Six words that are guaranteed to fill the bravest heart with icy dread are, “Does this make me look fat?” My wife began testing the breaking strain of our relationship with this irksome little question on Saturday evening as we prepared to go out for dinner. Even though I could see it coming a mile off, I knew it was a trap with virtually no escape. The best I could hope for was some form of damage limitation and relatively few tears.
You see, my spouse has always had the classic female pear shape, but the rigours of motherhood have added a few extra curves. The Botticelli look doesn’t bother me, but it’s a huge (no pun intended) issue for her. The reflection she sees in the mirror does not match the body image she carries in her mind and hence the six words of doom pop up to twist my viscera every so often. I know she wants reassurance, but the correct response has to be fashioned as carefully as a Faberge egg. Any hesitation or inkling of insincerity in my answer will send her into the pit of depression. Of course, any sprinkling of honesty will have the same effect. Essentially, she wants me to lie to her, but it has to be convincing. I am not an accomplished liar. I can dissemble and divert, but most people see through my bullshit in nanoseconds. The only way I can lie convincingly, is if I believe what I’m saying. Catch-22.
Inspiration struck in the form of twisted Orwellian doublethink logic: She is looking a bit rounder in the buttock area, but no item of clothing (short of a suit of armour) would really be able to conceal her true form. So it isn’t the actual dress that makes her look like that and therefore… “No, it doesn’t make you look fat”. All smiles. Ka-pweeng! Bullet safely dodged. Dinner was at Bardelli’s and it was very pleasant, thank you.