I Have Small Calves And Bob Ross Was A Bad Painter

Dear Malin Reese,

I have a large forehead. Bob Ross, the bearded painter with the creepy calm pedophile voice, could have used it in place of his canvas to paint one of the generic landscapes he’s famous for. Quick side thought; Bob Ross was famous for being vanilla. He was the Jay Leno of the painting world and that is not a compliment. Some people my age actually think it’s cool to own a shirt you can buy at Target with Bob Ross’ face screen-printed on it. This is almost as bad as owning a Che Guevara shirt.  Back to my large forehead. It bums me out sometimes. A forehead shouldn’t be large enough to put a Monopoly board on.  Along with my forehead, here’s a melodramatic  list of my physical insecurities:

I’m almost 30 and I can’t grow a beard. I have what many consider a baby-face. This means that I’ll be in a crowded bar with a group of friends and I’ll be the only one to get carded. Laughter ensues, I make a self-deprecating joke about how puberty only hit half of me and then I spend the rest of the evening stealing glances at all of the full-bearded Seattleites arrogantly itching their chin and neck scruff. I just want an itch to scratch.

I’m very pale. If you put me in a small room crowded with people and shut the lights off, I’d be the melanin-free gentleman glowing in the corner. You do not have this problem. You and your Mom are a part of the “others” that enjoy pool parties, the beach and laughing at pale people. I enjoy shade, the interior of buildings and SPF 110. Laugh it up, daughter.

I’m small-calved. With all of the running, jumping and physical activity I’ve done in my life, you’d think that I’d have bigger calves. I’m not looking for bulbous eyesores but a little lithe definition would be nice. Something that, if needed, I could subtly flex to impress the masses. By the way, your Aunt Anna has never made mention of my calves but she absolutely hates my thighs. Naturally, I took a collection of thigh photos and framed them for her. If you’re lucky, one day those photos might be yours.

If these insecurities of mine sound ridiculous, it’s because they are. They don’t affect my ability to be a father, husband or citizen. Still, even if they don’t matter, it’s okay to have a few of them. One day, you’re going to be bothered by a list of your own insecurities. All I ask is that you don’t let them consume you or define who you are. This is going to be tough. You have it a lot harder as a female. Your physical appearance, both good and bad, is going to be picked apart by other people. (Mind you, this will happen from both sexes. Asshole Guys and Mean Girls.) Do your best to ignore the bad and take the good with a grain of salt.

Here’s my final thought. Though you’ll have these inevitable insecurities, you’re fortunate to be really beautiful. (Mixed babies for the win!) You’re going to be beautiful tomorrow, on your first day of school, the day you walk down the aisle and the day you become a mother yourself. Just know that the people who matter most in your life will always judge you based off the content of your character and not the way you look. Remember to do the same yourself.




  1. Go fuck yourself. As a proud member of the Ross family, these derisive attacks on my heart and soul are completely uncalled for. You should be ashamed of yourself. My father was a great man, unlike you who is probably a bad dad with a rad forehead. It’s not my fault I like little boys

  2. Hello and on behalf of just some guy who has very large calves:

    It is my privilege to have worked with Bob Ross in painting over the years, and I have very strong feelings on your own very strong feelings on Ross here. As a third party, though, I can at least distance myself from this accident of a post. An accident very unlike my latest book, Happy Little Accidents: The Wit & Wisdom of Bob Ross, which is currently in bookstores and online around the globe for a limited price of 9.99 only. Pick a copy up for yourself, or for the whole family, and do that great guy (Bob Ross not me) proud!

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