What do you think, Ratty?

Dear Ratty,

Let’s talk compliments. I like to give them, I do. I notice small things and if I notice a small thing that makes me happy I will tell you about it. I use words like “love” or “neat” or “amazing”, not the most original words I know, but standard fare when you’re talking about compliments. I do not use words like “interesting” or “different”, nor do I make an observation, just to… make an observation. Other people, however.

Once I was wearing a dress and someone (oh probably a co-worker) observed, “that dress looks really comfortable” and I answered, “Why thank you, yes it…” and then my voice trailed off. What the fuck was that?

A compliment? I don’t think so.

So Ratty, I would like to ask you, what’s the strangest “compliment” you’ve ever received and if someone were to make one of those statements that say nothing, such as “Oh, you cut your hair” how would you respond.



The strangest compliment I can recall was, “Nice shoes”. I was wearing beat up old Chuck Taylor’s so that was odd. Stranger still it came from the mouth of a homeless man. He asked me where I got them and I think I muttered, “A shoe store?”. He said, “Oh”. It wasn’t until much later that I realized he thought I was homeless too. That night I resolved to shave my beard and get rid of my green Army looking jacket (that was over 10 years ago – I still have a beard, a new one, and a green Army looking jacket… also a new one).

What would I do if I got a, “Oh you cut your hair” style ‘compliment’? It’s rare that I get a compliment that isn’t one of these. I assume it’s because I’m a guy. I hope it is. I mean I hope it’s not just me. With me it’s always just someone observing something that anyone with sight could see. I can’t stand that kind of stuff. “You’re wearing a sweater”. Is that a question? “New shoes”. Thank you? “Have you always worn glasses”? No, why?!? I despise these kinds of lazy conversation starters. I’m meant to ask a question in return. I’m meant to care about their opinion. Nothing makes me care less about someone’s opinion than being prompted to fish for it. Get off the fence and have the courage to tell me you like my shoes. Or not.


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