I am used to getting complements. And the reason I get complimented so often is not because I look good, or do anything particularly noteworthy, but because I ask.
'Tell me I look nice,’ I’ll say to Jim, before I head out for the night. He’ll glance up from the pasta sauce he might be stirring, look me up and down, and then come up with something kind. He might for example, say ‘nice earrings’, or ‘blue’s a good colour on you’, or ‘those boots are quite slimming’. Sometimes that’s satisfactory, and I will feel content to leave the house. Other times I’ll dig a little deeper, ‘Jim, tell me I look hot.’
Up until then it never occurred to me, EVER, to ask for a compliment. I thought a compliment was something you waited around for, and then pretended you didn’t want. (Like the last oyster on a tray, or free samples at Costco). Also, this also coincided with a stage in my life where I was learning to set boundaries and ask for what I needed. I thought I was doing pretty well with it – considering it was uncharted territory, but Helen-the-waitress took it to new heights!
I know when I’ve put all my energy into trying to look presentable. And I know when I really need a compliment (often), just in the same way when I really know when I need a hug (occasionally) or a second glass of wine (always). And there are the days when I’m an inch away from a nervous breakdown, but those might be the days when it took every cell to smear on some lipstick, and I really near to hear something nice.
And those days, my friends, are days I wouldn’t receive many kind words, unless I was smart enough to give orders to ‘Pay me a compliment Melvin, and please make it quick.’