Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just a simple "thank you"

Allow me to deviate from the theme of this blog to mention an observation I've made over the years. Most—not all—of the women to whom compliments are given cannot simply answer with a "thank you." I include myself in this group. I'm one of the worst offenders, if this is the right word to describe it.

On second thought, there is a sort of charm to this offense. When told, for example, that the boots you're wearing are adorable, you may respond with "These? They're so old, I almost didn't wear them today. I'm not sure they're still in style." Or maybe someone told you, "I love your hair that way" and you replied, "Do you? I'm having such a bad hair day." Haven't you ever said something like "What a cute blouse!" only to hear the complimentee say "But it has a spot on the left side, under the arm"?

Why is it that so many women cannot let praise be praise? Why must we set the record straight lest the complimentor really think we are clueless about that spot or the outmoded fashion of our boots? I don't have the answers myself, so this is a rhetorical question, unless someone wishes to comment and let me know what's going on.

As I said, I believe this behavior might be charming rather than pathologic. After all, don't women—as a rule—often provide much more information than expected? We tend to overexplain. And maybe that's what makes us women. (Yes, there are many exceptions. But I haven't found too many of them in my own observations.)

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