Praising a husband for fancying his “curvy” wife shows just how little we expect of men

Can we not treat him like some kind of body positivity pioneer for liking his objectively hot wife?

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Can’t say I’ve ever bought into the idea of penis envy, but man, being a man looks like a goddamn breeze sometimes, and if that’s what having a nob gets you, then heck maybe I am a bit jealous. 

Take, for example, looking after your own kids. When a woman does it, no one cares. In fact, she’s just doing what she’s meant to. In actual fact, it’s nice of everyone to let her do it and to be honest isn’t she slightly taking the piss by having time off work, and she’d better not embarrass everyone by showing a bit of nipple. But let a dad so much as pick up a bottle, and watch the world swoon while angel choirs descend to sing oh isn’t he great and isn’t mum lucky that he babysits. Pass the wetwipes, I seem to have been sick.

Low expectations. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the great bonus of masculinity. But even I was taken aback to see a man getting praised for, um, fancying his wife. Robbie Tripp describes himself as a “wordsmith, public speaker, and creative activist” and the author of “an abstract manifesto for disruptive creativity”, which to be honest sound like the kind of things you’d make up to get worried relatives off your back. (“No grandma, I’m not unemployed, I’m a creative activist.”) He can now add to that CV the impressive achievement of being keen on the woman he married. 

Yeah, I said impressive. It must be, because otherwise why would his saccharine ode to his wife Sarah Tripp’s “beautiful stretch marks on her hips and cute little dimples on her booty” have pulled in likes on Facebook and Instagram by the thousand, and ended up reported by Buzzfeed, the Mail, E! Online and every other content-thirsty outlet on the internet. 

Not that Tripp always felt able to be as open about his love. “As a teenager,” he writes, “I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as chubby or even fat.” I can only assume that this is the kind of silver-tongued chat that Sarah Tripp finds irresistible, but as a quick FYI to any dudes looking to play the charmer, DON’T DO THIS. If your compliment game starts with “some men would call you fatty but I’m much smarter than them”, then what you’ve actually got is an insult game and can I suggest you kindly shove it.

But luckily, young Tripp found feminism and learned that he could objectify any woman he wanted! Um, feminism? Yes: “Then, as I became a man and started to educate myself on issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean) I realized how many men have bought into that lie.” Andrea Dworkin, if only you had lived to see this day and know you had liberated a man to share his love of “thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll.”

Look. I’m happy Robbie Tripp is happy. I’m happy he’s making Sarah Tripp happy. But can we please, please get over this idea that a man is a hero for talking about what body type gives him a boner? And can we not treat him like some kind of body positivity pioneer for liking his objectively hot wife? (Contrary to his claim that “Her shape and size won't be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan”, Cosmo has featured plus-size models.) Dude: finding your partner beautiful is kind of what you’re supposed to do. 

Sarah Ditum is a journalist who writes regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and others. Her website is here.