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Has your boyfriend ever given you his unsolicited opinion when it comes to your style choices?

Colleagues have told me about friends they had whose boyfriends had something to say about their natural hair, their low-cut tops, their makeup choices, and sometimes, even their choice to wear a friggin’ ponytail. Because they call themselves your boyfriend (which for some is like giving away their freedom…or a kidney), some guys think you want to hear what they have to say about your look, and sometimes, they don’t care if you don’t.

I was given my own”What Not To Wear” tutorial in my apartment last week.

While snowed in due to the “blizzard” on the East Coast, my boyfriend and I were shacked up on the couch for pretty much a full 24 hours. But it wasn’t necessarily a romantic scene: I had to get up early to do my work-from-home shift on the computer, so my concern was not with my looks, but getting my work done. So to stay warm, I wore my baggiest sweatpants, my Mizzou hoodie (go Tigers!)…and yes, I’m guilty of forgetting to take off my bright pink bonnet because I didn’t want my locs to be in my face all day. And considering that I took a shower and brushed my teeth before I started my shift as a courtesy to my guest, my boyfriend (WFH shifts can make you lazy…*Kanye shrug*), I thought I looked pretty classy–or as classy as I could at 7:30 a.m. during a storm.

But my look wasn’t bringing me any fans. In fact, my boyfriend would tell me later in the evening, via text after he went home, that my look was not sexy. He said that he didn’t tell me when he was over at my place because he didn’t want to distract me from my work. Instead, he shared this with me as I kicked back and enjoyed my last work-free hours of the day.

I ignored his statements because I didn’t want to say anything that I would regret. But as the hours passed, I got angry. And then I got angrier. And eventually, I just realized that my feelings were really hurt. So when it was time for us to talk again later in the evening, after he tried to pretend like he’d never said anything, I verbally vomited. I told him that I felt that he was trying to display some sort of control by telling me what does and doesn’t look good on me. And since I’ve been working hard to lose weight recently (for my own health, and I’ve already dropped 15 if you were wondering), the last thing I need is someone who will have me second-guessing myself. I can’t go for that.

After ranting for about a good five minutes straight (a sista had a lot to say), he eventually apologized and admitted that he should have known better. I appreciated his sentiments, but alas, my feelings were still hurt for the rest of the evening.

So I’m wondering, when are your partner’s feelings and recommendations about your fashion choices harmless, and when are they overstepping boundaries in your relationship?

I’m a firm believer that positive reinforcement often sends the best message. If you let a woman know that you love the way she looks in a certain ensemble or style, she will keep that in mind. But letting her know that you don’t like a look doesn’t do anything but hurt feelings and leave folks self-conscious. I’m also a firm believer that if my breasts or my ass aren’t hanging out, I don’t have lipstick on my teeth, and I’m not ashy, I would say that I’m doing pretty good fashion wise.

And considering that I wasn’t born to be something nice for someone else to look at 24/7, folks need to leave me be.

But then again, I also understand the importance of keeping the fire going in a relationship and not getting too comfortable, so that leaves me confused as to what I should do. Drop the sweats and stick to tights? Keep his opinion in mind for the future? Or do what I want to do?

What do you think? Is this a petty problem? And if not, how would you handle it?


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