Can anyone deliver a left-handed compliment quite like a loving member of your family?
I don’t think so.
It’s really an art – one developed over many many years:
You waltz up the stairs ready to go to 6th grade picture day after styling your own hair for the first time and your mother runs over with a brush, “Honey, you have such beautiful eyes, why do you insist on hiding them behind those bangs?!”
You are trying on prom dresses with your friends and your mother shows up and says, “Honey, you are such a pretty girl, why would you want to wear a dress that shows off your linebacker shoulders?” And you grin and bear it because she brought the checkbook and you are working 16 hour work weeks at $5.15/hour and they just don’t make prom dresses cheaper than $180….
You come home from your freshman year of college for Thanksgiving and at the first welcoming hug, you hear, “Honey, we are so happy you came home! Look at your poor face, you must be so stressed out, I’ve never seen your acne so bad!”
Yeah, family certainly does have a knack for “constructive criticism.” Or whatever you call it.
And they never let up.
Just the other night, I was talking to my Poppie while I was shopping for groceries. Somewhere between the blueberries and the coffee creamer I got slapped with a solid left-handed compliment.
Poppie said, “You know you’re Aunt Pam was visiting us the other day and she’s quite a bit older than you, but she is looking really great. She has a beautiful body and I told her that. Well, when your Nannie came in the room, she complimented Pam on her hair. That just goes to show you what men notice and what women notice. You know, dear, you have a beautiful face – you just need to really watch your weight and lose a few pounds and I’m sure you’ll find a boyfriend. You do have a pretty face, but men really notice a woman’s body.”
Now, what do you say to your 80-something-year-old grandfather after he says something like that?
Somehow, “No Shit, Poppie, why don’t you tell me something I didn’t know – of course boys like skinny bitches the best, I’ve only been single for 24 and a half of my 27 years – I think I know that!” didn’t seem quite appropriate.
Instead, I said, “Thank you.”
I said thank you because I knew there was nothing I could really say to him, I knew he wasn’t really wrong and I knew there was no good argument – nothing I could say for the win. Not to mention I was in the grocery store and didn’t want to lose my composure in the produce. Plus, he did tell me that I had a beautiful face.
Honestly, I do think I have a nice face. At least most of the features seem to fit nicely together (as long as you ignore the wrinkles forming on my forehead):
Now, I could nit-pic my face, of course, who couldn’t? But we’ll leave the size of my nose, mouth, skin tone and pore-depth out of this…because overall, I am satisfied with my face.
Getting a picture of my body was slightly more difficult. I had to use the bathroom mirror:
Cheesy shot, I know – but I wanted to get a full-body picture on my blog because it has taken me years and years to become comfortable in my own skin and I’m proud of that.
No, my body isn’t perfect. I’m not thin and will never be called “skinny.” However, I don’t think that this body of mine is the one and only speed bump in my dating life.
My body is good to me. My legs take me places – I walk, run and on rare occasions, skip like a school girl. They are not slender and there is always that dull feeling of hatred I will have for pieces of my inner-thigh, but they are strong and capable legs and being active, I need them.
My arms are awkwardly long. I was told in 7th grade band class that I had the longest arms in the world. Some days I feel like I could walk on my knuckles. However, reaching things on the top shelf is no problem, which is important when you live alone and have a bad habit of falling off of things you climb.
I’m almost 5’10” – that’s really freaking tall. It wasn’t until college that I got over my fear of being the tallest girl in the room and started rocking heels. I love wearing heels- the higher the better!
My hands are too big to be dainty, but to small to palm a basketball – they are just the right size for opening my own jars of Prego.
I wouldn’t use a word like “opulent” to describe my bosom – modest is more like it. But, I like to think I rock the bit I’ve been bestowed.
It’s easy to hate your body. That path of self-depreciating criticism and negativity is one upon which you can find yourself so far down that you’ve lost sight of the way out. I’ve been down that path before – I refuse to go down it again. Even when baited by a relative.
So, I’m taking the whole conversation with a grain of salt and letting the compliment resound, you have a beautiful face. Thanks, Poppie!
I’m proud to be more than just a pretty face – class, intelligence and charm still count for something, right?