More Than Just a Pretty Face

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?


About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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12 Responses to More Than Just a Pretty Face

  1. Go Frank Go says:

    “If you just changed… EVERYTHING about yourself, girls would probably like you.”

  2. Go Frank Go says:

    Also, THIS is best. —> ‘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.’

  3. Ermodi says:

    Thanks Frank! And don’t change for all the dumb girls in the world – you’re a gem!

  4. SJ says:

    I love how the people usually to pass the left handed compliments are the ones that should take a good look at themselves. My mum is at 3 dress sizes bigger than me and she’ll be the first one to remark on my weight, bless her! It doesn’t mean they aren’t nice lovely people that we totally adore until they throw the double edged sword between your eyes. Whenever my mum makes a comment about my weight or my hair, or my skin, I throw it back – “Mum you were the one in charge of dishing out the genes” I think she thinks I’m referring to the levi 501’s she bought me for my 15th birthday but for some reasons she stopped passing those compliments 😀

  5. Bongo says:

    I love this…..OMG the family left hand comments…you can never be just OK with family..I’m always prepared for it..just waiting…thank you for this post.. You are perfect..beautiful….As always…XOXOXOXO

  6. Madonna says:

    Absolutely wonderful piece!! Honestly if anyone were to stop and look at pictures of the old pin-up girl pictures you would see curvalous bodies!! One thing that i struggle with is having a J.Lo butt!! I can guarantee you 100% of the time when a guy notices me its not because I’m athletic or i have hazel eyes…its because i have a little junk in my trunk.
    I may be 5’3″ and 125 lbs….but there is one thing i know that for some reasons or another guys run away from me. I can’t keep a serious relationship if my life depended on it:
    1) there is always some other girl
    2) my timing is never right
    3) I’m a sweet and intelligent girl but they can’t give me the love i want (confusing)
    4) my face doesnt match my body…I use to get that in HS all the time.

    Pretty much I have learned that single is the status quo for myself and honestly I’d rather deal with that then a potential heart break or potentially losing sleep over guys who don’t know what they could of have until they lose it!!

    My life goal is to make any guy who has ever stopped loving me regret their stupidity and realize that they could of had it perfect….until then all i can say is that my best friends will be showered with endless love!!

    Girls before bros!!!


  7. Brenda says:

    This is a fantastic post. I’m with Sarah about family and compliements. I think they think they are being kind, but the words never quite sound that way.. I keep my mouth shut and stay out of the line of fire .. I vowed to be ‘present perfect’ most of the time. Great photos by the way

  8. Mel says:

    =) Your grandpa is just a little younger than my dad, and I really think that one is a sign of their generation. My dad’s gem is: “When a man gets up to speak, everyone listens. When I woman gets up to speak, they look at her, and then decide if they want to listen.” He’s also the one who famously told a group of female federal employees at a luncheon speech in the 1970s that if women weren’t the greatest managers, it’s because they never played team sports. Apparently they agreed and didn’t boo him off the stage. Bless his little 1930s heart.

    I see a total generational gap here – it’s it’s funny because I know your grandpa and my dad are our biggest fans who told us we can do anything we want in our lives and be anything because we’re the best, it’s funny that this is their hang up. Of course, my dad was also the one who told me “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” and that might be the reason I was NEVER in dress code. I’m pretty sure it was also an off-handed remark he never meant his little girl to take to heart!

    Personally, I think it’s none of the reasons anyone has told you. Why are you single 24 of the 27 years? I might be biased, but I think it’s because you’re so wonderful, you need a guy that’s just so much better (and different) from the rest: a writer who loves dogs, one who will lavish you with sincere appreciation, someone who can keep up with your antics and who will carry on conversations with you while looking deep in your eyes and being delighted by what you say, how you think, and how you express yourself. Trust me, that’s not a problem with you, it’s the fact that the man for you has be extraordinary, just like you. Damn, isn’t it just SO hard being extraordinary?! *sigh* Carry on being fabulous, he’ll be worth not settling.

  9. T says:

    I once came home from our beloved Alma Mater to “I think this is the biggest I’ve seen you…”
    I thought I was way healthier than I had been the year before:
    Emotionally strung out over a bad breakup and about 8 pounds lighter from inability to enjoy food (ie: the opposite of healthy weight loss).
    I think the “compliments” are sourced in love, but still, ouch.

    Fun post! Perhaps it would be funny to ask Poppie about the specifics of a woman’s body, and why exactly it needs to be a certain way. Pressure him for graphic details? Haha!

  10. Kirsten says:

    You are preaching to the choir about the tall thing. Being 6’1″ it’s quite hard to find a guy first of all that’s okay with you being THAT tall, and 2nd of all trying to find a guy that’s okay when you wear heels and may be taller than you. Quite difficult. Men seem to have so much of their ego’s wrapped into their height. Love the blog! Keep it up!

  11. sukanya says:

    5’10!!1 i want to be tall like you. i am shorty (5’4) with a flat chest (yes, even after nursing two babies), with a broad butt, thunder thighs and a acned skin…there you have it but just like you i am finally comfortable in my own skin and i love it.

    nice shots, you are gorgeous and i love your dress:-)

  12. you are adorable from head to toe! i wonder if you considered my earlier comment about therapy a ‘left-handed compliment’???


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