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The Lounge: Chat. Relax. Unwind. > Are compliments sexy?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments A friend of mine told me that when some guy we both know returned from Brasil and recounted his 'adventures', his fellow female students in UCLA looked at him like he was a barbarian. With the current atmosphere of politically correct and all, even compliments might be a no go anymore in some places. What do you think? And is 'sexy' still allowed or only if never noticed as such?


message 2: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Compliments are generally fine, but with a proviso. If you're talking about men complimenting women, then perhaps think about how you're complimenting.

For example - how would you compliment a man in the same situation? Would you say something like: "Wow, you've lost so much weight! You look terrific!"

Or if you were complimenting a small child. Often compliments to girls praise appearance: "You're so pretty." "What a lovely shirt!" "I love your hair." Whereas boys generally receive achievement based compliments. "That's an amazing somersault!" "Wow, you've really made a great lego tower!"

That kind of thing sets up a pattern which persists into later life, and (if I remember correctly) has been shown to have an effect on what a person believes is valued about them.

Probably an important thing to remember is that every human being, no matter their gender, is more than the sum of their body parts, and if a compliment is body based it can be problematic. (And sometimes it's not but that's where knowing the person is important.)

For myself, I'd much prefer being complimented on my achievements or personality traits rather than my shape/size/appearance. I have a brain too, is possibly something I'd encourage people to remember.

I totally understand the female UCLA students looking at him as a barbarian.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments Leonie wrote: "Probably an important thing to remember is that every human being, no matter their gender, is more than the sum of their body parts, and if a compliment is body based it can be problematic...."

Is 'you look terrific' somehow insulting? Or 'you have beautiful eyes'? If a lady said that to me, I'd, of course, try hard to suppress an instant surge to slap her in the face. After all, unless we've taken a GMAT together, I might not be familiar with the intelligence part yet -:) Wonder why those dressmakers invest in designs of sexy dresses, swimming suits and all, if they are something to be completely ignored..


message 4: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments It depends on who you're talking to, really, and in what context.

Some of the demand for 'sexy' clothing is generated by women for their own desires, and a lot of women wear certain types of clothing because that's what's she's expected to wear, or what's available. But what's important to remember is that whatever a woman wears doesn't mean she wants everyone to regard it as an 'invitation.'

To illustrate the point I'm attempting to make (fairly badly I expect) : I'm a physiotherapist. A few years ago, I was working with a young woman with a severely sprained ankle. I told her to avoid high heels. She nodded, but said "I don't think my boss would like that."

I then asked her if he required the men in her workplace to wear high heels if they had sprained ankles, and she looked at me as if I was mad. This was an instance of a woman being coerced into wearing certain types of clothing by male expectations, and not by whether they were practical for her job. I was horrified that it was even a consideration for her at that moment.


message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Nik wrote: "A friend of mine told me that when some guy we both know returned from Brasil and recounted his 'adventures', his fellow female students in UCLA looked at him like he was a barbarian. With the current atmosphere of politically correct and all, even compliments might be a no go anymore in some places. What do you think? And is 'sexy' still allowed or only if never noticed as such? "

I am so not into the politically correct or #metoo movement. And to make clear, I've ALWAYS been horrible with compliments.

That said, it depends on what is being said by who and how. If someone looked me in the eye and told me I'm beautiful, I'd take it as a compliment. We ALL notice things we find beautiful, so I'd appreciate it. Now if someone tells me I'm beautiful while staring at my breasts, tongue hanging out as he grabs himself, then that's on the creepy, offensive side. Of course, this is to the extreme, but what I mean is how the compliment is presented, and what is said, makes the difference.

When I come across a good looking guy, my eyes might linger although I'm not one to tell a man or woman that they look good. I usually commend them on their achievements and leave their appearances to myself, since I wouldn't tell someone they look like crap.

I think a stranger telling a woman she's sexy is gross and creepy because the word is more personal. It's like saying, "You're alluring, inviting, provocative, tempting..." This to me isn't appropriate.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments Yes, I guess a context, tone and other subtleties matter. Compliments can be insulting, if carry disrespect, rudeness or overbearing. And tasteful or tasteless always mattered.
Yet, I don't think looks should be a taboo or instantly tagged as harassment, because we might lose a lot on the romantic side and end up with unisex, unidressed, uni-everything beings..


message 7: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments It's about circumstances and being sensitive, while respecting the other person - no matter the sex.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes. If meant as a sincere compliment. Not to mention that it can go a long way to make that person feel good and brighten their day.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 12059 comments I think it also depends on being "in character". If someone gives you a compliment which is really out of character, the first reaction may be, "Hold on - what do they want?"


message 10: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6312 comments I think it's all about the situation. At work, you don't come on to anyone. In a bar, anyone is fair game for a compliment and shouldn't be insulted if one is offered, as long as it's not sexually explicit. Really, why dress up and go to a bar if you're not open to advances?


message 11: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Feel free to compliment me. :-).

The acceptability/desirability of a compliment has a lot to do with the giver and the style in which it is given.

But even the most honest and heartfelt compliment can be unwelcome.

For Example: The zombie leered over the picket fence, it's muddy hands ripping the palings to splinters. "My goodness," it slurred through rotting teeth, "you've got a wonderfully large brain in there." The fence crumpled, I staggered back. It lurched forward. "My little pot of goodness," it shouted. "You do look tasty!"


message 12: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments Graeme wrote: "The zombie leered over the picket fence, it's muddy hands ripping the palings to splinters. "My goodness," it slurred through rotting teeth, "you've got a wonderfully large brain in there." The fence crumpled, I staggered back. It lurched forward. "My little pot of goodness," it shouted. "You do look tasty!"..."

An excellent example of harassment -:)


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments Tziggy wrote: "Yes. If meant as a sincere compliment. Not to mention that it can go a long way to make that person feel good and brighten their day."

I'd think so too!


message 14: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1907 comments I like compliments, be them about my intelligence, appearance or my car (I get more of the latter). I don't like creepy come-ons.


message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) Lizzie wrote: "I like compliments, be them about my intelligence, appearance or my car (I get more of the latter). I don't like creepy come-ons."

Agreed! I love getting compliments on the flowers in the garden, my household decor, etc. Last week when I was walking the dog, a neighbor on his porch called out, "Hi, beautiful," and I immediately knew he was talking to my dog and I felt proud.

Truly, our public appearance does send a message. I am generally very feminine in appearance, wear dresses frequently, etc. The message I am sending to the world is, "Look, I'm, tiny, I'm female, and clearly harmless........honest!" In spite of this, the humans still seem suspicious.


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 16338 comments Holly wrote: "a neighbor on his porch called out, "Hi, beautiful," and I immediately knew he was talking to my dog and I felt proud. ..."

Love the spirit -:)


message 17: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6312 comments I think that was a sexy compliment :-)


message 18: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Holly, you make me smile.


message 19: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6312 comments Another sexy compliment :-)


message 20: by Matthew (last edited Jun 24, 2018 11:19PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I think compliments are sexy. But there is a very clear line between saying something stupid and showing the kind of admiration that tells someone you are interested. That's not a result of being politically correct, it's all about understanding a simple thing known as respect. Don't talk to people like they are pieces of meat and you'll never be surprised by their reaction.


message 21: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Matthew wrote: "I think compliments are sexy. But there is a very clear line between saying something stupid and showing the kind of admiration that tells someone you are interested. That's not a result of being p..."

Fair advice Matthew.


message 22: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 6312 comments Political correctness seems silly to me. The tipping point between a compliment and making a woman feel uncomfortable is when the woman feels pressured or demeaned. Neither of those is okay.


message 23: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Scout wrote: "Political correctness seems silly to me. The tipping point between a compliment and making a woman feel uncomfortable is when the woman feels pressured or demeaned. Neither of those is okay."

Right? Should be easy to tell the difference. That's why I think its not political correctness to be respectful and understand boundaries, its common sense.


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