Since the dawn of time, women have asked men the world’s most feared question, “Does this dress make me look fat?” I, being the master of epiphanal thoughts, have at last produced a solution that spares men having to answer, saving lives and marriages in the process.
Menfolk have long struggled with the no-win question every time it is asked.
Answer yes and you’ll be met with a venomous look. Your plans for the evening will be immediately cancelled, and your wife will jump on the treadmill, clad in the unflattering dress, and work out marathon-style until the dress fits. Or she’ll snag a bucket of ice cream and gulp down spoonfuls of self-pity and mint chocolate chip. Either way, you lose.
Understand the historical significance of this question. It has perplexed world leaders throughout time.
Julius Caesar dodged the question, responding, “Vidi Vini Vicensi,” which translated means, “I came, I saw, I was wondering if you’ve seen my cufflinks anywhere?’
Henry the VIII, chose to make a preemptive strike rather than answer, beheading his wives often while they wore the dress in question.
Eva Braun, knowing she was about to be captured by the Allies and wanting to make a good impression, posed the question to Hitler in the bunker. Der Fuhrer knew suicide was a more palatable alternative than bumbling through an answer.
The other morning, the dread question was put to me. Instinctively, as every man is taught, I sought cover. I dropped to the ground and started dragging myself with my elbows behind the couch.
My wife snagged me by the belt, and dragged me back into the kitchen, where the overhead fluorescent light shone in my eyes, third-degree style.
“Does it make me look fat or not?” she growled.
Now what is fat? Is fat anything that doesn’t look like one of the emaciated fashion models from New York or Paris that look like a tinker-toy project gone awry? Or is fat like those obese people who hunker down at the all-you-can eat food buffet, and proceed to consume all-there-is-to-eat?
Really, my answer doesn’t matter. Because most women, or at least the woman who was hunched over me, threatening me with a rolling pin, only compare themselves to the most perfect lady body in the history of the solar system. Never mind that this woman has never been seen in real life — only airbrushed onto the pages of a magazine. It’s the standard they measure themselves by whenever confronted by a mirror.
The rolling pin hung in the air like the Sword of Damocles. I gulped, recited a little prayer, and that’s when my epiphanal powers manifested in a thought so revolutionary that it actually brought tears to my eyes.
I cleared my throat, and I told her to go ask our daughter.
“Good idea,” my wife said, placing the rolling pin back in the drawer. Still lying on the floor, I wept, praising Allah, Jesus Christ and any other powers-that-be for saving my miserable life.
I also listened to the conversation upstairs. It really doesn’t matter what my thirteen-year old daughter said. What matters is that my wife accepted it, without question. This was good. This was very good. I thus decided to pursue the natural course of action whenever a true American capitalist receives a string of good luck: I decided to monetize it.
Within two days, I had created a website and an iphone app with the domain, “doesthisdressmakemelookfat.com.” I strapped a headset on my daughter, and set her down at the computer.
“What do you want me to do?” she asked.
“Just answer the question,” I replied.
She rolled her eyes, and I immediately bestowed her with employee of the month for her positive attitude.
The website allowed for a two-way view. Desperate men dialed in, held their smart phone up so it would show a picture of the wives in question, and then my daughter would deliver her honest, straightforward critique.
As you would expect, word of this amazing service spread among the male population like wildfire. I heard grown men weeping their thanks to my daughter, as the sounds of rolling pins being returned to kitchen drawers was audible in the background.
Homicide rates began to plummet. Restaurant business skyrocketed as dates were no longer cancelled. We serviced men of every race, creed, and socioeconomic standing. Even the President of the United States called in for a quick counsel, fearing for his own life and the lives of the Secret Service men, all imperiled by conflicted Michelle.
For years, our service worked wonders, until, as it usually does with my epiphanies, the wheels came off.
My daughter, now twenty-three, had fallen in love with a terrific fellow. They were to be married in the same church my wife and I had recently renewed our vows in. (We were so happily in love now I had the perfect answer to that damned question.)
On the morning of the wedding, my wife and I received a phone call. It was the police. My daughter had been arrested.
The charge? Homicide. She’d killed her husband-to-be.
We made a beeline to the police station, where we found my daughter behind bars, wearing a blood-stained wedding dress.
“She beat him to death with a rolling pin,” said a police officer.
My blood ran cold as I realized what had happened. My daughter had tried on her wedding dress, and posed the infernal question to her fiance. The poor sap had undoubtedly tried to contact our website for a response, but I had neglected to staff a replacement for my daughter. The rolling pin followed soon after.
As my wife and I left the cellblock, I turned for one last look at my little girl. She was being held in a large cell with a group of men – a collection of thugs, murderers, drug dealers, rapists, gang leaders, and maniacs.
She gestured to her blood-stained wedding dress as she asked them, “Does this make me look fat?”
En masse, the hardened thugs dropped to the floor, and began crawling for cover.
Photo by Amy Guth