Despite what you know from the science of optics, it seems that mirrors do not actually reflect reality. There's someone staring back at you, but her loosening gut and the entire aura of unsexiness are so unlike the self-image you’ve so carefully cultivated for yourself that you could almost say there's a stranger looking back. Under the magnifying glass of self-scrutiny, normally the tiniest insecurities are blown up, and it's tempting to be swallowed up by all the self-pity. Your man (meaning, of course, us) moves in and, by means of able reassurance, reorients your sense of reality and returns that girl in the mirror in the woman she's supposed to be: the best version of yourself.
You say: "My boobs are flat."
Men, admittedly, have a fondness for large ones. In our archipelagic subsection of Southeast Asia, most women are—without surgery—still not endowed with the sort of buoyant chests that would float members of the male community. But to reduce us to the level of boob-men is to sell us short. We, too, can appreciate the fineness of an ass, the even sculpt of a shoulder, the warm molten puddles that you call your eyes. Oh, and your personality, too. Believe us: Large breasts can make us come, but it's the personality that convinces us to stay.
You say: "I'm not in the right weight/size" or "I don't have the right waistline."
Well, who is, these days? Chasing an ideal body image is like running up an escalator that's going down while carrying a sweaty pig. It would be great, of course, to be able to wave goodbye to a friend without that loose flap of skin adjacent to your armpit doggy-wagging, but, in the middle of a soul-crushing workout, you have to ask yourself: Why do you really want to have this kind of body? Is it to post gym selfies and make sure you look beach-y good on Instagram? Is it to give yourself some market value in the competitive arena of drunk-guys-checking-you-out-in-bars? Or is it to keep your spirits up, your health in shape, your energy constant, your illnesses at bay, and your well-being buzzed? Looking great is a good bonus, but if that's the only reason you're hitting your workout, it's just not a very compelling one, and you'll find your fitness fizzling out and the pounds creeping back in. But if your realization that you could possibly be in better shape is based on more than just vanity, you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is not to focus on how fat you are, but on how great you can get.
You say: "I'm aging so fast."
There should come a time when you become too old to worry about being too old. Between the ticking time-bomb called your biological clock and parents needling you, "Kailan ba kami magkakaroon ng apo?", age can be a touchy subject for your sex. Childbearing worries aside, the passing of years should be celebrated with mirth and merriment and a couple of glasses of good wine. Don't think of it as accumulating age spots, or growing crow's feet, or losing the suppleness of your once-taut chest. Think of it as gaining grace, wisdom, and the smarts to put those arrogant kids who think they're all that (but they're not) in their proper place.
You say: "That girl over there is so much prettier than me!"
Which one? Point her out to us. But not with your fingers. That's rude. Use your lips, in classic kanto style. That one? No, sorry—wait, we can't see—this place gets really crowded. Three heads down, you say? Highlights in the hair? Oh, wrong person. Wait, you mean the one wearing the sack? Oh, sorry—that's a dress! We couldn't tell, what with the armholes reaching the floor. Yeah...she's pretty enough, we guess... (And then we deploy the line that all boys of worth must use when their dates point out another pretty girl to them) "...but she's just not my type."
This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, December 2013.
* Minor edits have been made by Cosmo.ph editors