My Baltimore Spirit Listen Live

Last week, in an attempt to help out every man in a relationship, I talked about how, despite what most men think, women are not that complicated. It’s simply a case of men not truly wanting to understand their lady. We also talked about  how she wants her feelings to be heard and understood, not solved. This week, we’ll deal with an issue that many, if not every, man has dealt with — women’s appearances. Men, here’s what you need to know:

She wants to know that you, more than anyone else, find her beautiful.

I have no doubt your woman is beautiful. But does she know that? When was the last time you told her so? She doesn’t keep up her appearance just to feel attractive to her girlfriends, or her coworkers, or the world at large. She wants to know that you, above all others, are attracted to her.

I know you think your woman is confident, secure, and has all kinds of “swagger” (forgive me for using that word, it just worked). But deep, deep down inside, she still longs for your approval. Don’t underestimate the influence you have on a woman’s self esteem — especially where her appearance is concerned.

The world in which we live puts an enormous amount of stress on women to conform to a certain image, a specific size and shape. And, let’s be honest, there are probably more women that don’t meet the culture’s beauty standard than there are those who do. Does that mean that most women are unacceptable, unattractive, or unwanted? Absolutely not! What it means is that your woman needs the affirmation that you, above everyone else, find her beautiful.

Let me tell you a story. The other day, my girlfriend and I were discussing a party that we’d be attending in a few days, and what we should wear. She pulled out a dress (that I had never seen her wear before) from her closet and said, “What about this one?” I, then, proceeded to say one of the dumbest things I have ever said, and, hopefully, will ever say in my life: “I do not like that dress at all! It’s hideous!”

While I was exaggerating— the dress was not really hideous; I just didn’t like it — she didn’t know that.

“Are you serious?” she replied, while looking at me with a mean side eye.

“Yes. What is that zipper doing there? Why does it stop at such a random place? I just don’t like it at all.” (You see the hole I’m digging myself into, right, guys?)

She puts the dress back  in her closet and we move on. A few days later, we’re driving in the car when she turns to me and says, “You know, the other day when you said my dress was hideous? That really hurt my feelings.” I had no idea.

“I’m so sorry, baby! I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. What I said wasn’t directed towards you or your sense of style, I just didn’t like that particular dress. Or maybe it just looks better on that I imagine it does. I don’t know. My bad.”

“I know you didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but it did,” she replied.

“I’m sorry. I just didn’t like it and you know I’m not one to hold my tongue. I appreciate you saying something about it — I never would have known.”

(She has since showed me the dress on, and I’ll admit I was wrong. It is definitely not hideous. We actually joke about my use of the word “hideous” from time to time.)

There are two things that you can learn from my horrible mistake. First, your opinion matters immensely to her! Second, don’t ever criticize what she is wearing. Period. She doesn’t care if your criticizing her earrings, dress, shoes or make-up — she will take your criticism as a direct reflection of herself, her beauty, and your attraction to her.

Your woman knows her body, flaws and all, very specifically. And for her, the flaws she has often seem larger than they really are (or maybe even larger than you may see them). That’s where your compliments and affirmations come into play. Your job is to undermine what the world sees as flaws and show her her true beauty.

If you compliment your lady and she is reluctant to take your compliments (i.e. You say, “Baby, you look nice tonight,” and she replies, “No, I don’t.”) that’s all the more reason for you to continue to sincerely compliment her. Her deflection or refusal of the compliments speak directly to where some of her insecurity lie. Keep reinforcing her beauty until she believes it more and more.

When it comes to complimenting women, sincerity is a must, specificity is a bonus. If the compliment isn’t sincere, it means nothing. Tell her you like her cheekbones, or the way her eyes look when she smiles, or how that dress compliments her skin tone. Specific compliments mean so much more than a general, “You look nice.”

Generally speaking, compliments about her butt and breasts are best left unsaid, unless done very tactfully. For example, saying, “Wow! I love how that dress shows off your shape; you are gorgeous.” is a good idea. Saying, “Nice rack!” is a horrible idea. Those are not the kind of specifics she’s looking for. In my experience, the best compliments you can give are on her smile or her eyes, but you have to determine what attracts you to her specifically and use that. Authenticity is paramount!

One more thing — she never, no, never, looks fine. I don’t mean fine as in, “That woman is fine.” I mean fine as “ok.” As in, “How do I look honey?” and you reply, “Oh, you look fine.” Saying she looks fine (or, for that matter, okay) may as well be saying that she looks horrible and should go change.

Gentlemen, I should also inform you of the 30 second rule (in case you’re not aware). Here’s the rule — you have 30 seconds from the time you first see her to compliment her. Past those 30 seconds, it seems forced, done out of obligation, and insincere. Of course, reaffirming how good she looks is not only suggested, but recommended.

Say you’re on a date. You pick her up and give her a compliment within the 30 second window. Good job. Later, during dinner or even dessert, compliment her again. “Baby, I know I already told you how much I loved your dress, but you really do look wonderful tonight.” Now, keep in mind that you can’t do this every time, but as long as it’s genuine and specific, she won’t mind.

[Written by Stuart McDonald for For more from Stuart, check out his personal blogfollow him on Twitter, and connect with him on Facebook.]

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