Yes, That Dress Does Make You Look Fat

There are certain questions that guys can answer honestly at only great peril. The most famous example of this is when your girlfriend or wife asks, “Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” That is not a question, it is a trap and you had better lie and lie convincingly if you prefer your ankle intact.

A former colleague told me he’d found a way to spring the trap. He called it the “like a whale” exception. He explained, his wife — who I think was with child at the time — had put on a sun dress and asked him the dread question and I guess he was feeling suicidal that day. “Like a whale,” he said. There was a pregnant pause and then she burst out laughing — and never asked him that question again.

If only Abe Lincoln had thought of that:

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  • B to the G

    The classic cocky and funny response of an alpha male.

  • Brinker

    It’s not a trap as the correct and completely truthful answer is always, “No.” If she’s not fat the correct answer is simply, “No.” If she is the correct answer is, “No,” with the silently added mental parenthetical, “… you’re just fat, it’s not the dress.”

    • Micha Elyi

      It’s a trap. Don’t kid yourself. Answer “yes” and she’ll get mad. Answer “no” and she’ll get mad at you for lying.

      Jeremy Lott showed the key to disarming the trap; answer the question with the question “Was that a question or a trap?”

  • Steve Colby

    A man can honestly answer “No” , but dare not say ” ’cause it ain’t the dress, it’s the FAT that makes you look fat.”

  • Ogre

    Guys, here’s the trick. You can answer that question honestly. The answer is “No”. Of course, the full answer is, “no, the dress does not make you look fat, your huge ass makes you look fat.” I recommend the short answer only. It’s the truth, and you don’t get in trouble.

  • Steve

    Don’t answer the question directly. Say to her that she looks better in a different color of dress. The one she’s wearing doesn’t compliment her skin tone. (Or something to that effect).

    • Former Long-Suffering Spouse

      I tried that tactic once many years ago with my now ex-wife. It didn’t work. I wound up in the doghouse anyway.


    “It’s not the dress”

  • Wandering Stranger

    “No. Colorblind.”

  • Russell

    Does this dress make me look fat?
    Darling you asked me that last month.
    Like I told you we should not have gotten a minivan.

  • KevinF

    No, YOU make the DRESS look fat.

  • eldoktor

    “Yes. You do. And you know I *LIKE* it, mmm!!”

  • Red pill

    For all you answering yes or no, you fail. You need to answer in your frame and not hers. Be Alfa and if you can’t come up with anything good the canned “do I look stupid?” will work.

  • Steve T.

    “No, all the cookies and ice cream you eat make you look fat”.
    (Make sure you have your running shoes on when you say it.)

  • Henpecked

    Mine doesn’t even ask, because she doesn’t even care. And I don’t dare mention it, either.
    So, see, guys, it can get worse.

  • Those weren’t bran muffins, Brainiac…

    The correct answer is to ignore the question and pretend to be preoccupied with something else…

  • Steve S.

    Sally Forth comic strip many years ago:
    “Does this dress make me look fat?”
    “Ha, ha. I can remember when I used to think questions like that actually have answers.”

  • Jay Currie

    “Of course not, Darling…it is pretty much your thighs doing the heavy lifting.”

    A wise man does not hear the question.

    Meanwhile, with all the Glen Reynolds’ linkage, Jeremy, have you got the pics of Glen putting the puppy in the blender?

  • Daniel Dover

    A gay friend of mine had the best response for that: “It’s not the dress that makes you look fat, dear.”

    But in all honesty, I’ve found that an open and frank discussion of the dress and its qualities and whether another might look better always wins her over. The “trick” is that it’s not a yes/no question like a man might expect, but instead an invitation to talk about dresses and what you think she should wear (And you might think “But I don’t want to talk about dresses,” to which I respond “But it’s your chance to talk her into that red number that shows off her impressive cleavage!”)

    • Bob Jones

      Now here, we have a very smart individual.
      Kudos to you, good sir. You have saved mankind from the most unkind of fates. Trips to the doghouse.

  • Pete

    Avoid eye contact. They sense fear.

  • suicidal idiot

    Yes, burn that dress. Let’s take a look in the closet and find something that flatters you.

  • Donald

    A woman is looking at herself in the mirror and says to her husband, “I look old fat and ugly. Pay me a compliment”.
    The husband says, “Your eyesight is excellent”

    • Skipdallas

      That is the best one yet!! LMAO

  • David

    “I don’t know. I’d have to see you without the dress on.”

  • Ramet in Dallas

    I always answer with the question, “Do I look stupid?”

  • McGehee

    My wife has never asked me that question — but at the rate she’s losing weight these days, it’s only a matter of time.

  • Cheshire

    “Don’t ask me cliche trap questions, woman. Just get dressed, I’m hungry.”

    • kim

      best answer, i think…i would be cracking up… — of course, i’m not dumb enough to ask a question, that i already know the answer to…LOL

  • norm

    Don’t answer the question, think of it as a request for immediate sex.

    /they are asking for you to judge their sexuale desirablity.

  • Walt

    “I’ll need you to take it off for purposes of comparison.”

  • mike

    don,t ask the question if you might not like the answer

  • Sutpen

    An answer I’ve been hoping to give is, “No more than usual”.

  • qcifer


  • Joel

    When caught in that trap, I tried “It’s really not a good look for you.”

    Yeah. Trouble. There’s no right answer.

  • jb

    if by “fat” you mean “sexy” then yes

  • Rich

    Interesting. I read through at least 30 comments, some of them pretty funny, but they were all by men! I didn’t see a single one by a woman! Of course, some of the names could be either a man or a woman, but there was not a single one that clearly was a woman, and the comments by the ones that weren’t clearly male sure sounded like it. ;-)
    I liked Ramet’s suggestion.

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  • Swiftstone

    I’ve actually generally found this to be easy to deal with. You simply make it a question of tailoring and fit. We all know there is some outfit she has somewhere that you’ve noticed she looks really good in.
    So. Take a thoughtful pause while looking her over to consider if this is one of them or not, and to buy time for thinking of the ones that do look good.

    Then start by saying something like: “It is cute, (she wouldn’t have gotten it if she didn’t think so, so don’t insult her taste) but I think it’s just a poor design and fit for you.”

    It’s easy enough to then criticize the technical flaws in the garment, WITHOUT involving her in the equation. In your language and manner, treat her as if she were the mannequin ideal that the dress is SUPPOSED to conform to, but fails.

    So you say: “See how it’s too loose/tight here, and it makes it ride up/pull down/bunch up here? Remember that blue dress you have? I LIKE the way that one fits you. (Put a little sex in your voice here) Do you have something else like that?”

    Even if she doesn’t agree with your alternative choice, it doesn’t matter. All you’ve done is validate her existing doubts about the garment, and she’ll go choose another. The important part is, she now believes the garment to be flawed, not her. Further, you’ll gain points for being honest about the garment while still making her feel attractive and sexy.

    And you’re done.

  • the wolf

    My wife never asks if she looks fat, but she will ask, “Does this look ok?” Now, I will sometimes ask my wife if something I’ve put on looks ok, but in that situation I truly want to make sure I’m not leaving the house looking like an idiot. My wife already knows she looks fine; she just wants me to say so. She already knows when something doesn’t look right, so it won’t even get to the point of her asking me.

  • dorsey47

    Proper response:

    I will need to see you naked to answer that.