[Proof I’ll argue anything:]
On the outskirts of an awkward conversation at friend’s house party in 2010, I couldn’t believe her confidence. An acquaintance was describing how her boyfriend had told her she was the most beautiful girl in the world: a common line, I’m sure. Unfortunately for her though, the boyfriend had disengaged in an adjacent conversation nearby and looked in our direction. With his newly arrived attention, she prompted him, ‘Go on, tell them’. He looked blankly at her. She continued, ‘Babe, tell them how you think I’m the most beautiful girl…’. He didn’t. The begging vs. see-through-stare exchange continued. Cringe. Finally, he dismissed her plea with an over-compensated participation in his original conversation.
It was well awkward. They must have come from an argument. They were heading straight into an argument. But that’s not my point.
You’re the most beautiful girl in the world.
What a over-shot compliment. What a ridiculous line.
At the time of the interaction, I was sort-of-associated with a man-boy. We had both suffered the awkward interaction; both our stomachs had contracted tightly as we cringed. I also already had an aversion to external/superficial/physical compliments. However, that interaction gave me permission to over-analyse ‘compliments’ which bolted passed the truth with the vengeance of a losing army’s last catapulted projectile. Just like I don’t think you should give up critical thought when discussing issues of religion/faith, I don’t think rationality should be given up for the sake of a Western-propagated version of romance. And so, from then on, our affectionate compliments to each other were something closer to the truth, ‘You’re a little above average looking’, ‘I think you’d probably feature somewhere in the top 1.8 billion people in the world’. Comments like these were liberating. No, really. Like most girls, I display a marvellous knack of ricocheting a compliment to the left field, mostly because I do not believe what complimentors are saying. Man-boy’s comments were appropriate to what/who he was complimenting. I felt comfortable receiving them, and I didn’t feel as if our sort-of-association was based on my physical attributes either – thank heavens. I’ve made a bit of a joke about it, but realistic compliments are more complimentary in my mind; at least, the complimentor does not insult your rationality.
P.S. You don’t have to agree with me. x