Y is for You Look Fine

You Look Fine (El Toro County Park, April 2015)

Recently my husband and I came across this signpost after hauling ourselves up a steep hill in Toro County Park, a vast region of rolling hills, trails, and recreational facilities on the outskirts of Salinas.

Was it social commentary on our fat-shaming and appearance-obsessed culture? Or just the frustrated lament of someone waiting for hiking companions to tidy up their wind-blown and hat-crushed hair for a quick smartphone photo? (More important, would there be another signpost at the end of our long, hot, trek pronouncing, “You Look Like Hell?”)

The message was welcome, if oddly placed, and one that got me thinking (which helped propel me up the many arduous and dusty miles to come, not to mention providing me with a “Y” post that is not a bunch of Yosemite photos or a “Y Am I Doing this Challenge?” lament).

Mostly I think of “You Look Fine” as the bare-minimum response that gets a man out of trouble when asked the world’s most dangerous question: “Does this make me look fat?”

(In case that unforgivably gender-stereotyped sentence makes your blood boil, rest assured that just this morning, my husband, who is red-green color-blind, asked as he was rushing out the door if his jacket looked okay with his pants. “No, it doesn’t,” I said. “You should wear something else.” He looked upset and hurried off as I unconvincingly called after him, “It’s fine. Really.” Later I emailed him the “You Look Fine” photo, amending my early morning candor.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if “You Look Fine” signposts proliferated? Imagine them replacing mirrors, or showing up in mirrors, alongside your reflection! What if they were on street corners, subways, doctors’ offices? Even better, what if we could get away from feeling influenced by any assessment of our appearance, whether positive or negative?

What we really need are signposts that say “You Are Fine.”

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What’s your theory about how the mysterious YLF signpost got there? What signposts would you like to see proliferating in unexpected places?

10 thoughts on “Y is for You Look Fine

  1. We can definitely be too critical of ourselves. I’m working on that one. I’m also careful when I use the word fine though. My daughter, who is in a relationship with another woman, asked me not that long ago if my husband and I were really ok with it. My response was that we were fine with it and got the retort of I don’t want you to be just fine with it I want you to be more than that! I had some major backpedalling to do!

    • Wow, that’s an interesting lesson! Of course, our kids always have their ears pricked for disapproval, real and imagined. But although “fine” seems like a fine word, I guess it can come across as pretty lukewarm in lots of situations.

  2. I like it. Another message I like is spray-painted on the sidewalk of the Manhattan Bridge, so that one can spell it out slowly as one walks toward Brooklyn. It says, “The impossible may take a little while.”

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