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It bothers me when my girlfriend wears sexy clothes. I don’t feel she’s dressed appropriately whenever we’re together. We fight about it all the time because I suggest she should be more covered up when we go out, and I feel she should save her sexy stuff for when it’s just us. She told me to leave her alone, but what she wears reflects on me too, right? How do I stop telling my girlfriend what to wear?
Just… stop? We guess?
Only we know it isn’t as simple as that. Curse you, toxic masculinity! And once again, it will be mansplained by a faceless entity on the internet why you shouldn’t be telling your GF what to wear anymore—in the hopes that the how of it becomes easier.
Let’s break it down. You say you mean well—you don’t want her wearing skimpy shit because you’re afraid of inevitable pambabastos. You know how guys think, you smugly tell your girl, and you’re just being protective. In the '90s that would have earned you heart eyes, but in 2018, your girl would probably just punch you on the nose (metaphorically, you hope).
Gents, in case you haven’t noticed, women are freakishly more independent than ever. They. Do. Not. Give. A. Shit. About. What. You. Think. And honestly, doesn’t that make them sexier? They know what they want to do with their lives—they have ironclad bucket lists and bulletproof life plans that involve solo trips to Paris and Mari Kondo-ing their closets—and if they know where they want to be by 35, then you can bet your ass they know what they want to wear to work today. They know what they look good in. Most importantly, they know how to dress for themselves. They already know what to wear when meeting your parents for the first time. They know better than to mix Sunday church OOTDs with Saturday night OOTDs. They know what to wear to weddings (never white), wakes (white is safest), and weekend brunches (white—what is it with chicks and white everything?) And if your girl isn’t the type who doesn’t know any of these things, well, that’s on her and not on you.
Yup, that’s a reality check right there—your girlfriend is wearing what she’s wearing because she wants to. Not because she’s intentionally pissing you off. Not because she’s trying to get attention from other guys. You say you’re being protective? Feminists (aka basically every woke woman there is, aka the women you want to be around and date, newsflash) say you’re being controlling.
A woman knows a thing or two about being controlled, even in the most insidious of ways. She already knows the disgusting manong on the corner of the street is going to leer at her as she walks past. She already knows how gross it feels, and she’s already changed both her outfits and her outlook thanks to creeps she sees on the streets. She’s fully aware that her every move is being controlled by the collective male gaze stuck in the tito era of treating women.
So, huwag ka nang dumagdag. Don’t be the first voice she hears reinforcing the outdated notion that what women wear directly correlates to how men view and treat them. She doesn’t need your pointed opinion or subtle suggestion, regardless of how good a place It’s coming from. No matter how many times you’ve bumped uglies, it’s still her body to clothe and present to the world as she wishes, and she doesn’t need saving from herself. She’s already spent way too much time scrolling for outfit inspo on Instagram and way too much money on Zalora. She’s in too deep, dudes—there’s no standing between a woman and her favorite fashion blogger peg.
She’s going for a vibe here. Don’t ruin it with your outdated sense of propriety or possessiveness. If she wants to rock those weird Ariana Grande oversized sweaters and tiny shorts, let her. Be her supportive Pete Davidson, with matching BDE. A woman comfortable in her own body knows how to defend it. Don’t sweat it. If she’s bothered by pambabastos, she wouldn’t wear shit to get attention in that way. If she’s more evolved and knows that it isn’t her fault when she gets catcalled, then good for her. Both kinds of girls exist, and regardless which category your girl falls into, it’s still not about you.
So now, this begs the question: Are you even allowed to comment on what she’s wearing? Why yes, of course. Tell her she looks great. You shouldn’t have to lie—after all, you’re attracted to this woman, right? Point out things in stores you feel she’d like or look good in. Comment on how comfy those ugly gigantic sneakers look on her (even though you secretly think they’d look better on you). Just don’t tell her what not to wear—and please, don’t tell her to change. Unless may butas.
TL;DR? Too bad, you missed some pretty awesome points on female empowerment, but maybe you’re about to run out of your free data or you’re just about done pooping and need to wash up, so here’s our handy list of rules of engagement when dealing with your girl’s fashion choices.
Shut up unless she asks for your opinion. But even then, “Do you think I should change?” is a loaded question. Safest answer: “Ikaw, basta kumportable ka.” Boom. Tapos ang usapan.
Compliment creatively. Say she looks good in that color. Say she should buy more of that style. Do NOT tell her she looks thin, or she looks fat. Don’t say her butt looks great. Say she looks happy; say she looks comfortable. Notice there is nothing here about how she’s showing too much sideboob?
If you ABSOLUTELY can’t help it, keep a spare jacket in your car. Because inevitably, they get cold anyway. But still, shut your mouth.
Illustration Borg Sinaban