Last week, my best friend and I met up at our favorite nacho spot in all of New York. We've been friends since circa diaper days, we never see each other, and we had a lot to catch up on. Upon waiting to snag a seat at the bar, two men came up to us and offered to buy us drinks. There were no creepy compliments; they seemed nice enough, and even said, “You don't even have to talk to us. Let us buy you a round.” My super hot friend, who has also been in a relationship for a long time, mumbled, “OK,” and they obliged.
As soon as they left to order our epic piña coladas that this particular establishment is known for, my friend turned to me and said, “Uh oh, was that a mistake?” We quickly realized that we had entered the unspoken pact that exists when a man buys you a drink: You're generally expected to chat with the drink buyers, at least for a little bit, because, you know, the patriarchy.
They returned with our drinks. We said thank you and we genuinely meant it. We chatted politely for a few moments, but of course, the dudes didn't leave. Instead, they waved more friends over to join us. I love making new friends at bars, but my friend and I were looking to chat uninterrupted, and they were not picking up what we were putting down.
Eventually, we explicitly stated that we wanted to catch up and that we were heading to the bar, and our “posse” followed. Why, oh why did we accept those drinks? The men were sweet, but relentless. One of the drunker members of the group, who also happened to be gay, pointed at my legs and said, “You have really nice legs. Why are you covering them with your napkin?”
Well, first of all, manners while eating goopy nachos, but also, why do that right now, dude? I can't explain the weird “ick” factor that washed over me, despite knowing that this man was not trying to get with any vagina-owning person. My legs are my least favorite part of my body, and the feeling of having attention drawn to them makes me extremely insecure and uncomfortable. Additionally, why are you commenting on a physical part of me like I'm some dining room table you're choosing for your apartment?
I became the “sassy, angry” girl in our duo, and he couldn't understand why I wasn't more flattered. My friend flat-out said, “OK, we'd like to chat on our own now, thanks.” Two drinks does not merit two hours of low-key conversation harassment. Also, I would not say “nice arms” to a guy at a bar whom I had just met, gay or straight.
There's something inherently creepy and infuriating about certain compliments. Here are 11 creepy compliments random men give women that need to stop happening.
1. “You Smell Good”
If a date tells me this, it's nice. I can confirm that my new perfume is not as patchouli-y as I worried it was. But when a borderline stranger leans in for a hug and compliments the scent of my hair, it makes me want to run all the way home and shampoo my hair eight more times to get the creep out of it. Yuck.
2. “You Look Like You Work Out”
Again, I dig it when a person I know tells me that my arms look more toned or that I look skinny. I mean, compliments are the whole reason I do yoga — let's be real. But there is something weird about a first date or a random dude saying, “You look like you work out.” It's like an unsolicited seal of approval on your lifestyle and habits. It's also just another way of saying, "You have a hot bod,” which you wouldn't say in real life. Ask for my number instead.
3. “You Have A Great Handshake”
This makes me want to crawl out of my own skin. Same goes for “You have soft hands.” I know you're imagining what your dick would feel like in them, and now I'm thinking about the last time your dick was in your own hands, and now I want to Purell my hands forever. No touching.
4. “You're So Cute”
(See also: “You look so young” or “You're so tiny”) I've gotten this a lot because I am short AF and I look younger than I am. This creeps me out because it makes me feel patronized and also makes me wonder if this dude wants to sleep with a child. Either way, I'm not having it.
You can call me cute on a second date, though. That's different.
5. “You Have Nice Feet”
Do I even need to explain this one?
6. “Your Boyfriend's A Lucky Guy”
(Synonyms include: “How are you single?”)
This infuriates me because it's like trying to bait me with an insult. Being single is not a bad thing, but these kinds of comments perpetuate the idea than women without a male partner are somehow “less than.” I understand the intentions behind this one, but I'll never get behind it.
7. “Show Me That Beautiful Smile”
There's a reason I'm not smiling, dude. It's because I don't know you and I will RBF (resting bitch face) all that I want. Try asking me how my day was or what my favorite color is. Anything but “smile.”
8. “You Have A Beautiful Mouth”
All the better to eat you with. No, but seriously, commenting on my mouth, lips, or teeth make me feel like I must have terrible eyes, and makes me feel self-conscious about what might be in my teeth. Yuck.
9. “You Seem Mischievous”
I've gotten this one on dating apps and it never ceases to confuse me. Do you mean mischievous like a criminal? Or in the “I shoplift avocados from my bodega” way? Because I don't even do that. This feels vaguely sexual, and weirdly like you're trying to “diagnose” my personality without really knowing me at all. Byyyyyye.
10. “You Seem Really Fun”
Again, are you telling me how you want me to be in bed? Instead of telling me how I “seem,” why not ask what I like to do for fun?
11. “You're So Good With Kids”
OK, if my aunt told me this, I'd be like, “cool.” But if a dude is telling me that I'm good with children and I haven't been on a first date with them yet, it feels a little creepy, like they're already wondering if I want a C-section or not. No thank you.
I can already hear the trolling men of the internet calling me names like “ungrateful b*tch” and saying things like “Who would compliment you anyway?” but at the end of the day, there's a gut feeling you get when you hear the above comments from a man you know and trust, versus a stranger on the street or someone who is hitting on you at the bar. You can think that a woman has beautiful legs, beautiful eyes, or even an amazing smile, but maybe get to know her and ask her some questions that make her feel like a person and not an object before giving her one of these compliments.
Compliments can be aggressive, guys, so use them with caution.