Monday, January 18, 2016

Questionable Compliments

Herself's long-standing Acquaintance, who is aware of the new Project that Herself is undertaking, offered this statement today:

I do hope that you are not too anxious.... they will be dazzled by your intelligence and appreciative of your good looks... a great combination.

Oh, dear.

On the one hand, it sounds like a compliment. On the other hand, it does not. 

The last time Herself spoke to long-standing Acquaintance, Acquaintance asked whether Herself was anxious. Herself did not say "yes, I'm anxious" - for the word does not fit. Rather, she commented that it is complex to undertake something completely new like the Project. Despite this, Acquaintance continues to use the word "anxious" - and this repetition of a word that Acquaintance uses so frequently to describe her own state of nervousness about a variety of things seems, in Herself's mind, an attempt to forge a commonality of anxiety between Herself and Acquaintance. No. That will not be done. 

And what of Herself's "good looks"? Well, given that the Project is a professional opportunity, it's not something that warrants recognition or appreciation of appearance. More to the point, though,  Acquaintance has previously provided some other commentary that calls into question the use of the phrase, "good looks." Herself still remembers the occasion when Acquaintance warned her by stating, "You'd better be careful. [Beloved Husband] works in an office where women dress nicely and sexily every day." So which is it? Is it that Herself needs to be careful lest other more attractive women supplant Beloved Husband's affections for her, or is it that others will in fact appreciate her attractiveness? (I suppose the two are not mutually exclusive.)

We know. It's just a compliment. Or at least that's what Acquaintance would state, if Herself tried to point out that it was an odd manner of complimenting. 

Perhaps Herself should give up trying to understand why Acquaintance says the things she does. And perhaps Herself should stop attempting to fashion a response that would issuade Acquaintance from saying similar things in the future. It is futile to do so. 


Sometimes, a cabin all alone in the woods seems to be what is needed the most. 

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