Tuesday 17 September 2019

I found my boyfriend's lads' mag

QI have been dating a lovely man for the last number of months, and find myself in the happy position of really caringabout someone who cares about me.

But a couple of weeks ago, while looking for something in his cupboards, I found a "lads' mag" with loads of well-endowed topless girls in it.

My first reaction was that at 30 he should be past all this. But that was followed immediately by a feeling of pure inadequacy, as I've very small boobs.

Worst of all, I think, was the fact that the mag was hidden.

I'm getting really hung up on this, and I don't know how to casually bring it up in conversation.

I think that perhaps I should just get over it myself and not be so neurotic. Can you give me some perspective on this?

AWE could have a long and academic conversation on why men like lads' magazines. We could go further, and endlessly discuss the nature of pornography, the pros and cons of censorship, thefact that men seem more responsive to visual stimuli than women.

You name it, we could go there. And we would be decidedly missing the point. You've said it yourself: you feel inadequate. That's the real problem here.

Looking to a lover for reassurance about our appearance is a tricky one at the best of times.

As often as not, he'll saythe wrong thing, or say itthe wrong way, or in the wrong tone - and that's when he's really trying. It's absolutely lethal to ask why he gazes at big boobs in a magazine, or even worse, why he's settling for you with the small ones, when he clearly enjoys size. Your instincts are right. Just don'tgo there.

The basic problem is that no one else can reallyreassure us about our attractiveness, our worth, ourability to hold a lover'sinterest. We have to work it out for ourselves.

That means you have to rise above whatever limitations you feel you haveand appreciate the whole package. Big noses, small boobs, heavy thighs, fat ankles, thin hair - they may definitely be there. But they are only bits. They cannot be allowed to take on too much importance. Your sense of self-worth has to be more robust than that. And developing that robustness is down to you.

You also have to avoid the arrogance of underestimating the man in your life. He knows the big boobs in the magazines are a kind of fetish, or a cultural obsession, or just something he likes looking at, or whatever way he'd put it.

He doesn't actually want to spend his life simply with a pair of boobs. He wants to spend it with a whole human being. And that whole human being is you.

Finally, we can't control every corner of anybody's mind. When we're feeling adult and mature, we wouldn't even want to.

Start appreciating yourself a little more. And leave your bloke to his dreams.

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