Occasionally I write about the odd “compliments” I’ve gotten since losing weight. Please understand that I know most of these are said with good intentions, and I do appreciate that. I just smile and say thank you when they are given. (I only rant here in the privacy of the internet with you, dear reader.) And one final disclaimer – I am not “anti-compliment” or anything. I really do appreciate when people take the time to say something nice or encouraging to me, it’s just that sometimes, when you dig into what has really been said, it isn’t really a compliment.
The most recent one came when I changed my profile photo on Facebook. (It’s the same photo of me that I put up on this post.) I don’t post a lot of of photos of myself, so a lot of people commented on it and said very nice things… but there was one that got under my skin. It was from an ex. He’s a good guy and we dated back in my 20s. The relationship was never going to “go anywhere” but we had a lot of fun. Even though we had our issues, I was honestly surprised when he dumped me for his crackpot, creepy boss. This is the compliment he left:
I don’t have many regrets in life, but this photo gives me an additional one.
Now, I know it’s supposed to be nice, but… it isn’t. Not really. Let’s break it down:
If he just had said, “I don’t have many regrets in my life, but you are one of them.” (and not on a photo of me,) that could have been sweet. Without being on a photo, the comment could be because I am an awesome human being and an all-around badass, and he regrets dumping me for his weird, needy and possessive boss lady. Fair enough.
If he had said, “Daaaaaaannnnnnng woman, you loooooooook goooooood. I haven’t dated anything that fine since 1993!” I would have laughed my head off. (And it would have probably been true!)
However, when we unpack what he did say, this is what I get: “You look good, now. I regret breaking up with you, now.” Honestly, that just ticks me off. I may have lost a little weight and gotten a makeover, but I am still the same dang person! The photo gives you an additional regret? You think I look attractive (now) and so you wish you hadn’t been a jerk in the 90s? What if I wasn’t attractive? Would you still regret it? Because let’s be honest, I’m still basically the same person I was a year ago. I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but this comment of his makes all my feminist hackles rise.
I don’t mean to make mountains out of molehills, and hey, I like the way I look too. I just don’t have any illusions that it makes me any different (better or worse) than I was before. I’m me, for all that that means: good and bad. If you regret being a jerk because you were a jerk, fine. If you think I am pretty, fine. But if you regret being a jerk because I am pretty, you’re still a jerk.