No Esteem. No Bra. No Problem.

Caveman

Yesterdays post, coupled with a very nice afternoon together, got us talking and thinking about the experience we mentioned.  We thought it very interesting that we started with disparate interpretations but ultimately ended up in the same place.  Since Paul promised to continue his insights to the experience, we figured we would continue the talk today.  We know we are supposed to be answering reader questions so here is the question that we asked ourselves:  You mentioned that a few weeks after you were married Paul asked Lee to go to dinner without wearing a bra?  Why was that incident so memorable?

Lee says:  Great question!!  You are one of our most insightful and intelligent readers.  May I also add sexy!  This was a very significant experience for me on multiple levels.  Like I had mentioned, we were naïve.  We were young and very inexperienced in relationships.  We had never felt like that before for anyone else and were engaged only 17 days after deciding to date.  We didn’t play any games with each other in terms of gaining advantage or manipulations.  We talked, discussed, created business plans, explored and experimented.  So this experience was one of the first cross roads in our marriage where our foundations, beliefs and dysfunction ran at each other head to head.    

          For me, the experience of having my new husband tell me not to wear a bra and that he didn’t care who looked at me since I belonged to him was like being drenched in cold water.  It was the complete antithesis to what I had experienced growing up with my parents.  Paul would never treat me like my parents treated each other and, more importantly, he knew that I was committed to him. 

          The deeper understanding of this experience was that Paul actually loved my body.  As a big girl all my life, poor body image was a given.  I had done every diet in the world and had virtually disowned my own chubbiness.  However, here was the man I loved, not only saying he loved my chunky body but he also was proud to be seen with me!  This boosted my self esteem to such a level that even to this day I have a better body image than most women.  It’s amazing what love can do for you!

          These were some of the initial conscious thoughts.  I was able to dissect pretty quickly that Paul was not the jealous type and jealousy, as we all know, is a form of insecurity.  Now, at that point in our lives, no one could have ever accused us as being self assured or confident.  Paul is and was a self proclaimed geek.  He proudly tells people that while others were having fun and getting laid at their proms, he was programming a computer.  So here is my tall, geeky guy, weighing, at the time, 130 lbs, telling me, not unlike some Neanderthal, that I was his woman and he wanted to flaunt it!  Sure, as a feminist I should have verbally bitch slapped him for that one but it was such a definitive and profound declaration for him at that time that, ultimately, I was proud of him.  What can I say? I loved when he beat his chest and dragged me back to his cave! Like most of our posts, we actually discuss them but this one was special.  We realized we each took away something very different from the experience because of our gender, not because of our upbringing.   

          Paul says: For me, this was all an exercise in trust. I was, and am, proud of Lee; her form, her mind, and her wit. I trusted that…

          …to be honest, I’m still uncertain what I was trusting. I trusted Lee to come home with me, to be her flirtatious, fun self and still be my faithful wife at the end of the day. I trusted that I, at 130 lb and geeky, would be able to beat away my simian-like challengers and be super husband with the strongest musk glands.  I was dominant, not over Lee but over my environment and with her at my side.

           

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