9 April 2015

I Need a Compliment, Melvin.

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.’

The reason I started to ask for compliments was because of Helen Hunt. Years ago (1997) she made a movie with Jack Nicholson called ‘As As it Gets’. In it, she plays a waitress who struggles in everyday life, and has a chance to go away for the weekend with Jack’s character. They go out for dinner, and she makes a really big effort to look nice. This, of course, goes unnoticed, so she says, ‘Pay me a compliment Melvin, I need one quick.'

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!

In training
Wearing a red dress was not part of her repertoire, but she did her very best to rise to the occasion. For another woman, a red dress dress and lipstick is easy as pie. But for her – not so easy. So how does someone know when someone else has tried with all his or her might, and their actions need to be rewarded? The truth is, they don’t. But I do.  

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.’

1 comment:

  1. Even from here, you look magnificent.