Compliments

I find them difficult to accept and somewhat difficult to give. Not for the same reasons.

I’ve never taken compliments well. For some reason, probably relating to the amount of criticism I got from my parents growing up, I’ve found it nearly impossible to take compliments in anything other than a skeptical way. It’s as if I’m waiting for the zinger or punchline to follow which turns the compliment into an insult. Sad but true. I am getting better and find that if I simply say, “Thanks”, it moves things along nicely without any further angst.

I also have a tough time giving out compliments in the scene. I recently saw a photo on Fetlife that I felt compelled to leave a remark about. The problem was that I did not want to appear lecherous even though the thoughts in my head were not exactly pure. So I made some sort of circumspect remark and slightly vague remark which then turned into a discussion about the remark itself being confusing and all that sort of thing.

I have to say that I’m conscious of the things I say and how I appear to the folks out there in the scene. I’m not conscious of it, I’m crazily, insanely, obsessively conscious of it. To me the worst thing in the world is to be seen as one more leering, drooling dirty old man — especially because I’m married. I have to be a thousand times more conscious of appearing that way because I don’t want to insult my wife and because I don’t want people to think I’m stepping out on her. So I go through life expressing vague remarks online and complimenting the lighting in a photograph when what I’m really saying deep down is, “Holy shit that’s a nice ass”.

Why I’m so conscious of it is beyond me? Maybe I’m trying to hard to be seen as a “good guy” rather than as just plain old me. Maybe I should not try to be so gentlemanly especially if it ends up confusing people. Furthermore, why am I even caring about this enough to basically rant on my blog?

It’s weird that I feel so constrained sometimes in communicating with people especially when I consider myself such an open person. I continue to have the same feelings I had when I was younger about people looking at me and judging me whether that’s true or not. Maybe I just need to follow my own advice and say “fuck ’em” to anyone who judges me.

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15 Responses to “Compliments”

  1. Makes me think of the border between being classy/gentlemanly/gentlewomanly and being dishonest. Where, actually, is it? I think (based on some recent disappointing results in vanilla life) that I tend to come off as aloof or even intimidating when what I’m really trying to do is stop myself being too forward, too selfish, or too tedious. I wish I had the gift of being able to be honest, straightforward, expressive, and yet never too much.

    Your compliment issue reminds me of some advice I got in 8th grade. I was a professional child actor and thus came in for many sarcastic compliments from my peers, result being that I scowled when people said nice things to me. My friend said: “Just give them a real big smile and say Thank you! Then, if they’re teasing you, they’ll feel bad.” Ha, ha! Changed my life!

    • radagast Says:

      Yes, being too “forward” is a fear I have as if when giving a woman a compliment, they’ll think, “Get away from me you horny bastard”. They might be thinking it but I suppose as long as they don’t voice it, it’s not my problem.

      You’re right about the receiving compliment issue. I’m getting better.

  2. scChris Says:

    Rad, you and I share a common trait. It’s being introspective, and it’s a good thing. How can one be honest with others if they do not have the spotlight on themselves. The burdens inherited from our youth need that exact mind frame of self analysis in order to extricate the useless negative feelings we drag with us. I was raised to believe sexuality was basically the devils work and to question my own self worth at every turn. With these inherited self depracations it has been necessary for me to analyze what I do, why, and where it comes from. I am worthwhile, I am a natural, passionate man. Being conscious of our actions and reactions is the first steps in being liberated from automated responses to the worlds stimuli.

  3. scChris Says:

    P.S. The fact that you are an introspective gentleman is the exact reason you will never be viewed as a leering, drooling dirty old man.

  4. I’m like the worst compliment accepter in the whole world. I’ve been known to argue about the compliment with a list of reasons of why it isn’t true! I really try and be aware of that though and stifle the impulse and just say “thank you”.

    I’m also bad that when I do actually post a photo (and I don’t do it very often because I DO fear negative comments from people – I can’t help it, it DOES hurt my feelings) I’ll usually put a self-disparaging comment in the caption so I’ve said it first and other people won’t need to.

    People say the most outlandish things on people’s photos – things I’d hope they’d never in a million years say to someone face-to-face. It’s like they think because they are on the internet they don’t have to censor themselves or have any tact. Do they really expect some woman, who is a stranger to them, to swoon with rapturous pleasure with her hormones going crazy when she reads their unoriginal and lewd comment? Then there are the comments talking about some woman’s “fat and jiggly” butt and you can tell from the way it’s written that the guy actually means it to be a compliment, but most women aren’t going to take it that way! Then there are the comments that are just outright mean.

    I’ve just gone through a situation on a closed forum where someone felt a need to leave a negative comment on a photo of mine. It was just a photo of my bruising after the FMS and it was more of a clinical photo (see how easily I bruise after only mild-to-moderate play) sort of thing and certainly not intended to be titillating. I still have no idea if the guy was talking about my butt or the actual bruising, but “unappealing and disgusting” aren’t really terms that are going to make anyone feel good.

    If it was the bruising he was talking about, there are so many easy ways to make that clear and not sound like a jackass – eg. “That’s quite severe bruising and more than I generally like to see.”

    I see lots of pictures online that I don’t find appealing and many I find that makes my stomach turn. I tend to hurry past them and don’t feel it necessary to post comments like “OMG That’s so gross!!!”. Sure, some people wouldn’t be offended, but others would. At the end of the day, photos posted on the internet belong to real people with real feelings.

    • radagast Says:

      I think you’re right that some people seem to have no tact at all when making comments online. I assume they also have no tact in real life as well. I try very hard to err on the side of caution that I tend to be too cautious or at least apologetic about leaving comments. It’s usually something like, “Pardon me if this is a bit too much…”.

      I don’t leave negative comments about photographs — feelings do matter in this world.

  5. Good post, Rad. I, too, have trouble accepting compliments. It’s “bad” to be vain, so if someone says you look good it would be vain to agree with them or to just say, “Thanks.” No, you must point out some flaw, or argue. “Thank you for saying I have nice hair, but I really need to get it trimmed and recolored; my gray is showing.” I TRY to force myself to say, “Thank you” — period. If not, I’m either saying the other person is crazy (or needs better glasses), OR I’m saying I don’t believe him. Either way, it’s not good to express that.

    Iggy, I also liked what you wrote about people’s comments about photos. Why bother saying anything if it’s going to be negative? If someone is unattractive to you, move on! And for god’s sake, no comments about jiggling butts or thick thighs.

  6. It’s funny how so many of us are the same way about compliments. I’ve gotten the same advice to just say thank you when someone pays you a compliment. A friend once told me you don’t want to insult the other person by arguing their compliment, which is an interesting thought.

    I love to give compliments in general, but scene wise it’s a little harder. I guess because it’s so personal… and even though things are posted or done in public, I still don’t want to intrude with the wrong comment.

    And now that I’m thinking about it, Rad… One night back in December you paid me a very lovely compliment. I appreciated hearing it more then you know, you actually made my night. In case I didn’t say it then, Thank You!

    • radagast Says:

      One thing about me and compliments — I don’t give them unless I mean them especially the heartfelt ones.

  7. So, does this mean that I have an excuse for never giving you another compliment? 😛

  8. munchkin Says:

    I’ve always been bad about arguing against compliments, but now I try to just say thank you and leave it at that for the most part. Now I usually only tend to argue with close friends but not meaning to *deny* their compliment. It may just be someone I’m close enough to to say something like “oh thank you, I still have further to go though” or “I still can’t get that last few pounds off” or “I still need to work on getting in better shape” if someone I know says something about my weight. Not arguing that I’m fat or anything, just saying I still have work to do and don’t feel like I’m in the best shape even having lost the weight I have. I think it’s just that old fear of sounding conceited.

    The other one I argue is kind of weird I think. I don’t really like my butt. Especially in “the scene” nice round butts, or “big” butts seem to be the desired thing. Neither of which I have so I’m self-conscious thinking I don’t have what attracts especially spanko men. So if someone says I have a cute butt my immediate reaction is “do not!” Granted in pic comments I don’t argue so much because I tend to post pics that I think are flattering and make me look like I have more booty than I really do. I still usually try to just say thank you but the arguments still slip out for whatever reason. See? Weird.

  9. […] Radagast’s recent posts about the nuances of communication with people in the scene (here and here) awakened all my social anxieties and insecurities. I think that at heart I believe that no-one […]

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