Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Secret admirer

I'm still thinking about compli-ments. And I'm wondering if I'm the only person in the world with a constant desire to compliment total strangers on their appearance.

Whenever I'm out and about, if I see someone who's amazingly beautiful, or who's wearing some lovely bit of clothing (usually a woman but sometimes a man), I always have the urge to tell them.

I don't of course, because their likely reaction is either that I'm a nutter, or I'm about to hit on them, or I'm out to sell them something. They'll either mumble a reluctant "thanks" or say nothing. Then they'll move off in a hurry, furtively checking I'm not following them and intent on knifing them to death.

It's frustrating though, because I'm sure the other person would love to know that their dress/suit/hair/bracelet is admired by someone and isn't just an expensive mistake. And I'm sure they'd love to know that they're seen as attractive/handsome/sexy and not as a plain Jane or a clammy Sammy.

There should be a National Compliment Day when we voice all those unspoken compliments to whoever it is, and the complimentee always relishes the sentiment rather than freezing with apprehension. Just think how awash with pleasure and self-esteem we would all be by the end of the day.

It's sad that we have to keep so many potentially uplifting compliments to ourselves and the admired person never has an inkling that something about them is appreciated or even envied. Sadder still if they happen to be depressed and in need of a few encouraging remarks.

So here's a question for you. If some aging geezer like me stopped you in the street and said he adored your dress (or jacket) would you be pleased or alarmed?

37 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh, I think you should tell people. You can always look away shyly after saying it and scuttle off. It's the idea of a creepy stare or being a bit too close and serious that is a bit freaky.

Once, at a really crucial time of my life, when I was in my early 20s, I was walking down the road and an elderly man, a total stranger, lifted his hat, apologised for bothering me and offered me a wonderful compliment in such a courteous way. I was flabbergasted, and took it as sign to make a particular decision I was mulling over. I am sure it changed my life and have always been grateful for such a wonderful thing at such a crucial time.

We cast our bread upon the waters....

Bijoux said...

That's a tough question, Nick. I think as a woman, I feel as though I have to be on guard with strangers. Isn't that sad? But, like you, I think it is uplifting to give and receive a compliment. There are times I've held back, seeing some young man with gorgeous eyes or who is wearing the most intoxicating cologne, but I have to bite my tongue because I don't want to be seen as some MILF on the loose!

Nick said...

Jenny - Interesting that you and Bijoux have such different views! I'm very intrigued by this wonderful compliment that changed your life. You couldn't just give us a few clues??

Bijoux - I suspect your attitude is more typical of the average woman. But I bet those young men would love to be told what you're secretly thinking! Even at the risk of being MILFed....

Ursula said...

I'd be pleased, Nick.

I remember a great compliment paid to me, a couple of years ago, by a stranger. A woman. Let's be more precise: A hooker. She was totally unselfconscious about it. She saw me and said what was on her mind. Could have kissed her. Probably did. On the cheek.

As to old and/or young geezers. Well, Nick. The gracious thing to do is to accept any compliment. If it makes the one doing the complementing happy that's good enough for me. Nowadays people are far too suspicious for their own good.

U

Scarlet Blue said...

Please see my comment on your previous post.
If you did to me in the street there is a possibility that I would walk out in front of a bus.
Sx

Grannymar said...

Nick, I am certainly not average and love a compliment. I have often paid a compliment to total strangers in the street or shop when so inclined. In fact I did so only yesterday and the lady walked on with a lighter step and a smile on her face.

As Jenny Woolf says, your compliment may make a life changing difference. So go ahead.

Nick said...

Ursula - I'm intrigued by that compliment as well. Presumably she said something flattering about your appearance? And I agree, people are too suspicious for their own good.

Scarlet - (Looks up and down road, luckily no bus in sight) Did anyone tell you you're looking like a million dollars today?

Nick said...

Grannymar - What a very liberated attitude. I shall take courage from your experience and risk a few well-chosen words. But how coy you are all being about the exact nature of your compliments!

Cheerful Monk said...

I often get compliments on my hat. At my age I'll take all the compliments I can get. :)

Eryl said...

I have the same urge, and these day pretty much let rip with it, no one has ever been horrified to my knowledge.

At a book festival last year a very cheery old geezer didn't just compliment me on my boots but kept me talking, about boots he's owned and loved, for a good ten minutes. Made my day.

Nick said...

Monk - On your hat? Is it a very special hat? The only hat I've ever worn is a baseball cap in Australia to keep out the heat. Perhaps I should turn really eccentric and go everywhere in a fascinator.

Nick said...

Eryl - Your positive experience further encourages me! I shall remark on all the lovely boots I see. I shan't rattle on for ten minutes though.

John Myste said...

If some aging geezer like me stopped you in the street and said he adored your dress (or jacket) would you be pleased or alarmed?

I would inform the poor senile bastard that it is neither a dress, nor a jacket, but a button down shirt.

I would be flattered that one of his last coherent thoughts, though mistaken, was complimentary.

I would probably compliment him on his choice in cigars.

Suburbia said...

Pleased :-)

I'd just say thank you.

Nick said...

John M - I don't understand your comment. Poor senile bastard? Button down shirt? One of his last coherent thoughts? His choice in cigars? You've completely lost me.

Nick said...

Suburbia - That's good to know! You have a lovely smile, by the way (yes, I have some pics of you).

nursemyra said...

I often give compliments to strangers as I know how good they make you feel.

Secret Agent Woman said...

It might depend on the situation. If it was done in a friendly way, and out in a safe place (as opposed to say, as I'm hurrying by at night), I'd be pleased. And I do compliment people on things like that all the time: "Oh, I love your necklace!" Or "Cool shirt!" I think that's fine. I have patients compliment me on something I'm wearing fairly frequently. What's not to like about that?

John Gray said...

if you mentioned that the dress I was wearing was a bit of class, I think I would have smacked you
.....
then dated you x

kylie said...

i would probably just take the compliment and be happy!

kylie said...

hey and nick, if you want to compliment someone i think you should do it. if they dont want to accept it, its not really your problem.

you know, when i was in california a really scruffy homeless looking dude rode up to me on a bicycle and said he just wanted to tell me i was pretty. he was gone almost before i could thank him but the memory lives on.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I would like to think I'd take it in the spirit intended. I also have the frequent urge to compliment people but often curtail it for the same reasons you mentioned. It's sad that human interactions have become so wrought with suspicion and distrust.

Nick said...

Myra - All these comments are thoroughly reassuring me that most people just like compliments whoever they may came from.

Agent - As I said to Myra! Though maybe not, as you say, a compliment from a stranger in a dark alley.

Nick said...

John G - He he! Of course I'd accept the dress for a while, but then I'd want to know if you still looked that good in a shirt and jeans....

Kylie - Good point about non-acceptance being the other person's problem (if the compliment was genuine enough). That's funny about the homeless guy on the bike!

Nick said...

Heart - Good to know you also have the same sort of inhibitions! But it's true we're all too suspicious and should be more open-minded about people's intentions.

Baino said...

Feel free to fling as many compiments in my direction as you see fit...as long as they are sincere, I think it's a lovely thing to do

Nick said...

Baino - Where do I begin? There are so many things about you I could pay a compliment to! But of course you probably dwell on the less perfect things as we all do. I like your joie de vivre, your sharp intelligence and your passion for chardonnay, for a start....

Rummuser said...

This aged specimen most certainly would and quip that he doesn't swing that way!

Nick said...

Ramana - That makes me think about the term "Swinging Sixties" and how I never noticed its ambiguity. Swinging meaning not just having a good time, but also wife-swapping and being gay.

Anyway, would be what? Alarmed presumably.

Wisewebwoman said...

Gosh, I do this a lot, never thought about it. And people have stopped me and complimented me, not as often as I'd like, but enough to remember some.
When a colour is gorgeous or a design aesthetically pleasing what's to stop?
Actually I told a guest today he was one of the most sensitive men I'd ever met and he nearly fell over. He asked me was I calling him feminine and I said is that a bad thing? Why do people genderize everything?
There is a huge difference between a leer and a genuine compliment.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - It's so funny how the slightest hint of "femininity" unnerves so many men. Glad to know the compliments are flying around like confetti!

speccy said...

I'd be chuffed and flustered, and tell I'd tell everybody about that nice thin guy who paid me a compliment :)

Nick said...

Speccy - Chuffed and flustered, I like it! Tell you what, think of the best compliment you could receive, and then you can tell everyone it came from me.

e said...

Nick,

I pay people compliments all of the time and generally they are chuffed that someone gives them a sincere, positive remark.

I'm with Baino on this one. With all the mess in the world, it is a nice thing and pretty rare, I think, to share a compliment with someone.

Nick said...

e - Indeed, in this often disheartening world, it's nice to get an unexpected compliment. Especially from someone you imagine doesn't like you at all.

blackwatertown said...

I do it. Though I generally stick to clothing. If someone has a fantastic hat, it's one's duty to let them know. Boots too. And jackets. That's probably the limit though.
Sometimes squinting, followed by an approving nod and saying the name of a brand of underwear can be misinterpreted.

Nick said...

Blackwater - Any mention of underwear is very likely to be misinterpreted....