I came into work this morning feeling OK about what I was wearing. Hair; OK. Make up; OK. Outfit; OK 🙂 Lovely!
I was first in so decided to be a good little co-worker and put the kettle on ready for the rest to come along. Toby was next.
Toby is a 22 year old man that has worked for us for about 2 years and is what I would call ‘posh’. He is very well spoken, well educated and comes from a family background of true British Gents. He drinks gin on nights out and wears brogues (the proper ones, not imitations from Topman).
Toby is what I would call a well raised young man. We started the usual early morning chat; how had our evenings been, what we had had for dinner etc etc and it somehow came onto the subject of his sister. Recently single, he told me she had gone through some appearance changes and was now what he would class as pretty. Having shaved half her head previously, he was happy that she had now grown her hair back. And he had wanted to tell her so, but had stopped himself for two reasons. One, he thought that he might be seen as weird, complimenting the appearance of his sister and two because he didn’t really think it was acceptable to give compliments based on appearance anymore.
“For example, I’ve noticed recently your eyebrows have looked lovely Vikki but haven’t wanted to say in case you took offense”
After I got over the initial shock of him noticing my eyebrows, I realised it was quite a sad thing that he had felt that he could not and maybe should not tell me something nice that he had noticed about me in case I thought he was being perverted or sarcastic.
He said it happens a lot, and his friends have said the same. You can’t say anything to a girl about her appearance, no matter how politely you word it, without the fear of being accused of being a ‘perv’.
Of course, there is a vast difference between wolf whistling and barking ‘You’re well fit’ at a girl and genuinely paying her a compliment, but has it come to a point where girls are so used to being letched on, they now can’t tell the difference?
Are we scaring the Gentlemen out of Men?
Think about the last time someone paid you a compliment. Did you graciously accept or did you question it?
One of my male friends mentioned my hair the other day.
“Done something different with your hair Vik?”
Did I say ‘Well yes, my friend, I have used a new conditioner and I am pleasantly surprised by the results, thank you for noticing’
I did not. Instead I went, in my usual lady like fashion
‘Why? Whats wrong with it?’
Safe to say, he hasn’t mentioned my appearance since!
A few weeks ago I had made a flippant comment during a conversation in my predominantly male office about how it wouldn’t matter what I wore to work as no one would notice and I was immediately leapt on by every guy.
” We do notice, but it isn’t really appropriate to comment on your appearance at work is it. You might think we were being sexist or pervy”
“Yeah, I ain’t getting done for sexual harassment just because I said your cardi looked nice”
How sad that they felt this way and I wondered if I had done anything to make them feel like that. They all said no, it was just something they had learnt over time that women don’t seem to like being told nice things. When they had given out genuine compliments in the past, more often than not it was thrown back at them with disdain and even aggression.
Are we living in a world where women are so used to being objectified that they can no longer see the difference between a lecherous remark and a genuine compliment?
And can any of the women reading this remember the last time they said something nice to a guy about how he looked or how he was dressed.
Toby said he didn’t realise how much of a day changer it was for someone to hear something nice about them until the other day when he was on the receiving end.
Toby won’t mind me saying that he has recently gone through a massive transformation and has lost a lot of weight.
Working hard for it at boot camps and clean eating, he is proud of his transformation but has found that not a lot of people have commented on it. The other day, his sister uploaded a picture of him and her onto her Facebook and almost immediately people started to comment on how good Toby looked and he said it was lovely to have genuine compliments from people. It changed his mood for the day and his workout that evening was positively affected as he remembered all the great things they had said.
SO, off the back of all of this I am going to start to actively compliment people, people I know and people I don’t and I urge you to do the same. Let’s spread some love and bring back the Gentlemen!