Saturday, November 6, 2010

Complimentary blogging.

Not in the sense of free or gratis, rather actual thoughts about blogging and compliments.

I snippped this as an edit from where the above post started to veer away to specifics. I was outlining regrets that I had if any about the blog and I digressed to a discussion about what I have learned this last year about the value of compliments. Like voting in Chicago, do it early and often.

I was saying how most of my regrets center on not using the things we learned about each other to find ways to better express my love and admiration of my wife. I thought then and now she is sexy as hell, in all of her various shapes and sizes, and moods, and modes of dress. Hell, when I met her she was just about as frumpy as she knows how to be. Peach sweats, tennis shoes. I remember them as K-swiss but I'm probably wrong. I remember impressions and my mind fills in the rest. She remembers precise details or not at all. I remember thinking what a cute girl, what an ugly outfit.

I have a real problem expressing compliments when I do in fact care deeply about how they will be received. I saw the example of my father's trite repetitive, shallow delivery of compliments (That was the best meal ever.) and my mothers frankly bitchy responses to those (how is it different than the same meal I served 10 days ago?). Eventually it degenerated into nearly silent meal times. What I learned was that a compliment has to be different every time and analytical, accurate and impressive.

Hard to do for two decades.

Recently I had a couple of bouts of sadness as I was reminded of this in two different ways.

The first was an over heard conversation where a teenage girl was answering the question posed by her friend, "What does she possibly see in him?" The question was more detailed than that but I am trying to avoid snark here. The gist was that the person was not immediately apparently attractive on really any level, where the "she" certainly is on a lot of levels. The response was, "Well he really loves her and she is really happy lately." Broke my heart. I had thought (and still do) that the effusive references to "That beautiful WHOA-man" as he pronounces it sounded hackneyed and insincere. Why? She is in fact beautiful. Outside as well as inside when she allows herself to be. I fancy myself good with words.

Would it have been so hard to find something, anything to say. I could probably find a dozen ways to say essentially the same thing. I could have complimented her external self in a myriad of ways. This is not the time so I won't wax personal about things that are not my place. But in general from the sensitivity and responsiveness she is blessed with on the physical side to the individual parts that make up the whole. From the straight smallish nose that people go to plastic surgeons to get to her stunted (slightly) toes. Wait that last might not flatter, but you get the idea. Internally, (not that...PERVERT! Well,, sorry I should consider the offense?) she has a bright mind, incredible recall of dates and names and places. She is a great mother, a responsive and empathic lover, a fierce defender of her friends and her kids and brilliantly creative in word and image. Her sense of space and color is amazing. I can tell when something is 'off' but not what it missing. Anyway the point here is not to get sappy and run on about her qualities which is entirely beside the point at this point.

The second occurrence was a woman I am recently a little taken with. I sense a good heart there, but there is a bit rescuing needed and despite my pangs in that direction, I think it isn't what I have the time, emotional energy, or resources for a project. Still one muses. She has over time over-plucked her brows and unbeknown to me self-conscious about it. They don't look overly plucked to me on close inspection, but are fine, a bit sparse, sure, but what attracted my notice was the lazy-apostrophe shape of them. Like ' turned 90 degrees. I thought she looked puzzled. On the other hand with my long-winded non-sequiturs with deviating asides..(NOT that kind of deviations! Pervert!)...I make a lot of people puzzled. So maybe she was just puzzled.

Another day I saw her her brows were drawn 'properly' (again, I can see whats wrong but not how to make it right generally). I mentioned to her that I had almost said something the other day about them, and that I liked this version better. She smiled and told me about her angst about them and how she had over plucked and can't seem to get them to grow back where she needs them.

I apologized for digging up of a sensitivity. I explained that everyone has a sensitivity about one part of their body or the other. I started to give examples then realized shut up, maybe she doesn't like her ears (cute) or her eyes (soulful) or..well you get the idea. I stopped and said. Wait a minute while I figure out how to best say this.

I came up with something to the effect that we are all given a collection of parts by our Creator, this nose, those eyes, a set of ears, a frame, curves or not and so on. (I truly believe God makes no ugly people. Ugly people are self-creations sometimes with the help of external influences...but that aside I left out)

What I told her was that all of her individual parts would be the envy of someone that wants to change this or that about her. I told her I thought all her individual parts individually and the way they happen to be arranged for her all together were attractive. I was just digging my way out of a hole.

She told me "That is the best compliment I have ever gotten!" I was pleased with myself and thought of Jack Nicholson after paying Helen Hunt a compliment: "I may have overshot............I was aiming for just enough to keep you from heading out that door."

(A must-watch, but surely you've seen it?) I decided that I am going to express every single complimentary thing I think about anyone from now on. Sure I'll look like a schmaltzy lounge lizard hitting on everyone, but to hell with it. Unless their husband/boyfriend/girlfriend of protective neighbor kicks my ass, how is that gonna hurt anyone?

-The Geek


Anonymous said...

"The Geek" here. Really.

I haven't had the courage to revisit this blog in a LONG time. I thought my bittersweet feelings would shade more bitter than sweet if I came back.

I was talking to a fairly new friend tonight it came up...and she wanted to read it.

As I struggled to get her the URL...I read the first sentences of several posts by The Artist...and it all came flooding back. But only the sweet.

I guess I HAVE moved on.

Anonymous said...

Geek here...

the above was a place holder for a blog post...

this is my comment about this post:

I HAVE been doing that and it is amazing. I tell women the most outrageous things I notice about them sometimes in highly inappropriate ways sometimes dangerously close to vulgar.

Girls LOVE it. Almost universally. On the rarest of occasions it falls flat, and I get a tepid smile.

Most common reaction? "Oh, you are SO sweet!"


To things like:

"Even though that man's t-shirt is a poor fit on STILL look darned good in it..."

"Aw thanks," she says.

"It might be because I am accustomed to mentally undressing you.."

" are SO sweet to me!"


Gentleman, open your mouths...say EXACTLY what you are thinking.

Your mileage may vary if you lack my charm, looks and panache. ~smirk~