I don’t consider myself all that addicted to flattery. My close friends are the types to answer the phone “Loooooser” and won’t hesitate to dish out an unsolicited Altoid — “Here, Funk Master Breath.” But they’re also the kind of women who will revel in your good judgment. They are jerks, sure, but lovable ones.
So most of the compliments I get are from strangers. Men and plenty of women who don’t know how much I suffered through middle and high school as the girl whose mom wouldn’t let her pluck her eyebrows, wear makeup of any kind, waste money at the Gap and Foot Locker, or basically participate in any spontaneously choreographed teen makeover fantasy. I was the ugly duckling who always knew she was a swan and couldn’t get why everyone else didn’t see the reflection I did.
When I first cut my hair into a bob 4 years ago. Folks loved it so much that I haven’t changed the style since.
Anyways all that changed when I headed to New York for college and put some elbow grease into my appearance — something I did for me and not the faraway bullies who just like my mom said, “Are still doing the S.O.S. they were in 1995.”
I, on the other hand, was on some new shit. I was getting my hair pressed every two weeks by a southern matriarch everyone called Ms. Bert. I met my two boo thangs Sephora and Zara. I stalked the sidewalk like I’d always wanted to, with equal parts confidence and aloofness. It was as if an internal flip was switched and a neon light buzzed bright on my forehead. The compliments started coming then.
And I’m not talking about catcalls and street harassment and just ew. But sincere appreciation for the effort I’d put into me. I was taken aback the first time a girl at a club told me my hair was “stunning.” It was in a curly updo that took an hour and all the hair spray. I purred as my ego got stroked, not because of my hair but because someone else recognized the effort. Remember when getting an “e for effort” was considered a bad thing? No, my friends, it’s the best thing.
So when a recent study of Brits, who as we all know love to be studied, pointed out that “There’s nothing better than receiving a compliment,” I thought seriously about relocating. According to the Daily Mail, where I get all my daily doses of Aduh! moments, “Nearly half of all Brits believe that a positive comment about how they look would lift them out of any mood they were in.” Really I’m wondering what’s wrong with the other half of all Brits. Do these people not like compliments? Do they not bleed?
The most interesting part of the survey conducted by a cosmetic surgery company was the list of “top compliments.” People really like hearing that they’ve lost weight, have great hair, look younger and have well behaved children. All those things, I’m assuming, they’ve actually put an effort in. Most folks don’t just fart out good kids — they actually try to teach them manners and what not at home. Similarly, nice looking hair doesn’t just happen, it usually takes some time and effort. Same goes for losing weight (unless you got sick or something, in which case it’s probably annoying to hear).
If someone told me, “Hey both your eyes are spaced equidistantly from your nose, good on you!” I’m not sure I’d get the kind of warm fuzzies that I get when someone says, “I love that eye shadow.” Sure I didn’t make the eye shadow in my basement, but I did carefully pick it out, apply it to match my outfit and I’m truly flattered when someone notices that.
Basically people like to get verbal gold stars for putting in work and I don’t blame them. So often in life we swim alone in our little fishbowls with no hope of a treat. Facebook thumbs ups do not count — I mean they do but it’s just not the same as a real live “nice dress.”
What’s your favorite kind of compliment? Heard a good one lately?