[earlier commentary, click top to read all]
You know what, I can’t help but feel incredibly upset about this. Not because of what OP wrote, but because of how big of a deal this has become. I think this is incredibly unfair. Marcos, if everyone would have bothered to realize…
Quick question to the guys that compliment total strangers on their looks. Who are you doing this for? Are you doing this to make her feel good? Or to make you feel good?
Because if you’re doing it to make the woman feel good, and loads of women are telling you it makes them feel bad, why would you be so invested in continuing to do it?
When I’ve asked guys I know about this in the past, it’s often come out that they enjoy a bit of harmless flirting, and see these compliments as an extension of their love of flirting. They envisage themselves giving a pretty young thing a compliment, and her smiling back and teasing her hair behind her ear, and turning to give them a cute look as she walks away. It’s about them getting enjoyment out of flirting and wanting to experience that, not about the woman herself.
Disclaimer here, I’m no stunning beauty. But I do get compliments from strangers in the street, and I don’t like it. Because to me, being on the receiving end, it falls into the same spectrum of experience as
- The guys (it’s never a woman) who tell me to smile if I’m walking down the street looking anything less than chipper, despite the fact that they have no idea if I might have an actual reason to not be smiling. They just personally prefer how women look when they smile, and it never occurs to them that a random woman walking down the street isn’t there just for them to enjoy her.
- The guys who feel free to tell me if they don’t think I’m pretty enough - calling me a dog or barking as I walk past, or angrily calling out “what the fuck is your problem” in a slightly more aggressive reaction to my not-smiling. Again, they not only don’t enjoy how I look but seem to think they’re entitled to inform me, a complete stranger, of that as though their opinion of my looks should be something I concern myself with on a daily basis.
- The guys who call out crap like “boing boing” if I happen to be showing an inch of cleavage or wearing an older, less supportive bra because my newer ones are in the laundry, and apparently it’s of vital importance that they inform me my breasts are unusually large. Because obviously I can’t possibly already be aware of that.
- The guys who get creepy as all fuck in various ways, whether that be pressing up against me in a clearly not-accidental manner, or whisper something filthy in my ear at the bus queue, or publicly masturbate at me, or physically put their hands down my top, as has happened on more than one occasion when I’ve been leaning over a counter to get my change at the bar.
And a lot of the time, those guys are the same fucking guy. It’s disturbingly common for a random complimenter to turn into an aggressive arse if I don’t acknowledge him, or a groper if I dare to stay within reach of him. I’ve been threatened with rape for not acknowledging someone’s across-the-park shouted “compliment”.
You know what you’re thinking. You know you’re not a creepy guy, or a rape-threatener, or an assaulter. But I’m not psychic, I don’t know that. You might think you’re giving me a compliment, but really you’re just adding to the chorus of people saying we’re watching you. Every second of every day, our eyes are on you and judging you. Never forget that.
So if you actually intend to do something nice. If you actually truly believe you’re doing this to make the women feel good, maybe stop before you speak and think for a moment, whether your actions will actually benefit her at all.