If You Can't Say Something Nice...
It's something I wrote in my NOTES section of my Facebook profile.
You caught me. Cheating.
I rarely get into a snit these days. I have (in recent years) tried to look at things from a peaceful place and say (I often do, too) "nothing good can come from..." fill in the blanks. To that end, I have tended to let things wash off my back(side) when and if they are going to bother me or upset the smooth sailing of my daily routine (or, frankly, that of the person or persons I am encountering). This, mind you, is not an absolute. We cannot go our entire lives without getting our feelings hurt, being cross with someone or hurting someone. I can try, though...
Today, though, I got into a tiny snit. Not a big one where I read someone - just a little moment when I decided to say something about what has been bothering me... and has been for awhile now. And it isn't a big deal.. just a little something. You know? Just a little something.
I got an email from someone on a website for gay men -- a hook up site. I get this email a lot.
"Wow! You look amazing for your age!"
Now, that is a nice compliment. I get it a lot. In real life, I get it. On Facebook, I get it. On the sex sites, I get it. And I appreciate it. I like the compliment, I like the validation...
I often find myself thinking it's a pile of horseshit.
So today, I said what was in my mind. And this is how it went:
Twenty something year old boy: Hott
Old man Mosher: What a nice compliment. Thank you.
Twenty something year old boy: What's your age
Old man Mosher: i'm forty five. i'll be forty six on july 8th. my pics were shot in October
Twenty something year old boy: your look expectacular very nice skin and body
Old man Mosher: Again, thank you for the compli
Twenty something year old boy: It's truth. Your my new idol
(I HATE PEOPLE WHO USE YOUR INSTEAD OF YOU'RE. IT'S LIKE A SPIKE IN MY HEAD.)
Old man Mosher: That's sweet but I'm not to be idolized. I'm just a guy.
Twenty something year old boy: i said because for your age you look great, i expect see in a feature similar you
Old man Mosher: not to put too fine a point on it; but age has nothing to do with looking good. i know 20 year olds who don't look like it do. it's all about effort
Twenty something year old boy: it's genetics
Old man Mosher: are you trying to insult me?
Twenty something year old boy: no. not never.
Old man Mosher: well then let me tell you it is not genetic. i work my ass off to look the way i do.
Thus ended our chat.
It left me thinking, though, about the number of times i have had exchanges like:
"You look great for 45!"
"this is what 45 looks like"
"I hope I look as good as you do when I'm in my forties"
"You don't look as good as I do in your twenties."
or my favourite:"
I don't usually like asians but you're HOT"
"Thank you for making me the exception to your racism."
So what I want to know is what is wrong with people? Can't people think before they speak? Can't people govern their tongues, even a little? Is it so hard to pay someone a compliment? Must they always be qualified?
I know, I sound like an old bitch who can't appreciate being given a compliment in a world where so few people actually pay compliments... and that's not true. I am happy to have them. I just want to know why it can't be simpler. I can do it.
I know other people who can do it.
"You look real nice today."
"Don't you put the sunshine to shame!"
"You look so fit!"
"Golly, you're smart."
"Boy, you have some haberdasher."
"I am overwhelmed by your talent."
Just say the nice part of the thought in your head and stop speaking before the qualifier gets out! Or choose your words properly! My friend once said to me "you're so skinny", to which I replied "that's not a compliment". THINK. Just think before you speak. A body builder doesn't want to be told they are skinny. A writer doesn't want to be told that their new book is better than their last book. A singer doesn't want to be told they should have sung Michael Buble's arrangement of Call Me Irresponsible. Someone who tells you their (not 20's) age would love to hear "you wear it well!". A dieter doesn't need to hear "keep on going!" or "you'll get there!" -- a simple "you're glowing" or "you're looking fine!" will do. A baker doesn't want to be asked "Have you ever had Out of the Kitchen cupcakes?! They are amazing!"
It astounds me... the things people will say right to your face without thinking about it. That's really all it takes.. a little thought. A little common sense.
These days, that can tend to be a rare thing.