The most sincere form of flattery

a friend recently commented on my dress (we were at brunch). “ooo, fancy” she said. i took this to be a compliment, though in a different mood i might have heard “you’re over-dressed.” it occured to me that there are really 2 ways to give a compliment. 1. say an item is pretty/beautiful/unique/incredible, or 2. say the wearer looks pretty/beautiful/unique/incredible. I wasn’t told either. I was told I was fancy.

but i digress. when i think someone looks good, i say so. when i think an item is unique or interesting, etc. i say so. when i think an item is my idea of heaven, i ask where they got it. this is often interpreted as a threat to national security, and not as the compliment it is, though admittedly it's in a rather self-serving form. once i asked a woman wearing a very cute trench coat where she got it, and she was painfully vague before turning on her heels and fleeing.

i'm a hypocrite, of course, because i am guilty of wanting to guard my own little treasures as well, once in a while. i don't ever actually withhold information, but i do understand the impulse.

are you forthcoming when asked about the origins of a particular piece? if you had your choice, would you much rather a compliment came without any further inquiry?


Carlene said...

Hi, sweetie, sorry I haven't posted a comment in a while, I've been feeling kind of old and unfashionable. Mostly old. You guys are all so young.

But anyway, yeah, I'll tell anyone anything about what I have on (if I can remember). Probably too much, because it's usually some huge bargain from Filene's or eBay or thrift. I'll even tell them how much, hell, that's the best part! I see them start to back away. A guy on the train asked me where I got my bag once, I just loved that (Tocca, btw). And he wasn't flirting, believe me.

I don't hesitate to compliment someone else on the street. They almost always seem to appreciate it. I'm not above asking about hair or makeup either. I've never been turned down when I ask where they got it, that I can remember.

But my fragrance(s), unless you are someone special, are my secret.

editor said...

carlene - a. are you out of your funk now? b. it's a state of mind. c. so basically it's not a secretive impulse that causes the reaction i get and i should take it personally?

funny, re. fragrances, i would happily tell anyone so that maybe they'll buy it and help guarantee that it won't be discontinued. discontinued fragrances are such a pain.

Carlene said...

a) mostly out of the funk

b) I wish

c) No, I'm just abnormally free with the info.

Oh, the discontinued thing. Good point.

editor said...

a. good.
b. if it weren't so, you would still be in the funk (think about it, you haven't gotten younger... i'm not helping, am i?!)
c. yeah but you said ppl are nice to you when you ask. :o

editor said...

pssst, carlene, look at the big bang theory post below about attitude.

Anonymous said...

((((Carlene))))) Without a doubt, you are MUCH younger than I, MiIdnight. I'm turning 50 in a few and that is just too wierd!!! So....that said, feeling old and unfashionable (doesn't mean it's true) happens to the best of us and I know it'll be over soon :)

I love that you freely give compliments and ask Qs...I do that too. I get as much of a kick out of someone else's clever purchase as my own. (that probably explains my addiction to Editor's blogs,lol) My H is always reminding me before we leave the house not to give details...I don't volunteer but if asked well......

Editor, I don't personally like the "fancy" compliment...I've had it in the past and never felt good about it. I KNOW you looked great, period.

Carlene said...

Oh, Midnight, aren't you sweet! (We are close to the same age, btw.)

editor said...

LOL, quite appropriate that all this good will is spilling out in the compliments post.
age is totally relative. you meet an 80 year old and she'll call you "girl" and laugh right in your face that you feel old.
when i was 15, i thought 30-40 was ancient.
i don't want to spill the beans, but i think you both might like the next blog i'm working on - won't be ready until late september though...

midnight - i have very few friends irl who can keep up interest and enthusiasm for shopping, choices, fashion the way you wonderful "girls" can (wait, that does not mean that i'm 80!... not that there's anything wrong with it).