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Monday, October 21, 2013

How good are you at taking a compliment?

I just read in today’s newspaper, prison authorities are making particular targeted criminals wear pink uniforms. 

Personally, I take offence at this. What are they saying? That by wearing the colour pink, the offenders’ tough guy image will be demoted to pansy, puffball princess?

It wasn’t until the 1890s that baby boys were dressed in blue and girls in pink. Before that there was no differentiation in colours each gender wore. Pink rocks!

Mind you, I agree with the idea in part. I’ve always thought the media should stop glamorising criminals and more demeaning names should be used in the news reports. For example, ‘terrorists’ should be referred to as ‘shiny dog’s balls’ and a ‘king hit’ renamed a ‘sook act’.

Pink has been my favourite colour ever since I was nine years old and overheard my father telling my mother how much he thought the hot pink dress I was wearing suited me. 

I spent a lot of time as a kid eavesdropping on my parents and rarely heard compliments about myself. It was usually something along the lines of…

“What’s that horrible, nasal sound Pinky’s making?” Dad shouting to Mum.

“She’s in her room singing along with Marie Osmond.” Mum’s reply.

But I never forgot how my father had thought I looked good in pink and have collected quite a lot of pink possessions over the years, which I won’t bore you with now by listing.

My point is that a second-hand compliment is the nicest type you can receive.

Paranoid and self-effacing are my second names and when someone compliments me I usually shrug it off with a self-derogatory remark.

“That’s a nice dress you’re wearing today, Pinky,” a colleague will remark generously.

“This is an ugly, hideous dress and I hate it which is why it’s now a work dress.” I’ll ungratefully retort.

Or… “You’ve got to be kidding! It makes me look like I’m eight months pregnant,” I’ll growl whilst standing with my back arched and guts sticking out.

Or… “It cost me fifteen dollars from the bargain bin at Target. It’s a piece of crap.”

I really need to learn to take a compliment gracefully, huh?

But there’s something about second-hand compliments that mean so much more.

When someone passes on a compliment to you they’ve heard from a third party it’s so much more sincere. There’s clearly no ulterior motive of flattery and there’s no sheepish, awkward moment where you feel self-conscious about the attention.

I try to pass on as many second-hand compliments as I can.

What’s the nicest compliment you’ve ever received?