superficial and quick, but great for us. If you need the the full meal deal, we can get on board for that too. Neither require a whole lot of encouragement for most of us.
We enjoy rocking your boat, how often is your call. Attitude is everything. Sure there are some clods around that don't get it. I apologize if you got one.
My 45 years or so of enjoying women are not flawless, I have been the idiot too. I am very lucky to have had chances to amend my mistakes. I am a Lucky Guy.
Your right about many things, off base on others. Your in the minority about the pubic hair, very few men like hair down there, to each their own, but your speaking for “Men” in this article, ensure your personal preference doesn’t override who you claim to be speaking for. And from my research, men absolutely notice women’s bellies, think you’re a bit lazy for having it, however the good stuff overrides the bad, and your absolutely right about covering up at the beach, major turn off for most men.
What are your thoughts on baby names?
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- I like trendy names that make the annual list of most popular names.
- I prefer unique names with different spellings.
- I stand by classic names that will never get old.
- I have no opinion.