“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.