I was in a grocery store parking lot putting bags of groceries in the backseat of my car, when two guys about my age pull up in a pick up truck.
“Hi.” one of them says.
“Hi…?” I respond.
Who the fuck are you and what do you want?
I mentally rolled up my sleeves and took off my earrings, preparing myself to snap back if they said anything vulgar.
“You’re pretty.” the guy says.
Oh. It’s just a compliment. What do I say, ‘thank you?’ I don’t really feel like saying ‘thank you,’ and I don’t want to encourage this behavior. But this doesn’t really warrant a ‘fuck off’…”
Yes, all of this went through my head in about 15 seconds. Finally, I just decided to say how I felt. That’s what he had done, after all.
“I don’t care.” I said.
“What?” asked the guy in the truck.
“I don’t care.” I repeated, continuing about my business loading groceries into my car.
“You don’t care that I think you’re pretty?” he asked, confused.
“Nope.” I replied, returning my cart to the corral a few feet away.
“I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re pretty.” he said, when I was back in earshot.
They pulled away as I mumbled, “Okaaayyy?”
You may be wondering what is so wrong with giving me a compliment. Nothing. The compliment was fine. It was the context that was bad.
He just wanted me to know that he thought I was pretty. This was a relatively harmless instance of a man imposing his opinion on a woman regarding her appearance. Less harmless instances include men saying bullshit like “You’d be prettier if you wore makeup/lost weight/were sucking my dick.”
I don’t care what you think of my appearance. Keep it to yourself. Mind your own damn business, can’t you see that I’m busy minding mine?
Last, but definitely not least, pulling up to a girl in your truck? Really? Men love to say vulgar things to women from their vehicles, so I was on guard from the get-go. Bad time, bad place, bad method, bad form. Can you get a fucking clue?
And in the wise words of TLC:
“I don’t want no scrub. A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me. Hangin’ out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride, trying to holla at me.”
Anticipated whiny responses from men:
“That was rude of you.”
I am not obligated to show appreciation when someone gives me a compliment, especially in this context. For the aforementioned reasons, my rude response was proportionate to their rude approach.
“But how are men supposed to talk to women and ask them out and stuff?”
This really shouldn’t be news to you, but you are probably not going to get a number or a date by complimenting a girl from your truck in a grocery store parking lot.
If I were chilling in a coffee shop? Walking up and saying, “Hey, I think you’re pretty. Can I sit with you, buy you a cookie?” would be totally fine. But imposing your opinion on someone for no other reason than you just want them to know your opinion and feel good about it is just unnecessary.
Especially telling a woman that she’s pretty, beautiful, etc. How original. I’ve never heard that before. I had no idea that I was attractive.
I’ll probably have to make a whole blog post about how to compliment women. If you absolutely can’t control yourself, and just have to randomly compliment a woman — compliment something that she has chosen to do with her appearance. For example, “Your shoes are awesome.” “I like your outfit.” “I love your hair.” “Your eye makeup is really pretty.”
“But girls can compliment girls!”
First of all, girls usually give good compliments like those listed above. Second of all, it’s different because there is no pressure. Most girls don’t want anything from you, they are just being friendly. (If a woman is interested in you romantically, they tend not to exhibit the same poor behavior as some men.) Some guys are the same way, but a lot of them are not. Compliments from other women are like daisies. From men? Like roses. And sometimes you get pricked with the thorns. Like when they ask you out after complimenting you and get pissed and belligerent when you turn them down.
“Girls don’t mind when men they find attractive do this stuff.”
Not always true. The guy in the truck was attractive (if you ignore the backwards hat). If you’ve read up to this point, you should know that I did mind.
But if a guy compliments you and/or asks you out in a better situation?
Uh, yeah. I am going to respond better to someone that I am actually interested in having further interaction with, that I am attracted to.
Consent comes into play here.
I am not attracted to a guy for whatever reason, so I choose not to/I do not consent to have further interaction with him.
I am attracted to a guy for whatever reason, so I choose to/consent to interacting further.
It’s a free country. You can say whatever you want whenever you want. But if you want women to feel safe, and comfortable, and respected, then you should be mindful of what you say and when you say it.