html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Chris Rock is right.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chris Rock is right.

One thing my ex was really good about was compliments. He probably told me I was beautiful five or six times a day. He called me Beautiful. I don't think that I'm someone this is especially important to. I have a generous eye and think everyone is beautiful. I don't think about it much in myself. I'm not insecure about my looks. So I don't think I put especially heavy weight on that. But oh man, it mattered so much that he told me time and again that he found me beautiful.

Every day, each time counted. The first couple compliments felt like they were filling the hole that opened overnight. The next couple were nice and solid and leveled me off, sure of him. The final couple times he said it were ones to actually gain ground, to grow on; those were ones to take with me into the world, to think of myself as beautiful and open that to people around me. I could have lived without them, sure. I did forever. But getting them, while I did, was air and food and love and courage.

So, dudes, tell your lady. If you think it, say it. Say it all the time, until it feels natural. Tell her more times than you can imagine she needs. Tell her again. None of this crap about "I told her once and never took it back, so it still stands." Tell her lots. Each time will do something different for her. And if it gets to the point where telling her again doesn't give her anything new, then think how rich she'll be. Say it, 'cause you can't know how much it matters. It matters like breath.


Blogger Megan said...

No, sycophants. The comment policy still holds.

It wouldn't count anyway, 'cause prompted compliments don't count and 'cause most of you don't know what I look like anyway, and 'cause it has to come from your sweetheart.

But do come back and tell me that you told your wife how beautiful she is.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a Craig Shoemaker bit about this.

Something like:
Women can't get enough of I love you, you can't see it enough. To a man that's unnecessary, I said it once, it's good until I take it back, soft of an, I love you, until further notice.


4:31 PM  
Blogger jens said...

I don't know how often I tell my wife she is beautiful. I do try to have sex with her at least twice I day, so she at least knows that she is either sexually attractive or that I would pretty much mate with random items of furniture.

I HAVE heard her talk to other people proudly about how I buy her flowers for no reason whatsoever. Not so often anymore, it's been months. Thanks for the reminder.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Roger said...

This piece started out a little sappy but you recovered nicely and made it touching and poignant. And when I felt compelled to comment, you'd already pre-empted my initial thoughts...

I appreciate how you persevere through dating and other adventures which inspire and bring to your adoring readers these beautiful words with your beautiful thoughts...

You're beautiful.

5:43 AM  
Blogger jens said...

Note to self: calling her beautiful is NOT a good idea, unless you want to trigger responses like:

"No, I'm not beautiful. I'm fat and ugly. Maybe I was beautiful at our wedding. I turned out a lot uglier than I thought I would. Well, at least I'm better looking than X (despised co-worker). And I'm six years older than SHE is. Man, SHE really let herself go...."

Followed by a multi-paragraph dissertation on the flaws, appearance and otherwise, of X.

9:23 AM  
Blogger jens said...

All this, and she is SO beautiful, at least to me. She at least DID smile very nicely.

But it's definitely not a good idea to tell her.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


Jens, persevere. The point is to clear through that monologue in her head. The first time just brings that monologue to the front, but I already told you that the later compliments do different things. By the severalth one that day, she'll believe you.

It was not either sappy. I am not sappy.

10:09 AM  
Blogger susan said...

I think Tom's maybe finally starting to believe me when I tell him he's handsome.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Tell him more!

(As an unbiased observer, I can confirm that he is objectively handsome. But he'll get all embarrassed if I say so.)

2:51 PM  
Anonymous SwissArmyD said...

sickowhat'sit? heh, comment policies don't extend into my mind, so I can tell you that I don't need to have seen you to know what shines through you, Megan. The physical is only an embodiment of that.

So Jens... that smile told you EVERYTHING you need to know about telling her she's beautiful. The other stuff? Is a complex stew of the way anyone looks at themselves. Don't stop telling her, just because you know what she will say. Eventually she'll get the part about how this thing you are saying is about how you feel about her, and not about how she feels about herself. Or maybe she won't. That shouldn't change what you say. This comes from you.

Now guys... yeah I think we're a bit different. I know the tons of guys that post here will have their own take M, so maybe they will tell me I'm full of it...

We don't need to be told we're handsome very often. It's rich food when consumed too often. Once in a while is good, but it has to come out of the blue and you have to really mean it. You have to say it out of context to everything else that is going on, you have to make it stand on it's own.

The things we need to hear often are simple but powerful. That you are glad we are there. That you need us.

It isn't that hard to figure out, and yet it's often missed. IMHO, naturally...

3:41 PM  
Anonymous kablamo said...

i once saw one of my female friends offer a sincere compliment to a super hot women we had just met and she was completely dismissed.

some women are totally thrilled when you tell them they are beautiful. but there is a class of super desirable women who are not impressed with the, i think you are beautiful, compliment. i presume that is all people notice in them and they would like to be noticed for something else.

but i know what mean about filling up the hole and then building even more on top of that. maybe the hole is self doubt and not beauty. or maybe we just have different holes.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Jens, sort of. I've stopped doing this since every time seems to trigger a tsunami of "no I'm not, you're a fool to think that, I'm ugly for reasons X, Y, and Z...". And she's smart and sharp, so actually arguing with her isn't going to get anywhere.

If the first two times a day make her upset, and make her obsess on the flaws of her appearance even more than she already does, it's hard to think that doing it more is a good idea.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous doctorpat said...

How about "pretty"? I tell my wife she's pretty several times a day.

(Though the last time I saw her she was drunk on Mango milkshakes mixed with $200 Chinese rice wine and had chased 3 of her employees while swinging a heavy leather belt over her head. They locked themselves into a toilet, I decided it was time I went to work, so I took someone's van and logged onto the internet to check blogs.)

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

I'm with Jens, sort of. I've stopped doing this since every time seems to trigger a tsunami of "no I'm not, you're a fool to think that, I'm ugly for reasons X, Y, and Z...". And she's smart and sharp, so actually arguing with her isn't going to get anywhere.

Why does this compliment trigger that tsunami? I imagine that she's seen people let themselves go, and she's afraid she'll do the same if she ever gets too comfortable with how she looks.

If that's the case, then the question is whether or not she would actually let herself go. I think you can find other motivations to take care of yourself than fear, but if you've been relying on that fear for a long time, then it can be hard to make the transition.


maybe we just have different holes.

Ha! When I was in elementary school, they gathered all us older kids together and showed us a video that explained all that stuff.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

I totally disagree with this. I think men who overflow with bountiful compliments are full of crap, your ex being a case in point.

I would so much rather have someone to laugh with and share with than someone who constantly tells me what I already know. ;)

That said, I think you are very good at accepting compliments, especially if it includes a hair tuck.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Capella said...

A woman who responds to "you're beautiful" with "no, I'm not" has a vast deficiency of hearing it. That doesn't mean she doesn't need to hear it. It means she is so far gone it will take her a while to realize that it is something she is allowed to take seriously.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Yeah, my position is still the same. If a compliment uncovers a streak of self-loathing, that means double-down, not stop trying.

S.C. - we can agree that my ex did some big things wrong. But I never, ever doubted that he thought I was beautiful, and it mattered a lot to me.

3:18 PM  

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