a lesson in un-compliments

Compliments...are a funny thing...and a topic that I would love to write a book on someday, because so few people actually get it. Few people know how to give truly good, make-another-person-feel-grand compliments. For the record, "you've lost weight" is not a compliment. It's commentary. "You look awesome!" is a compliment. Never say to a woman, "that dress is amazing." That is not a compliment to the woman...that's a compliment to the dress. When complimenting someone, or attempting to, phrasing is everything!

FYI: when in doubt about what is or isn't a great compliment, stick with a heartfelt, "it's so great to see you". Better no compliment than a bad one.

Speaking of bad ones. A funny thing happened on my way back from the Antiqueland adventures...we stayed at a very nice hotel in Richardson, near the home office of Joal's company. We've stayed there before and it's one of my favorites. It's nicely located and easy to navigate around...there was a time when it was close to a couple of great scrapbooking stores, but unfortunately, they are no longer open. It's close to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (my favorite southern seafood place) and now, of course, Antiqueland, which I will definately be frequenting on our return trips. Occasionally, I have the pleasure of a few days respite when Joal is working at the office, so it's nice to have exciting things close by.

So back to my little story. I'm walking through the lobby of the nice hotel (you can always judge a hotel by the quality of the art on it's walls...and this one is fantastic), purse on my arm and my new Droid X phone in my hand. I'm enjoying passing by the colorful glass sculptures that adorn the wall, wondering if they are original Chihuly or knock-offs...when I catch a young(er) man at the hotel podium watching me. I expect him to say something along the lines of "Can I help you?'. I've been here a time or two and I know my way around pretty good. I take about two more steps and he says "I like your Droid."

Now I realize I am not the girl that men randomly hit on, ever. I've never been that girl. I'm 38. I rarely even notice men younger than myself and I certainly don't expect compliments from random men of any age. There's only *one* man from whom I like to get compliments of any sort. Well, OK, two, if I count my Dad.

But wait.
He said what?
"I like your Droid."
I'm stunned.
Exactly what is the proper response to an alleged compliment about the choice of technology a woman carries? Do I need a consultation with Emily Post to figure this out, because, clearly I have no idea how to respond. Am I supposed to say "thank you"? Was that even an actual compliment? Is this what passes for a compliment these days? (I do hope not.)

Lemme get this straight. On this particular day, I've abandoned the mom-uniform of jeans, a sweater and sneakers, and for once, I'm well-dressed. My hair is done, I'm wearing nice shoes and a snappy bracelet. I've been shopping at that fabulous treasure den, and I'm sure the rush of it is still coarsing through my veins. I'm happy as a clam...does it show? There are plenty of options for appropriate compliments, if you feel you absolutely must point out something. (I'd rather you didn't but whatever.)

But no.
The best this person can come up with is "I like your Droid."
It's a phone, Bozo. That's the equivalent of me saying "I like your FAX, dude."
It's a gadget. It is definately not compliment-worthy, to any woman, especially not me.
The more I say it, in retrospect, the creepier it sounds.

"I like your Droid."
Later I imagine it in the deep-Italian accent that Joey from Friends used to say "Howyoudoin'?".
It just gets worse.

Is this all the (non)compliment that a 38-year-old woman can expect? I was suddenly tempted to run to my room and hide for the rest of the evening. Those little wrinkles that have been appearing around the corners of my eyes just grew deeper--I'm sure of it. All in the space of four words from a boy I don't even know.

Joal thinks it's severely funny and reminds me that he bought me a fancy phone because he likes me. (And because he needed someone to teach him how to use his Droid X.) And he reminds me that he knows exactly how to give a woman--this woman--a compliment...a genuine, from-the-heart compliment that says "I love you, I notice you, and I choose you" all in one little phrase...and it has nothing, nothing at all to do with the Droid X in my hand.

I'll take that any day.

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