“I just don’t understand how you could want to be with someone who’s always telling you how beautiful and wonderful you are. Doesn’t that get tiresome?”
This was my mother’s response when I told her the guy I was dating had a way of stopping mid-conversation to tell me he thought I was “gorgeous” or that “no other woman in the room came close.”
I looked at her in a way that suggested she should be put in a straight jacket and sent to Bedlam. Last I checked, it was nice for a boy to call a girl pretty every once in a while.
But, I’ll confess: when a guy tells me I’m beautiful, my response is very Hobbesian… Miranda Hobbes that is. The “Sex and the City” starlet always took Steve’s outpouring of niceties with a grain of salt — her inner cynic couldn’t help it.
Talking to Annie a few days after another absurdly perfect date, we realized that modern women have been ruined — we’ve been raised to be Mirandas, distrusting of compliments, skeptical about sincerity. When I hear “you’re beautiful,” an internal eyebrow raises and the compliment is met with a tidal wave of skepticism. Why’s he saying that? What’s his deal? Is there really spinach on my face and he’s trying to tell me there’s spinach on my face without directly saying “there’s spinach on your face?”
It doesn’t help that I matured in the company of men — compliments were frequently followed by a request for my economics homework.
Eventually, Miranda wised up — Steve really did just like her that much…and as it turned out, she really liked him that much.
As for me? Well, I think my inner cynic is starting to shut up and accept this for what it is — something nice. I’m not sure I’ll ever be good at taking compliments, or that the voice in my head will ever totally stop saying “you’re lying” when he says “you look wonderful,” but if there’s one thing I have decided, it’s that hearing “you’re beautiful” and “I like you” will never get tiresome.
5 thoughts on “How Complimentary”
My boyfriend will stop mid-sentence, look at me with a smile on his face and say, “You’re so beautiful!” The first few months, I was skeptical but now, I just accept his compliments. He obviously thinks I am and it’s so nice to hear it. In past relationships I never had this type of attention so it took some getting used to. Like you, it’s not easy for me to accept them but it doesn’t mean I don’t like getting them. 🙂
Oh boy, I’m a schmuck! I once dated AND broke up with a man who would stop me mid-sentence to lean in and kiss me passionately. Yup. Schmuck! I dis-trusted his actions based on my insecurities, all 1,000 of em. Therefore, I broke it off cause “He surely doesn’t like me THAT much. I wonder if those kisses are leeway for…s-e-x!” Blasphemy! Who thinks like that?? This girl, sadly. The next time a man tells me I’m pretty, or stops me mid-sentence (my stories do border on harangue and nonsense so I see why my loved one would want to shut me up! haha. I kid. Kinda.) I’m responding with a batting of eyes and a tongue in mouth! Done Deal! And oh ya, I’m sure Miranda Hobbs would have wanted me to do so 😉
We’re also fighting against the smart/pretty dichotomy. While intellectually I know this is not the case (my genius friends are the most gorgeous people I know), I have definitely internalized it and just don’t believe people who say I’m pretty.
So true! When I started working at my job, a photographer came in to document the exhibition. I introduced myself, she looks at me and says “you’re the new gallery director? But you’re so pretty.” This didn’t help cure the smart/pretty dichotomy complex, considering the tone in her voice (emphasis on the “but”) and the look on her face (confusion) suggested that to be successful and not ugly were mutually exclusive…
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