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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The relative value of compliments

A young man, who is heterosexual, told me the other day that there's actually more flattery value in being told you're good-looking by another guy than by a woman. He said, "If a woman says that to you, it means you fall within the range of do-ability. But if a straight guy tells you that, it means he thinks you're exceptional."

This young man is also into working out. He said, "It's great to be complimented on your shoulders, or arms, or lats, or thighs. But the compliment I seem to get most is that I have good calf muscles. I never work on those, and couldn't care less about them." He added disdainfully, "I'd almost rather be told I'm smart." He practically spat out the words.

He then expounded further. "Being told you're smart by some dumb person is near worthless. I always want to say, 'Of course I'm smart compared to you, you're a moron. Compared to you, I'm a goddamn genius!'"

He added, somewhat grudgingly, "I guess being told you're smart, or at least clever, by a smart person, is okay."

I asked, "What if you're told you're smart by a girl?"

He replied, "How would a girl be able to tell? Women are generally only capable of received opinions. The only way they would come to the conclusion I'm smart is if they were told that by someone else."

I don't agree with this last statement, but his larger point is true: all compliments, and complimenters, are not equal.


Anonymous said...

Hi John--That being said, I'd rather be complemented by a chick than a dude. Between thinking the dude might be gay and that the chick might be into me, I'll take the girl. Not that a girl would ever be into me, just talking theory:) Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
First, false modesty does not become you.

Secondly, yes, a girl's compliment might be actionable, where guy's would not be, but the young man was talking strictly about the flattery value, not the opportunity value. And you can always tell the difference between the way a straight guy would say that to you and a gay guy would.

Glen Filthie said...

Well if you take his last comment as a generalization...yeah, I would say most women are incapable of original thought and opinion. Heck, feminism is basically about aping male behaviour patterns.

John Craig said...

Glen --
I seem to have a higher opinion of women's intelligence than either you or the young man I quoted, but I do agree with you about hard-core feminists.