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?