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A Thin Line Between Love And Weight -- STARTS HERE --

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I fell in love with a woman I met in an online chat room a few months ago. We write and phone each other every day. Early on, she sent me photos of herself, and she was gorgeous. Recently, she admitted that she hadn't been completely honest with me. The photos were old, she said. She has a thyroid problem that made her gain weight. She sent me pictures of the way she looks now, and the difference is night and day. I'm still in love with her, but since I've seen the new pictures, I feel deceived, hurt, and confused. Did I love her for her looks at first? Should I continue a romance with a woman who started out by lying to me?

--Jack Sprat

Love might be blind, but lust can spot a hot mama miles away.

So, Chat Girl is living a little larger than she originally let on. Drop the trustworthiness question for a moment and answer the lustworthiness question: Do you still have the hots for her in the new value-pack size (50% more, free!)? Look only to the lust index for your answer. Yes, she might be an extraordinary human being with an electrifying personality. So is Billy Crystal, but you probably don't even want to think about him reclining on your duvet wearing nothing but a shy smile.

If you don't have the hots for Chat Girl, don't hurt your back crawling around looking for them under the couch or behind the entertainment center. It's true that some people get better looking as you get to know them -- if, for example, they're very kind, or offer you large sums of money that you never have to pay back. Unfortunately, unlike beauty and bread mold, sexual attraction does not grow over time.

Part of you feels guilty for not breathing heavily over Chat Girl's personality alone -- probably a part that got kidnapped and brainwashed by one or more of those "love me/love my mustache" feminists. Did you want her for her hot bod at first? Well, yeah. You're a man. That's how men are wired and have been wired since grabbing a little fast food meant reaching under a log for a handful of grubs. Getting mad at a man for being into how a woman looks is like getting mad at a dog for walking on four legs and barking instead of tiptoeing around on two while reciting Proust.

Getting mad at Chat Girl doesn't make much sense either. So she lied. All lies should not be scored the same. It's not like she was trying to swindle a bunch of grannies out of their pensions. She just wanted you to love her, and thought once you did, the...uh, bigger picture might not matter. Relax. Have a little compassion. Chances are, she's spent much of the past two months jogging around the house in Saran Wrap and searching the Internet for flesh-eating bacteria by mail.

Providing you don't find her unlustworthy, do what you should have done months ago: Go meet her. That's the only way you'll know for sure whether you're into her. It's also the only way you'll know whether there are other essential details she hasn't gotten into...like maybe she has even more in common with Billy Crystal than dry wit and a winning personality.

c2000, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.

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