ANNA ISAAC gets chugged into a tight spot. Learn to take a compliment, or banish the flatterers?
Trudge, trudge, oooh Office sale, stomp, stomp. I really don’t want to read anything today…
God I am a cliché; brogues, satchel, mannish glasses… why are there so many bloody puddles…should I have brought highlighters with me? Need to ring mum, need some more money.
‘Oh you have lovely eyes!’
The words come from a friendly and attractive man; he isn’t too short, and he’s got that sexy blue-eyed/black hair thing going on. Maybe he’s a singer, in an alternative indie band, yet with a surprising background of classical training. Bet he writes the lyrics, he probably likes Philip Larkin as much as I do.
‘Oh… er…hello, thanks, howareyouwhat’syourname?’
Only after this mad moment do I look down to see him clutching a bucket branded with ‘Save the Children’. Firstly, I am impressed that he grabbed my attention with vulgar ease (but then I was on the way to the faculty), but also annoyed and affronted that such a weak line had me stopping in my ‘I’m so Cambridge’ vintage-clad tracks.
A moment later I’m violently ashamed that I had forgotten about the charity factor altogether… because it’s obvious that what matters is not whether this stranger actually thinks I have lovely eyes. Anyway, I prefer the NSPCC.
Distinguishing between sincerity and flattery is a constant struggle for my slop-bucket brain. Either I’ll refuse a compliment so many times that the giver gives up and walks away to find a saner person. Or, as described, I’m far too impressed by it and visibly jellify. I cringe in remembrance of the few times when, faced with a well-aimed compliment, I’ve forgotten my principles, name, dress size, or self-respect in a second.
My fear of possible impending compliments is increasing day by day. Maybe I spend too much time at the ADC bar, the luvvie-ridden (but affordable and convenient for Sidney) den of the fabulous and land of insincerity. But it’s time I tried to accept that, on the odd occasion they do, someone isn’t just flattering me because they want something, or merely to fill silence. It’s too easy to confuse sycophancy with people being enthusiastic, or possibly even honest.
Perhaps next time someone pounces on me in the bar and says that they luurve me and have missed me sooo much, I should accept it isn’t impossible that they actually might? Or perhaps they are an evil flatter-witch and yet again I should’ve stayed at home and had another mug of Ovaltine, safe in the true and certain knowledge that I’m a sad wanker.
Flattery gets you nowhere
Grandmamma what wonderful teeth you have.
Yes dear, I’m going to eat you with them,