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Gentlemen Speak: Appreciating Feminine Beauty Beyond Big Butts

What does it mean to appreciate her inner beauty as well as her outer beauty as a guy?
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Like many of my male counterparts, I have few skills that surpass my ability to notice an attractive woman. Let’s just say, if she’s around, I know about her. My buddy has recently nicknamed me “Radar” and has told me he plans to popularize it. I feel like that would be bad. Forget I told you this.

What I’m trying to say here is that the beauty of the female figure is not lost on me. And from what I can tell, most men do a really good job at appreciating the beauty of the female body, in all shapes and sizes. And yes, there are certainly parts of the female body that we, um, appreciate more than others.

If you’re reading this, you are probably a woman and so are very likely rolling your eyes at this point. And I’ll give you that. You and I both know there is much more to a woman than her body, but—while I’m really good at noticing a good-looking woman—appreciating the whole of that woman can be more difficult. Like, something that takes effort.

But there has been special attention paid to the female form lately—namely her, ahem, hind parts, if you will—and it is women who are asking us to pay closer attention.

Every other song on the radio seems to be “All About That Bass,” and then there was Kim Kardashian’s mooning last week. But I have to ask: As heartwarming as it is for Kim Kardashian to want to show the world how beautiful a big naked butt can be, and for Meghan Trainor to prove that you don’t have to be a size two to be a pop star in 2014, what have they done, exactly? We already knew that creepy hip-hop artists “like big butts.” It seems to me they are missing the real problem (by a long shot) and instead are actually exacerbating it.

The real problem is that most men, and our culture in general, are much better at glorifying the external beauty of women than they are at glorifying the woman as a whole.

We live in a world where it seems, more often than not, women are judged by unfairly narrow standards of “hotness.” These artists (or whatever Kim is) seem to have picked up on that, and for that they should be applauded. Yes, it’s a problem if society’s definition of “hot” is limited to one particular body type, whether that’s big, small, or some “perfect” place in between. But the bigger issue at stake here is that we’re judging women on such terms in the first place.

It’s a different thing altogether to care about the way females look than it is to care about females themselves. And so, any discussion about appreciating different types of women should go far beyond their size or shape.

One of the things I try to keep in mind when I’m evaluating potential long-term matches is what I’m going to care about in the future. When I’m old and gray, and I’m reclining in my leather armchair, what am I going to appreciate about my future wife? That she’s the perfect size and shape, whatever that means? Hell no. I’m probably going to appreciate how she treats me. Her maturity. Her kindness. Her selflessness in caring for me and our children. How well she can cook. Just kidding! (But not totally.)

Because let’s be honest. Looks and physical attractiveness are fairly nebulous notions anyway. If you’re around someone long enough, you begin to lose sense of how they look externally apart from who they really are. At a certain point, the way someone looks is fairly irrelevant to who they are. Ask a bride or groom why they love their betrothed, and their first answer (or even tenth) probably won’t be, “Well, he’s super hot.” And it definitely won’t be, “Because she’s a size two.”

It’s the beauty of actually getting to know somebody. No longer do you know them as “smokin’ hot brunette” or “curvy blonde,” you know them truly as a person. Who doesn’t always wear makeup. And who definitely doesn’t get Photoshopped on their way to work in the morning.

And, if it’s important for me to remember that my eyes should play a fairly insignificant role in who I choose to pursue, then it's all the more important that you ladies don’t cater to the world’s aesthetic demands. If I place an irrational premium on looks when dating, I run the risk of ending up either alone or stuck with the devil dressed in Prada (and I’m not sure which would be worse). But for the woman, she might never know the freedom of actually accepting and acknowledging her whole self, which to me would be the much harsher fate.

That’s really what’s at stake here: Should a woman's physical beauty be pulled apart and lifted above all else? If I understand them correctly, Ms. Trainor and Ms. Kardashian are correct: You don’t have to be a size two to be beautiful, nor does a woman’s butt have to be dainty. But what I wish they and anyone else would do is go a step further and say that there’s so much more to a woman than thin or curvy or petite or plus-sized.

Because, as the saying goes, charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting. I’m looking for the real deal, a woman who is free to be herself because she isn’t concerned with what the world tells her is desirable. And since she’s not spending all her time and energy trying to fit into some mold, she’s free to develop real assets, like virtue.

I’m not sure there’s a radar for that, but I’m going to keep my eyes open nonetheless.