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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Difficulty in "Complimenting" a Woman


I received this email from a man that tried to give a woman a compliment on her figure. What do you think?

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties. We had been talking for a good half hour and really seemed to be hitting it off. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime. Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a "nice, full, hourglass figure". I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. She snapped, "Oh really....well perhaps I should do some plus size modeling!" I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things when I used the term "healthy". With a look of complete disgust, she slapped my face and departed.

I will never forget those agonizing seconds in the immediate aftermath, as I was standing there alone rubbing my cheek, drawing some judgmental stares from onlookers. Needless to say, it was not my proudest moment, LOL.

She had the classic figure of a 50's pinup - large bust, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs. I guess she had interpreted "hourglass" as meaning big/overweight/full figured. I just thought it meant shapely and well proportioned.

When I told a female friend about this she shook her head and said it was never a good idea to comment on a woman's figure, even if I thought it was complimentary. What do you think about this?



First of all, in my opinion, complimenting a woman on her figure within an hour of first meeting her, is not a very good idea. Telling her that she is beautiful, or has beautiful eyes, is welcome by most women, however, her figure is getting too personal and sexual, no matter how complimentary. But then, that has to do with what type of woman she is. Personally, it would have triggered a warning message flashing in my head, and I would be hunting for the "exit" sign. I personally would find it offensive for a man to compliment me on my figure, which again is too personal and too sexual, unless I am in a relationship with him. Tell it to your guy friends, out of my earshot.

You said you had already discussed a later meeting for coffee, but had it been me, by bringing up my figure, I would have read that to mean, coffee was not what you had on your agenda at all. The tentative date would have been canceled, and again, I would have been heading for the nearest "exit".

But that's me and not her. She appeared to be more concerned with feeling insulted by your impression of her figure, which is without a doubt, a sore spot for her. You told her she had a nice full hourglass figure, which offended her. In woman speak this translates to: you have a nice (okay, nothing special) full (polite way of saying fat) hourglass figure. The use of the word hourglass would, more than likely, not have been offensive to her if you had said, "You have a beautiful hourglass figure", but using the words nice, and full with it, you didn't have a prayer. Then you clumsily tried to fix it, and made the mistake of saying healthy (another polite word for saying fat). You referred to her as being fat, not once, but twice. Woohoo.

Not only that, in your first meeting, within the first hour, you disrespected her, and I can't stress enough, by zooming in on her figure. No self-respecting woman would pursue you as a friend, let alone meet you for coffee or anything else, after you show her disrespect upon first meeting her. That is not how we play ball. Save this type of behavior for the bar or club, and those girls that are looking for the last available man when the lights come on at 2:00 morning, in hopes of taking someone home to shag.

I am not a physically aggressive person, so there would have to be an extreme reason for me to go so far as to slap your face, so it still seems to me that this woman's reaction was on the extreme side. But, in my opinion, you insulted her three times. Twice by referring to her as being fat, and once for mentioning her figure at all. Three strikes, and she slung the bat.

Okay readers, what's your thoughts?

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7 Love note(s):


Ah yes, as a woman who is sensitive about her weight/figure I’d highly recommend against commenting on physical appearance. There is very little upside and much potential for misinterpretation of your comments, which you experienced firsthand.

I can definitely relate to the woman you met at the party, since I also take a defensive posture when it comes to comments about my figure. It was actually quite appropriate that she was a teacher. She taught you a lesson you won’t ever forget! LOL

Btw, it’s too bad the incident was not caught on camera….it would make a great training film for other men ;-)

Mark said...

I agree with your thoughts on this. There are areas that you can comment on and areas that you shouldn't touch until later or when asked and even the "when asked" can be a mine field that one must traverse with caution. Keep it light on a first meet, no need to show all of your cards or to try to hard to impress.

searchingwithin said...


I certainly understand your comment. However, in this day and age slapping someone across the face might possibly land you in jail, so she is lucky there was no video tape, and I certainly would not want to teach people that is appropriate behavior.


MOST women, or should I say, women who have any self-respect, only want their special man, or a man they are sleeping with, which should only be her special man, to make comments on their figure. But then I am not a one night stand kinda gal.

And ladies, lets be ladies, striking people is not appropriate behavior, unless it is in self-defense, and I do not mean self-defense of your ego.

G8rBryan said...

I agree. I knew it was gonna south in hurry when he stated that he made those comments. Commenting a woman or a man on their body with the first meeting only says that you're out for one thing & one thing only.

Loving Annie said...

I agreed with your conclusions. A first date isn't the time to be speaking about a woman's body - and after you've gotten to know her/have a relationship with her, it still matters how you say what you say.

William H. Balzac said...

"...Like sand in the Hour-glass...
These are the Days of Our Lives"

It only works on Television.


Michelle said...

I think it depends on the woman how sensitive they are to the issue. I wouldn't have been offended actually. I would have actually thought "hey good for you, you're not one of those guys who are hung up over those super-skinny model figures." But again, that's just coming from me.

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