Did you happen to see Katie Holmes on the cover of a recent issue of Allure? She was topless. She was wet. She was looking hotter than ever.
But that’s not what caught my attention. It’s the confession she made about not letting a man witness her do a particular activity.
“When you’re cleaning out your ears, you probably don’t want an audience!” Holmes said.
Beyond a bizarre hang up, this is just the latest declaration from a long line of women about maintaining sex appeal with their partner. There’s been much talk about sweats being the death of relationships, not passing gas in front of your mate, not letting him see you without make up on…
I call bullsh*t. Do I want my husband to find me sexy? Of course. Do I get dolled up for a date? Sure. (Actually, these days I prefer the flats, no makeup outings but I can still turn it out — and do — on occasion.) But not using a Q-Tip in front of him? Banning sweats? I’ve got news for you ladies: If you plan, like I do, to spend your life with this person, he’s going to see a lot more than ear wax and baggy drawers.
I don’t think guys truly even want that closed-door version of a woman. At least evolved, healthy, “normal” men don’t. In regards to a one-night stand or fling, sure they’d probably prefer to keep the mystery alive, but for a long-term, equal partnership where they, too, can be themselves, most men I know and associate with choose authenticity over artificial arousal.
Look at Mila Kunis. Men love Mila. I actually don’t think I’ve ever come across one who doesn’t. She’s gorgeous, smart, funny and can sex it up on the red carpet or in a lingerie scene on the big screen with Justin Timberlake. But, moreover, she’s a guy’s girl. She’s often in, gasp, sweats with no makeup, out with her man in broad daylight and photographers at every turn. She’s low maintenance, enjoys a beer and a ballgame and pretends to be no one but herself. I guarantee you that girl has cleaned her ears in front Ashton.
So far, in our relatively short life together, my husband’s seen me sick, held my hair and rubbed my back as I’ve clung to the toilet or splayed myself on the cold bathroom tile more times than I’d like. He’s examined questionable marks on my body, stood beside me as I’ve endured procedures, tests, infections and severe allergic outbreaks and nursed me through the gruesome aftermaths and, most recently, supported me through a pregnancy that wasn’t pretty.
But guess what? He still thinks I am. In fact, I can tell by the way he looks at me that he’s more in love as a result of it all. I’m a strong woman, weathering ordeals he knows he couldn’t, and he respects that. But I’ve also been vulnerable and, as a man, he appreciates that. He relishes the moments where he can take care of me because I’m normally independent as hell. When I truly need him, when I’m at my weakest and least attractive, I see how much I matter to him.
And I know I’m going to need a lot more of him in the future. Aging sucks. I witnessed my grandparents endure humiliating, horrifying circumstances at the end of their lives. It’s not fair. It’s also not sexy. But guess who was with them through it all? Their partner. Loving them through each bout and every blow. I know if you’d told them about the ear cleaning phobia or the loungewear theory, they’d laugh.
Of course it’s important to try in your relationship as it is in all areas of life. Giving up doesn’t benefit anyone. We’ve all fallen off the wagon and, when we do, what happens? We feel bad about ourselves, our confidence drops, we’re more irritable, less in the mood to be affectionate… Working on and bettering yourself will only enhance your life and, therefore, your partner’s. But wearing the occasional pair of sweatpants, sporting a naked face or cleaning your ears is hardly what I would classify as letting yourself go. There’s a difference between not trying and not being yourself.
The constant pressure to be “on” even in your own home is exhausting. I want a partner who I know is there for me, worts and all, and who I don’t have to put up a charade around. So it’s not sexy all the time, hell, most of the time. It’s real life. Real life isn’t sexy — it’s messy, cringe-worthy and, at times, ugly. But it’s also deep, authentic, meaningful and funny.
Those nights I’ve turned it up? Sure, it made for a good photo op or great sex, but those aren’t the moments my husband and I remember, reminisce about or that connect us. Some of our best inside jokes and cherished memories come from our most desperate, unattractive times. It’s those moments that we struggled or stumbled that make us laugh the most now, further endearing us to one another and what we’ve been through — together.
So, sorry Ms. Holmes, in my book, it’s not about the grooming habits or the choice of attire, not about the witnessing of bodily fluids, a few extra pounds or a little less hair, it’s about the companionship and support, when sexy faded long ago and true love and friendship remain. I’ll take that kind of relationship any day over the farce and “fairy tale.” It means I get to keep my sweats!