Supposedly many men are nervous about paying compliments to a woman because the intended compliment easily gets misconstrued as something negative.
"Curvy" is taken as "fat". "Figure-hugging" is taken as "too tight". "Great make-up" is read as "too much". And so on.
Not only that but most women aren't actually very keen on compliments anyway, or so this survey says. It doesn't explain why.
The reason, from my own past experience, is that women often regard compliments with suspicion. They think you're simply flattering them, or trying to seduce them, or trying to get something out of them. The idea that you're genuinely admiring them, with no ulterior motive, is hard to swallow.
But apparently some compliments are more credible than others. If you say a woman looks thinner, or looks utterly gorgeous, or her dress is stunning, or her hair is fabulous, she's more likely to believe you and bury the doubts. All a bit of a minefield for the well-meaning bloke just trying to say "Hey, you're looking good".
I suppose women's scepticism isn't as strange as it might seem, given that often men DO have an ulterior motive when they pay a compliment. Yes, they frequently do want her to cook the dinner, or organise the conference - or go to bed with him.
To be fair though, the survey should also have asked women if their intended compliments to men are equally misconstrued. Don't men also wonder about the hidden agenda? Or are they so narcissistic, they just lap up the compliments and let their heads swell?
Personally, the only compliments I get are usually of the "You're so thin" or "You look so young" variety. Which happen to be true. I never get compliments on my clothes, mainly because they're bog-standard male clothing. And I'm never complimented on my make-up. I must be using the wrong shade of lipstick.