More Important Than Lipstick

Today I was going to write about something incredibly important: Namely, I found a really fantastic long-wearing neutral-but-better lip color for cheap yesterday and I want to shout my love for it over the reverberate hills. However, today the base color is pilling a little bit (I think I would’ve preferred a gloss to a balm as the top coat) and I’ve got something even nearer and dearer to my heart than functional and affordable cosmetics.

Men.

DAMN I love men.

I mean sure, individually they can be problematic and loathsome, but generally speaking I like guys.

Now let’s not pretend I’m breaking new ground, or have a single thing figured out about relationships that’s going to make your life better. I’m not and I don’t, but I do like men and I think it’s a damn shame there are so many barriers we put up, especially as big girls, that –although we probably come by them honestly– put us in an adversarial relationship with men at, uh, large.

Because men? Are kinda great.

First of all, you can sleep with them. I really feel this can’t be overstated. You certainly don’t have to sleep with them (ever!) and plenty of women don’t, but it’s a nice option to have. Plus they’re not women. Now don’t get me wrong, I think women are fab. Some of my best friends are women, many of whom were born that way, and yet there’s something to be said for the whole la différence thing that’s been vive-ing for years in France and although the idea of dating a French man ever EVER again takes me from zero-to-fetal position in under six seconds, (and frankly I already have a Birkin, so I don’t need to!) they’ve got a point.

And the reciprocal side is: Men love me too.

Yes, even though I’m fat, opinionated, and crazy as a a hamster in a g-string a good 40-50% of my waking life, they still love me.

You may think I’ve got some special potent allure. Hell no. I assure you, I’m a pretty enough girl but I’ve got all special potent allure of a decomposing ferret. Men like me for two reasons (no, not those two reasons, although thank YOU Lane Bryant plunge bra): I like myself and I like them.

That’s it. No special allure, no seven simple tricks. I got nothin’ but a loud mouth, a flawless rack and a great appreciation for men –even the ones I don’t want to see naked– and myself.

And let’s talk about the guys we don’t want to sleep with. The guys at work, our guy friends, because unless you’re the reincarnation of Blanche Devereaux, odds are the vast majority of the men you meet will fall into this category.

It’s important to like these guys too. Or heck, maybe it isn’t important, but it makes life a lot more fun if you can flirt shamelessly and harmlessly with these fellas instead of becoming “One of the Boys” (ASK ME how much I hate that term. You do not have to give up your gender identity to have male friends. I promise.) or living in an Us vs Them dichotomy of grimness, pink books and cats.

And then there are the guys we DO want to sleep with.

I worry about my big sisters who say they want to date but haven’t been out with a man in X years.

Sure there are guys who are dicks out there, especially if you’re fat. But you don’t want to waste your time with them anyway so it’s no loss.

However, there are also a ton of great guys out there and a lot more of them than maybe you’d think are perfectly happy to go out with bigger women. I get asked out on dates all the time (sometimes even by guys who are neither drunk nor homeless!) and as I said before, I assure you I have no special man-trapping qualities, I’m not a bad lookin’ gal but no one’s going to confuse me with Carmen Dell’orefice any time soon. The best I can figure is they keep coming because they want to buy what I’m selling, and they want it because I believe and more importantly project what I’ve got going on –and I’m talking the whole package, body, brains, crazy and all– isn’t just worth having, it’s worth getting on all fours and begging for.

What do you all think about the “gender wars”, men and big girls, men as friends in general and the whole shebang?

27 Responses to “More Important Than Lipstick”

  1. Jezebella September 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    You know what would be awesome? Is if everybody laid off the damned “spinster cat lady” stereotype. It’s tiresome, unfair, and frankly offensive. Seriously. People with cats are not universally living lives of sad spinster grimness.

    Ain’t nothin’ wrong with pink boots, neither, ma’am.

  2. Plumcake September 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm #

    pink books, not pink boots. Cat hair on the screen again?

  3. Mifty September 23, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I’ve always liked men and find most very easy to talk to. But I think that is in part because of a variation on a lack of confidence, or perhaps, much of the time, a lack of interest.

    At my age (48) and with my more-or-less circular physique, there’s ordinarily no expectation on my part or that of the guy that anybody will find anybody appealing. I never think of the men I meet in terms of their being interested in me, and most men I know, though very nice and all, would be stunned to think I would be interested in them. So it just doesn’t arise, and we can all relax.

    I am not generalizing to men at large, necessarily. It’s just that I live in a tough town for fat chicks and work at the edges of the fringes of the entertainment biz, so the men I meet tend to be really appearance-conscious (and/or gay). So I’m not a threat or a temptation, and I can, usually — because I’m talkative and opinionated and never apologetic about my size — be taken pretty much on my own terms, which is not bad for a middle-aged fat broad. It’s not unusual for me to have more men to chat with at an industry gathering than the babes all around me.

    Not disagreeing with Ms. Plumcake, just a different way of looking at it, I suppose. But I do admit it would be nice, from time to time, to be looked at as a female, rather than just an eccentric or amusing colleague or companion. I had that when I was young and pretty, and I still kind of miss it.

    (I am a spinster and have therefore been issued the statutorily required cat. No pink books, though, or none that I can spot offhand on the shelves. A pair of pink boots would be awesome.)

  4. retna September 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Men are often quite wonderful. I have a lovely little man of my own, and have a few close male friends. Some of whom want to get closer despite knowing about my little man, my size, my kids and my age. Which is great by me but annoys the little man no end. The best men find the best in women attractive – spirituality, spirit, character, personality, attitude, intelligence, conversational ability – the size of the woman is not the main issue. And we should not feel less because of our size when interacting with men. There is more to us than meets the eye, but we have to know that and believe that, so that others can see it too.

  5. The gold digger September 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Mifty, go to sheplers.com. Their pink cowboy boots are on sale for $49.99 for the next two days. I just ordered red ones. Everyone should have pink or red boots. Or purple. Or orange. Whatever.

  6. Mifty September 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Thanks, gold digger! Those are totally cute, and a great price…. and I’m afraid I just ordered myself a few-days-delayed birthday present. (I am NOT too old for pink cowboy boots! I’m not!)

  7. Cat September 23, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    You know, I kinda have problems with this post.

    Now, Madame Plumcake, don’t get me wrong, in many, many cases I find your insights impeccable, and your zingers stingy as ever.

    HOWEVER, going the route of “Love yourself” and “Love Them” is NOT always the way to go to actually get dates from the kind of guys you actually want to date.

    I dress nice (particularly after some good advise from your Beautiful Self), and I love myself. I am not a shy, retiring type. And I like people in general, and many men in specific.

    But I am still – in most cases – relegated to the “one of the guys” side of the menu; or if I am not, it is usually the “users” and the “gross” guys who tend to try to go all “romantic” (as THEY define it – not how *I* define it) all over me.

    Now, I will be the first to admit to being more of a tom-boy type in many ways. I am strong-willed, strong-minded, and have few (if any) of the Southern belle niceties that you have wafting and flowing around yourself.

    And there’s nothing wrong with your Feminine Self, nor anything wrong with mine! It’s just the way we are.

    Doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to have more “decent” (I don’t care size — but must have intelligence, humor and wit) men find me romantically acceptable. But I don’t want to have to fake an “over feminized” self just to get it. I like who I am exactly as I am. I am not ever going to be a “lace and frills” girl – I’m far more the “leather and chains” type. But I also live in Minnesota, the land that seems FULL of the Casper Milquetoast and Wanda Whitebread types (regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, the personas that are the majority in Minnesota are fairly uniformly bland – those of us who don’t fit the blandness stand out like sore thumbs, and tend to be “disapproved of” — which I could care less about for the most part, but when most of the men that you have the chance to meet are of that type, they aren’t exactly looking for a more “exotic” type to have anything more than a “quick fling” with, and THIS GAL does NOT do 1-night stands anymore).

    Anyways….back to the comment……Not everyone gets the man (or the many men) by “Love Yourself” and “Love Them” advice. Some of us still struggle.

  8. Twistie September 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    @Jezebella: As a happily married woman who has been cat-owned since before she could walk under her own power, I am absolutely with you about the sad, pathetic, cat woman trope.

    Boots, I love. Pink, I can usually do very well without. Your mileage may vary.

    Topic: Men, women, I deal in individuals, not what they zip into their jeans.

  9. GoP September 23, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    I really dig L’Oreal Infallible in Rosebud.

  10. Debs September 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    I have known so many conventionallly attractive girls who are so insecure and rely on men to validate that attractiveness (even if the guy is a dick and it should be obvious!). It seems so much like common sense and self-confidence–and a bit of old-fashioned waiting to sleep with the idiot—trumps body size.

    I’ve been with my high-school sweet heart since, um, senior year, then I became a lawyer and law seems to attract a disproportionate number of dicks (sorry! my opinon!) But, I’m generally a misanthrope. I dislike all people, but women often surprise me by being great. Men, not so much.

    “Cat Lady” is one of my favorite insults to use in public when a lady with peculiar hair in an oddly overstuffed, dented Camry with 15 bumber stickers takes two spaces in Berkeley, but I’ll try to stop.

  11. Lisa from SoCal September 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    I am so helplessly unhip that I don’t know what pink books are.

  12. daisyj September 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Do these count for the color? Because I think that’s about as close as I want to come to pink in a boot. (Although these are appropriate for the person who is going to wear them, but then, if you are that person, then you already knew that.) Also, I cannot praise Laura Mercier lipgloss highly enough. Doesn’t hardly last all day, but looks great and will definitely make it through at least one meal.
    .
    Men? Depends on the day. Sometimes I can’t stand them, sometimes I think they’re really pretty all right. And sometimes one of them is cooking me duck breast for dinner and I really shouldn’t be complaining at all.

  13. abdabs September 24, 2010 at 4:03 am #

    Lisa, I’m guessing ChickLit. You know, the ones which they plaster a bright pink cover with cheerful text on.

  14. sugarsick September 24, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    I think it’s way too easy for confident women to say that their confidence is the key to their success, with men or otherwise. I’ve been on both sides of that divide. At my lowest? I still got men. Some of them were the weaselly creeps who love a sad girl, but then there were a couple of genuinely sweet guys (or weaselly creep guys posing rather well as gentlemen) who helped me gain more confidence in myself. Yep. Some men helped me gain confidence. Or regain what I had had before or whatever. So, it’s way too easy to say where your confidence should come from, or that you must have confidence to get dates with men or women, or anyone.

    BUT I can really get down with what Plumcake is saying about “gender wars.” For years I relegated myself to being one of the guys among my friends, even as I was having plenty of success dating outside of my friendship circles. Realizing that my guy friends didn’t think of me as a guy? Blew my mind. And it made me think: when meeting new people, either starting a new job, or each new schoolyear when there are new students, I’ve always had a tendency to label the new men I meet based on whether I’m attracted to them or not. I don’t do this so anymore because I’m in a relationship, but meeting someone new always came with the question of whether they were somehow a dating possibility or not. Not whether they’d like me or in any kind of husband-seeking manner, but still it was there. And I think a lot of the men I’ve encountered have the same attitude. And how seriously you take your interactions with the other person is based on how you label them.

  15. Cat September 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    It’s really nice to see multiple experiences with the opposite sex. Whether a woman is gay or straight, we all have dealings with men that cross the spectrum of experience. With @sugarsick, it seems to her that it is labeling, with Plumcake, it’s confidence. With me, it’s where on the spectrum of femininity I consider myself to be.

    I enjoy being reminded that the way I view the world isn’t the only way that the world gets seen!

  16. Mifty September 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Weighing in one last time, so to speak. I basically agree with a good part of Cat’s remarks.

    Self-confidence is great, but it is not magic, and it will not in itself bring men flocking around a woman they are not otherwise attracted to. Many very together, confident women are alone. The idea is to be OK with that.

  17. wildflower September 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Being confident, happy, and mentally healthy are all great, whether they attract a partner or not. In fact, it would seem to me that “attracting a partner” is only one item on a long list of benefits. :)

  18. Astra September 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    The older and more crotchety I get, the more I like men. I am a scientist and so I heavily interact with men. I like the blunt, analytical conversation, the fact that I generally don’t have to worry if I hurt someone’s feelings (they’ll tell me if they’re pissed), the focused (dare I say simple) worldview.

    I never had trouble meeting guys because there were always plenty who liked the decently attractive plus total geek combination, but I also don’t think there are simple answers for meeting people. The dating scene appears to have become very complicated these days. Part of the problem may be that people are waiting to marry, which is fine except that your best chance to meet people is in school.

    I like cat lady jokes but then I’m also a dog person.

  19. Thea September 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I have to agree with Mifty and Wildflower. I’ve know utter basket cases that had men in their lives and women who were a super model/goddess combo pack that were alone.

    Personally, I can see now cases when I was younger where men did like me and I was completely oblivous to it and put myself in the ‘friend zone’ because it never occurred to me that anyone could possibly like a chubby chick.

    But I’ve also had the experience of being completely ignored because I wasn’t the LA standard of beauty. Confidence helps, but it can be a hard road to reach and no guarantees that it will bring you anything but peace of mind.

    As I get older and more confident, I can acknowledge that sometimes men are attracted to me – sometimes attractive men – and more and more it’s men who like me because I AM comfortable in my skin – and the sweatshirt covering said skin. Because you really need someone who likes the real you in all your quirky glory – otherwise it will just wear out.

    And my fav neutral lipstick is Cover Girl Outlast in Naturalist. I’m a pale strawberry blonde and it give my lips definition without making a statement

  20. Miss B September 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    I’m recently divorced (going on two years) and have thrust myself back into the dating scene again. While I have had a few men not interested in me due to size, the majority have not seen that as a problem. Alas, none of them have been a good fit yet, but I have made some good friends and had lovely times with them.

    I figure that I’m not going to beat around the bush, or play particularly coy but just be my fabulous self and when the time and person is right then it will all be good. I still struggle with the fact that particularly attractive men might find li’l ol’ me attractive but I am learning to smile, say thank you and stop de-valuing myself.

    I am also the proud caretaker of two cats. The plan is, should I ever find myself in possession of more than the average number of kitties, to buy one of those stick figure stickers for my car that is a woman and eleventy billion of the cats and plaster the rear bumper with them and change my license plate to “CT LDY 1″

    CAT LADY PRIDE!!!

  21. J September 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    This is particularly interesting given the recent discussion on a bunch of law blogs about how it is more difficult for confident, successful women attorneys to find romantic success, because men are intimidated by them. It seems the message we’re all getting is “be confident, but in a sexy, feminine way, but not in a way that makes you aggressive or masculine.” A very fine line to walk…

  22. Klee September 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I might as well send you a residual check now, because I totally plan of using your “crazier than a hamster in a G string” line first chance I get.

  23. dcsurfergirl September 25, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    I can count one hand the number of female friends I have. I lost count of the male friends. It’s just like that.

    For what it’s worth, here are my top fave nude lip colors:

    1. Estee Lauder All Day Classic Nude (one of their All Day lipsticks)
    2. Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy (lipstick or gloss)
    3. Lancome La Laque Fever in Iridescent (great for evening with smoky eye makeup)

    Sorry these aren’t cheap but they are great colors.
    Take care, y’all.

  24. The gold digger September 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Mifty, my red boots arrived on Friday. I love them! BTW, I am 46 and no, I am not too old for red boots, either.

  25. Leslie September 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    once upon a time, I blogged about loving men. They’re a special sort of awesome just like women are a special sort of awesome in our own way. Men just have something that women don’t (ignoring obvious penis jokes.

    They’re fun. When you’re a confident women, fat or not, they respond to that. Hell, everyone does. I worked in a mainly male dominated workplace for about six years. Its hilarious and random and flirtatious and raucous. I now work in a female dominated workplace and its hilarious and flirtatious and raucous, but in a softer, please dont hurt my feelings sort of way. I always feel freer with men. They feel safe to me. Women are uncharted, scary, weird territory – and my best friends know that I feel this way about them.

    But yes. Men. I love men. Almost every shape and size, personality, vitality. I love their anger, their love, their goofiness, their sexuality and expression of that (where ever they sit on the Kinsey scale), their shoulders in a well fitted suit jacket, and that all any one of them has to do to look sexy is put on a tux.

    I love that men also recognize that I love them, and love me back for it.

    Oh, and I have both Pink Books and Pink Boots. They’re both awesome.

  26. slownews September 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Oh, that Maybelline color stay stuff? I am loving the 785, a dark pink mauve, myself. But there are caveats to getting it on looking normal and getting it to wear off evenly. They are: 1. it gloops out of the bottle too much to get a thin coat. Blot that applicator on a tissue first and then 2. apply your super duper thin coat. 3. seriously wait for it to dry! And that’s it. Took me about two weeks to figure that out, but now I’m hooked. Stay wonderful,

  27. Siobhan September 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Lipstick: Loreal Infallible Terra Cotta – I am serious, it is like one shade darker than my regular lips but it never comes off ever ever. That stuff is amazing.