If the media—or society in general—has taught us anything, it’s that women love compliments. We ladies crave validation and it’s your job as men to say things that will make us feel desirable and sexy so that we’ll want nothing more than to tear off our clothes and fall into bed with you. Am I right?
Maybe, like most guys, you’ve learned that flattering a woman sets you apart from other dudes who can’t be bothered, and while it’s true that being kind and respectful does make you a catch, there’s a lot more to it than mindlessly saying what you consider to be the right things.
You should be truthful with your compliments, only delivering them when you really mean it, and avoid reaching into that brain box (that many of us have) labelled Feminine Values because chances are you’ll pull out compliments that are sexist, cliché, and even insulting.
Compliments that are Insulting to Women
You’re Not Like Other Girls
What does that even mean? What exactly makes me so different? Why should I consider it a compliment that I stand apart from the category of “girl”, as if falling into that category makes me a lesser being? This phrase is used by men and women alike, as both a compliment and a point of pride, and yet it is so misogynistic and not at all flattering.
If you want to acknowledge something that you consider to be unique and special about your date, be specific. Tell her that you value her creativity, or her conversational skills or her sense of style. I’m sure she possesses many particular charms on which you can focus your praise. Don’t resort to building her up by insulting every other woman on the planet.
I Like My Women (Insert Adjective Here)
Curvy… Skinny… Medium… Rare… I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. Any time you reduce your date to something as superficial as a type, you’re objectifying her and therefore being a jerk. Again, it comes down to paying attention and choosing compliments that come from a place of genuine originality.
There must be something more specific and flattering you can say about your date’s appearance? Maybe you think she’ll feel relieved to hear that you’re actually a fan of her various fat deposits or lack thereof, but what makes you think she needs your approval or reassurance?
You Seem like Such a Sweetheart
That’s a nice thing to say on a first date, no? Clearly I’m grasping at straws here, except for the presence of undertones that suggest, “In contrast to all the other crazy bitches out there” and “I expect you to be sweet and accommodating for all the days of our acquaintance, otherwise I’ll conclude that you’ve blinded me with your feminine wiles.”
Believe it or not, I’ve actually had guys use my initial sweetness against me when at some point I dared to stand up for myself or express anger. Yes, I do have some sweetness in me, but I’m also a fully formed human being with lots of dimensions to my personality.
In essence, any compliment that can double as a job description or a point to check off on some sexist wish list, is probably not all that flattering. Try to see your date through fresh eyes, setting aside the clichéd sweet talk in favour of your own genuine observations. I’m sure she’ll thank you for it.