I AM Tootsie: A Reaction to Dustin Hoffman’s Prep Work

In 200 Men Said...., Cupid & Other Myths on 10 July 2013 at 2:41 pm


Searching Facebook in the middle of a work day will lead you to some very interesting things. Some of these things catch your attention, tug at your heart-strings, make you go “Finally, someone knows how I feel!”, or think “Now, how can I get others to understand as well?”  Those moments are rare, but I had to share a post that I saw in my news feed today.

The post was of Dustin Hoffman speaking about his prep work for the movie “Tootsie“.  I simply loved that movie growing up. It is a staple for an 80’s baby to have watched this movie. Especially the soap opera scenes. lol. Or the transformation scenes from man to woman. lol. But I never knew that Dustin did this particular prep work. Now that I know, it makes me respect the movie even more. It makes me understand why I love that movie and connected to it so well. The scene of Tootsie (Dorothy Michaels) in bed having a girls night, or Tootsie shaving her 5 o’clock shadow, or the big glasses and curly hair; they all made me believe she was who she was when he was her.

Fast forward. Today I watched this video and I began to feel like Dustin understood my plight! Seriously! Just this morning I was telling a male coworker how my high school sweetheart married someone who couldn’t hold a torch to me on my worse day. I wasn’t tooting my own horn, I was being honest. I have years of experience of not being chosen because I was not physically what guys wanted. I mean, everyone wants the toned, in shape, slim with curves chick right? Nope, but boy do they make you feel bad if you’re not. I used to see girls bigger than me with husbands and the like. It’s just not my time, right? I saw the skinny girls pulling guys left and right but then dog the guy out. It’s just not my time yet, right? But I’ve had guys I like tell me everything that they wanted in a female to my face and me wonder why they couldn’t see it, just to have me lose a few pounds and then they pay attention. I get it, I get it…. it just isn’t my time, right?

Tootsie, she is me. This movie was released on my Birthday, December 17, 1982. I was 2 at the time but I remember coming across it when I was 12. I remember loving this movie. But at that time I was a popular kid in school and slim and beautiful. I never knew that if you fast forwarded just 8 years…. I would be Tootsie. I still AM Tootsie. I am the girl who has all of the inner qualities but my outside does not fit the standard of what guys deem to be beautiful. It hurts to get passed over, or remembered after you’ve been left behind and they expect you to come running back. I’m not perfect by any means, but damn it…. I am a good one to have.

The line in the interview that caught my emotions in the center of my throat was towards the end when he said, ” There are too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed….and that was never a comedy for me.” The line he said before that was the line that pulled back the blinds on my pain. That took me back to the moment where I was dancing with a female friend at a club when a guy who wanted to dance with her grabbed her purse out of her hand, tossed it to me and said “Here. Hold this, cause no one’s gonna dance with you”. I was Tootsie. Or how I go out and no matter WHAT friend I am with the guys always speak to them and not me . I was Tootsie. I flashed back to those moments when he said, “Because I think I’m an interesting woman, when I look at myself on the screen. And I know that if I met myself at a party I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill, physically, the demands that we are brought up to think that women have to have in order for us to ask them out.” POW! I’m standing in front of a mirror looking at myself, telling myself that I am beautiful, that I am more than worthy of respect and thinking that any person on this earth would be lucky to call me his girl, woman, wife. Then I remember, no one has thought the same in a loooooooooooooong time. Sobering as it is….I find peace in knowing that someone else finally got it; that a man finally got it.

So before I get all depressed. I wanted to know how many guys were guilty of skipping over girls like myself. So I asked them on every social media link that I could access from work and waited for responses. I asked:

Fellas: Watch the video first. Then answer. Are you guilty of passing over “interesting women” simply because they do not fit your visual requirements?

 Dustin Hoffman on “Tootsie”

The replies were as follows:

Justin N (RS): I’ve probably passed over a woman I didn’t find physically attractive. That’s why it doesn’t bother me if a woman has height requirements for guys. If I was single now, I’d probably at least attempt to have a conversation to see if there was some other connection.

Damon M (RS):  Based on the question: I don’t even have to watch the video… Hell yea I’ve passed up some good sistas because I thought they were not cute. But I don’t care what anyone says. You have to be somewhat physically attracted to the person first. Women do it ALL THE TIME!


SN: I don’t find Damon very attractive from his FB picture so I have the gas face while reading his comment. But I followed this comment with one of my own and the conversation continued.

  • 2Deep: Uh… true, but you will also find a Heidi Klum with a Seal looking brother, a slim model chick with an obese guy. Women are open to date an unattractive person based on their qualities before a guy EVER will.
  • Damon M (RS): Seal had money, that’s how he got Heidi. And when they started dating and got married he was in shape. Don’t give me that.
    Then he started beating that box down like it was no tomorrow. That white girl didn’t know what to do with herself.
  • 2Deep:  Okay, but he doesn’t have the best face, [in some women’s mind]. But you normal dudes will pass over a woman with a great job, education, and banging body because her face isn’t on point. Or a beautiful face and a plus size body because you will be embarrassed by what your boys thing.

He then replied simply with, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Thus we are back where we started, right? But the conversation continues with others.

  •  DeAndre H (RS): I guess I’m “guilty.” I don’t feel bad for doing it. I’ve found loyal, educated, employed, attractive, and good women with banging bodies. Got everything I wanted. I’m sure some women (probably not many LOL) will pass me over b/c I’m not pleasant to their eyes. Charge it to the game. [2Deep: Confident little booger, ain’t he? But I find him attractive via his FB pics]
  • Jamaal R (RS): I have and it’s happened to me and everyone else. People have preferences, whether I or anyone else agrees with them or not
  • 2Deep:  But where do these ” preferences” come from? How are they established? They just don’t pop out of the blue. DO you even know why you prefer one thing over another?
  •  DeAndre H (RS): B/c my eyes and my man parts like what they like. It has nothing to do with slavery, self hate, or the white man.Well, I do fancy white women. The ones that look good.
  •   Jamaal R (RS):  2Deep, i think it comes from several things. Societal norms or standards, personal experiences in dating, etc
  •  Carmelo G (RS): I don’t like mud ducks.
  • 2Deep:  ^^ But who are you to say who is and who isn’t. By your pics… you’re not my cup of tea… but if you spoke I would not be rude to you based on your looks.
  • Carmelo G (RS): A mud duck is a mud duck by my attraction list. I don’t care who else thinks they are or aren’t a mud duck. If I’m not your cup of tea that’s fine. I’m my wife’s cup of tea and that’s enough for me.I’mma poet and iainteenknowit
  • DeAndre H (RS): My only physical preference is that she be cute. I’ve dated E’s and A’s. Stupid booties and no booties. They’ve all had one thing in common…
    They were attractive to me and I was attractive to them.
  • EoE (RS): You have to be pretty in the face. I can’t have a serious conversation with you, looking into your ugllass face. I’d be tempted to laugh for no reason… [2Deep: Can I say that I find humor in the not so attractive dudes being the most vocal about how ugly a woman is and what they have to have? IJS]
  • Justin N (RS): I think women have just as many physical requirements as men do. Our “short men” threads show that. I don’t have many preferences, but I have to be physically and mentally attracted to her. Others may think she’s not cute, but as long as I’m attracted to her that’s all that matters.
  •  Terry R (RS): If she is not what I want then why should I settle? Physical or otherwise. I have been passed over by women for various reason, but I refuse to sit around crying about it. Too many other women out there to be worried about one that I didnt measure up too.
  • Carmelo G (RS): Reasons why I like what I like:
    1. I get a stiffy
    2. I get a stiffy
    3. I get a stiffy
  •  Cedric J (RS): Just keep it real. Women reject men more than men reject woman. Woman base their self esteem entirely too much on the men they want to attract.
    Men tend just have to accept the fact that some woman arent going to fuck with them. Unfortunately, things like education, money, great career, fame, etc may benefit an unattractive male more than a so so to an unattractive woman.
  • Carmelo G (RS): They couldn’t have even made it TO interesting if they didn’t meet my visual requirements.
  • G. K. (RS): [<~ She’s a girl] They way we (men & women ) reject is different, but the reasons are similar. A woman will work with you. Men give me passes SOMETIMES cause I have a big butt, but I can tell their interest doesn’t go beyond the bedroom. It’s still rejection
  •  Justin N (RS): G. K., I’m friends with too many women that have just straight up rejected a guy that they find unappealing.. If women were willing to work with a guy, I’d see less guys getting turned down at the club..lol

I moved to another group I posted the question in and saw this remark:

  • “Golden Brown” (GH): [<~She’s a girl] Lol I just read the heading… if they don’t pass the visual that not interested in the interesting… Go buy some cute and try again.
  • “Hulk” (GH): Agree with Golden Brown. If im not attracted then Im not gonna be inclined to get any more intimate than friends. Looks won’t matter if we friends n I fall into the personality. But still…I need to like what I see when it’s time for sex.

Ummmm… come again? Isn’t this the point of why I posted it. Then I remembered this is coming from the smartass group. smdh. lol.  Another group:

  •  Alvin L (NC)…depends on the context of this question…In terms of “Relationship/Romance”, yes. I’m sure I have used ‘visual appeal’ as a part of my discriminative process in the past. I am sure that I will in the future as well.In terms of “Casual Conversation/Social Interaction/etc”, not really. Although ‘visually attractive’ women are tempting to interact with, I often discover, chat and associate with interesting women who do not altogether represent what I am visually attracted to. I’ve also passed over “visually attractive” women because they do not fit my “interesting requirements”.
  •  Darrell J (NC): Absolutely! Why? I’m ugly enough, what would I want with an ugly women? On top of that, I didn’t want to make any ugly children. I found a Wife that is quite beautiful in hopes that her beauty off sets my ugly gene… All that being said, I have met some ‘showstoppers’ (the chicks were just that fine) and the person they turned out to be was so very UGLY that after while I just wanted to hit them in the face with a bag of nickels!!!#REALTALK!

I stopped at Darrell’s #RealTalk! comment when I originally posted this, but I will keep updating the post as more comments come in.

The conclusion that I have come up with from these comments is, that you need to find a gym, a nice plastic surgeon and purchase some self-esteem because as much as we think that people will want us just the way we are…. you are going to be sadly mistaken in this modern world. So I guess my plus size, gap tooth, educated, independent, Southern Belle having ass better get used to the single life… because I love me just the way I am. And the parts that I am not so happy with, I fix only because I want to not to please someone else. But this post resonated so much with me. In the end… I’m ok being the hidden treasure. I don’t like it, but I know what I am worth, and I guess that is what some spend a lifetime trying to understand the true meaning of their worth.



  1. I feel your story on two levels:

    I loved tootsie when I was growing up. Learned a lot from it about the lengths we can go to for success. Very 80’s. I didn’t know about the preparation, so it’s adding depth to my understanding and depth of it. But I have watched dustin hoffman in action as a director (I am a moviemaker myself so I follow some of the legends to learn)- and he is amazing.
    This leads to the second level of your conversation, your short qualititative research confirms many studies on attractiveness and how relationships get formed. My masters work on this indicated that people use the pimary dimensions (age,race, gender) to “connect” with others- a temporary mechanism while they are trying to do more research about how they FEEL about them and two reasons for this are the following:

    1) Values – what people value is what attracts them to others. And everyone values and finds certain physical characteristics to be attractive. So in essence, what we feel is important at a time of meeting a prospect will determine who we choose. But many of us are not aware of our values, so we reduce them to the automatic script that translates to a physical requirement (I love protection and security,so I will marry a strong, defined man, etc)
    2) The primitive programming in the amygdala at the centre of the brain, which is essentially a centre of “good and bad”- managing mostly our fear and joy centres. research shows that many of us have been socialised to value “symmetry” – and we group our perceptual field to create a “trustworthy” picture that is translated into the amygdala as “someone I am comfortable with”.

    The Gestalt Psychologists have a concept called “perceived weirdness factor”, which says while we perceive the person as a “whole” – we are also at the same time looking for that thing that differentiates them from the stimuli around us. However that ‘thing’ cannot be too “weird” or too “out there”- otherwise it is perceived as risky. (for reputation, or whatever motive we have to be with someone)

    So unfortunately,with all the sophistication we have put on, we are really still primitive at a foundational level, and those primtive scripts drive us. So i always say to people, while a great personality is great to have, be aware of how the brain organises information for decision making and leverage on it to attract a partner. Learn from animals, find clothes, hairstyle that complement your body to create symmetry, then move into attitude as a differentiator. A positive attitude creates “feel good” emotions (stimulates the “happiness” centres in the brain which produce feel good hormones that make the date memorable)… this can easily become an essay. The point is as human beings we are complex but not complicated, and while who we choose seems to be reduced to a physical basis at first glance, the process is much more complex and we can tap into this complexity to get people go beyond our physicality and see us for who we are- that’s why our brain is as big as it is- it is really designed to manage relationships than thoughts and data, which it automates almost immediately.
    Thanks for an interesting reflection.

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