If you don’t have anything nice to say…

I haven’t had a lot of boyfriends in my life; instead I’ve found myself in these ridiculous pseudo-relationships for one reason or another. In my younger years, this was often because I was too chicken (read: passive-aggressive) to ever initiate the DTR (Defining The Relationship) conversation, and lo & behold I ended up "hanging out" instead of "dating" some guys that I should have run far away from in the first place. (See also: innocence of youth, poor decision-making skills, attracted to douchebags.) And regardless of the status, official or otherwise, I’ve ended up dating people that weren’t overly complimentary. (Again, see above.) They weren’t really ever derogatory, but I’ve only recently realized that it’s been a LONG TIME since I’ve had someone in my life –  besides my awesome and supportive lady friends – telling me that I looked nice. Sadder still, I only recently realized that this was completely unacceptable.

Now, that’s not to say I require or even need someone constantly blowing sunshine up my ass, but seriously, a little dose of sugar goes a long way, as long as it’s genuine. And in my last ‘engagement’ (or whatever you want to call it) I found myself at a party surrounded by people that were saying kind words about how I looked that evening, only to realize that the person I was involved with was silent. The proverbial warning bell started ringing as I thought back over the previous few months only to realize that he very rarely, if EVER, complimented me. I don’t need to be worshipped on a pedestal, but I – and I’d argue, like most women – want to feel cherished or special or even – dare I say it? – pretty. Liked. Appreciated. Wanted. I know that I do require more attention than most people, but his complete and utter inability (or reluctance) to pay me a compliment now and then made me feel like I either wasn’t worthy of it or that he actually DIDN’T find me attractive. I also realized that the person who *IS* most complimentary of me – and genuinely in his expressions – is a platonic male friend. And with this realization it was quite clear that things had to change.

I’ve talked to a lot of my lady friends about this, and they keep coming back to the fact that men just don’t court or woo women anymore. To this I call bullshit; they DO, but it’s us who often gives them the leeway to swagger in with a cocky "How YOU doin’?" and bypass all the formality of dating. I’m guilty of this myself, but am working on it; I think if we continue to settle for less, that’s exactly what we’re going to continue to get: the guy that stands aside at a party while everyone else is paying his gal a compliment and proceeds to pour himself a glass of wine, standing in silence. Honey, *you* can have him – I’ve realized that I want – deserve, need, and demand – better.

19 thoughts on “If you don’t have anything nice to say…

  1. I think all women deserve better and shouldn’t settle for d-bags.
    It all depends on you, Aubs.
    Do you pick attractiveness over stability? Nice car over nice personality? College education over street smarts?
    You should set priorities for yourself (and I bet you have), and stick with them.
    Never settle for less than you deserve.

  2. Hi there Aubs, definitely a decision that should have been made long ago and one that all ladies out there should take note of!
    You’re good looking and I’m sure people say it often but you should expect more than casual compliments from anyone who wants a relationship with you. If he doesn’t make you feel extremely desirable – all sorts of areas of the relationship are going to suffer!
    Sweet talking is not the way to judge the man however! I know many lovely guys who have trouble articulating compliments and feel uncomfortable telling their “S.O.” that she is gorgeous but they are all really good guys who make their lady feel special in other ways… The verbalisation is something that can be learned over time but _wanting_ to make you feel good about yourself is a vital starting point. Any bloke who doesn’t show right off the bat that he wants to make you feel special – isn’t worth the effort…

  3. “proceeds to poor himself a glass of wine” – I think it’s poUr! šŸ˜‰
    eloquent article, I wish you well.
    cheers
    your friendly editor!

  4. “What’s up?”
    “I’ve got a case of ATD.”
    “Wha?”
    “I’m attracted to douchebags.”

    More seriously though, you’re right, if you want more you have to demand it (or, at least, hold out for it).

  5. Gorgeous guys, men with no personalities, douchebags, who need’s them? There are better ways to finding happiness. There’s ice cream, puppies, Ben Folds, and extensive plastic surgery. Actually, all anyone needs to be happy in life is extensive plastic surgery.

  6. in india all these miseries are not thier they have what is called arranged marriages and that is it life long commitment, there is much more to life than dogs pets boyfriends dating all that is representative of great american culture

  7. Interesting post. At 25 I was guilty of this kind of behavior — at 33, I find myself taking more initiative to tell her how attractive she is — and even throwing in a “how ya doin” or two to mix it up a bit. Its either a function of experience or maturity (or maybe a combo of the two)

  8. I am the same person you describe in paragraph one, same history, patterns, and same douchey expectations. and when I recently met someone who isn’t like the last ten years of bfs, I STILL tried to call dating ‘hanging out’ because it felt safer. He called bullshit on me and I realized that duh, dumbass (me), You’re waaay too used to people who aren’t direct and honest. Your hearing will improve much without the constant clang of all those f’ing alarm bells. x

  9. You’re definitely dating the wrong guys lol.
    I was watching an episode of diggnation yesterday when you were all drinking 40s (and you were arguing with Kevin about who was ‘winning’), and I was like “holy crap she’s gorgeous,” and had to Google you just to see if you had a blog/MySpace/pownce/etc.
    Obviously I can’t comment on how things are in the states, but if they’re anything like over here in Europe (and the UK specifically), it seems to be the “in thing” for people to not really pay much attention to their partners. Personally I see that as one of the main reasons why the majority of relationships fail these days ;P
    But even so, there ARE people who welcome the attention (and will usually provide it back in return) out there; it’s just a case of finding them lol.

  10. Found your blog via Flickr, although I am a regular visitor to Digg as well. This article reminded me of one I found recently that I thought you might find interesting. (Pretty sure I did not find it on Digg.)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article3736523.ece
    The fact is, we men sometimes forget how important compliments and expressions of our love are to our female loved ones. But you’re right that the happiest women I have known, are the ones who felt “cherished” by their men. They all even use that word, because – I suspect – it is the only English word that captures the feeling perfectly. I guess that is why it is in the marriage vows used by most churches.
    Of course, I am just another single guy, so obviously any understanding I think I have has not translated into useful action. šŸ™‚

  11. As a guy raised in the midwest I think your post is spot on. Common courtesy should dictate that you complement people when it’s warranted and if you’re interested in someone I would hope you would be all the more compelled to share your appreciation of them.
    One tangential thing I’ve noticed, and been surprised at, as of late is a sort of back lash against complementary behavior. I’ve had a few different dates where a complement or kind gesture (holding a door open) was met with comments boardering on aggression. The complement got me a “do you think I only look nice when I dress up?” and the door holding got me a “I’m perfectly capable of opening my own doors”. I’m not going to speculate on the cause of these behaviors but as a guy that tries to be “gentlemanly”, this behavior caused me to second guess my actions.
    So, in summary, guys need to not be douche bags, as another reader pointed out some great guys struggle to show their feelings (but help them if you can, don’t write them off) and ladies, please let the guys know this behavior is appreciated.

  12. Wow… I can’t believe no one is paying you compliments left and right… and you’re not being hit on every where you go. I think you’re absolutely gorgeous and it’s not wrong to expect your relationship partner to make you feel that way! I also don’t want it blown up my ass all day long… but every now and then a good honest “wow that’s a pretty dress on you” or “your hair looks really good today” does make you feel like a million bucks. So good for you for taking a stand… you’re gorgeous and you deserve to be told that!

  13. You’re right…though, on the other hand, for years modern gals have been demanding we guys focus on buffing our bodies & our cars & giving them shit, instead of expressing the natural gentlemanliness some (a few? a lot?) of us do deeply possess. In fact, they mostly laugh in our faces when we try to be simply sweet. I’m not bitter at all about this; actually, it’s helpful. I have always just naturally moved right on past any gal who could sneeze @ kindness, and she would never get a 2nd chance.
    Anyway, I do think you have hit on something key– NObody should be ignored or underappreciated by one who claims to love him or her. That’s horrible!! Bottom line: You’ll find what you’re looking for, darling (i.e., sweetness), if you know how to give & express it too, which I sense you do. My five cents.

  14. You’re in the wrong country, hun. Over here (in the UK) we recognise class when we see it.. but then,we’d know wouldn’t we?
    Adopt the maxim ‘I think, therefore I am.’
    You have everything a man could desire.. question is.. do you know any?
    I’m a fan.. you put a smile on my face.. thereafter I don’t care x

  15. I, for one, have always thought that Aubrey is SMOKING HAWT.
    Too bad I can’t act on my secret crush but maybe you should re-evaluate your relationship with said platonic male friend (which btw does not really exist =)

  16. I have the slowest learning curve ever with douchebaggery but recently I worked up the guts to just put the question on the table “are you for real, or are we just playing games.” You know what? It’s a win-win for every one. If it’s the former, great–we have ourselves a winner. If it’s the latter, great–we save ourselves some time. Either way, I can do this now because I am no longer afraid of what I use to be–that a guy might tell me straight up I’m not the one. But now, I appreciate the time saved and thanks to the last douchebag who gave me this courage.

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