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Sat, March 23

Around the Bluhmin' Town: The dreaded, ‘Does this make me look fat’ question

Does this dress make me look fat? Hmm ... this is evidently one of the most frequently asked questions that wives pose to their husbands. Sadly, there is no correct answer.

It seems as though the longer a couple stay married, the more often a husband might be coaxed to respond to this tricky, if not downright perilous question.

Sitcoms have been based on this premise, books written on the topic, arguments have ensued and feelings have been hurt. Honesty may be a wonderful virtue. Men, do not even try it in this situation! Punt, run, stumble, fumble or simply refuse to answer.

I have a girlfriend, Joy, who asked her husband last week, “Do these pants make me look fat?” George, being a thoughtful man, took a deep breath and very meekly said, “a little.”

Okay, what’s wrong with that? From what I understand the conversation went “sideways” when my friend proceeded to ask him what pants didn’t make her look “chubby” and George became tongue-tied.

In his defense, he claimed he just didn’t know her wardrobe well enough to comment. Their plans to go out to a Mexican dinner abruptly changed when Joy said she suddenly felt like sushi. Tight pants and enchiladas just don’t mix. Chips and salsa? Forget about it. Raw fish with seaweed ... now there’s a winning combination.

So why, ladies, do we ask our husbands questions if we don’t want to hear the answers?

Many a psychologist has written on this very topic, with no particular conclusion. But, there are some “answers” to the “do I look fat” question that seem very useful.

A colleague asked her husband, “Does my outfit make me look fat?” Her ever-cool spouse replied, “It’s not my job to comment on your weight. I am here to tell you the truth and you are always beautiful.” Nice one! I told this to my husband, Doug, and he shook his head and laughed out loud.

What’s so funny?

There are some physicians and “experts” out there who think we are all obsessed with weight. Dieting is big business, being thin (really thin) is the standard for all super models and yet, most Americans struggle with a few too many pounds.

If the American Medical Association’s statistics are true, about one-third of Americans are overweight and another third are obese.

Yikes! And now the new term is “over-fat” which means even rather thin people can be carrying too much belly fat around. Ugh. Of course our pants are too tight! We have become a super-sized nation of people still trying to squeeze ourselves into ill-fitting outfits that make us look like stuffed sausages. Or, maybe we don’t even recognize a “normal” weight (in ourselves and others).

From “trick questions” to “wrong answers,” sometimes less asking, more encouragement and a three-way mirror is the best “solution.” But if I must have to ask, Dear Readers, “Do I look fat in this dress,” please ignore me. I am just having a bad day. No response or emails necessary.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at


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