Difficulty in "complimenting" a woman

by Kevin
(Reston, VA)

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties. We had been talking for a good half hour and really seemed to be hitting it off. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.


Then, things suddenly went downhill. I commented that she had a “nice, full, hourglass figure”. I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended. She snapped, “Oh really….well perhaps I should do some plus size modeling!” I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things when I used the term “healthy”. With a look of complete disgust, she slapped my face and departed.

I will never forget those agonizing moments in the immediate aftermath, as I was standing there alone rubbing my cheek, drawing some judgemental stares from onlookers. Needless to say, it was not my proudest moment, LOL.

She had the classic figure of a 50’s pinup - large bust, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs. I guess she had interpreted “hourglass” as meaning big/overweight/full figured. I just thought it meant shapely and well proportioned.

When I told a female friend about this she shook her head and said it was never a good idea to comment on a woman’s figure, even if I thought it was complimentary. What do you think about this?

Kevin

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Aug 02, 2013
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Second Slap in the FaceK NEW
by: Jane

Kevin, my dear. No man should ever comment on a woman's figure (to her face)! This presumes a level of intimacy on his part and it comes across as a breach of a boundary. You should never presume that a woman wants your evaluation of her body--indeed a woman should never do the same to a man. I'm sure your face is quite red at this moment--it should be!

Aug 02, 2013
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Second Slap in the FaceK NEW
by: Jane

Kevin, my dear. No man should ever comment on a woman's figure (to her face)! This presumes a level of intimacy on his part and it comes across as a breach of a boundary. You should never presume that a woman wants your evaluation of her body--indeed a woman should never do the same to a man. I'm sure your face is quite red at this moment--it should be!

Aug 02, 2013
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I think you lost it at "full"....... NEW
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately women are under a lot of pressure from ourselves and the external world to be trim- but not too skinny, stacked, lifted, tucked, toned, shapely- but not round, etc. And we live in a world where way too many people feel that they have a right to comment on a woman's body at any time.
And when you have that certain shape, people get really indiscrete. I've been told I'm too thin, too thick, I should get a boob job, get breast reduction,get a tummy tuck, keep it the way it is, etc with a similar build.
My recommendation: Keep your comments off the figure until you know the lady VERY well, and even then avoid words that may imply heaviness.

Apr 15, 2012
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Love a woman who stands up for herself! NEW
by: Karen

I like the way that lady handled herself! It reminded me of an experience I had. A few years back, my boyfriend at the time took me on a fancy dinner date, so I would be totally unsuspecting, and then hit me with the news that he wanted to break-up. He basically blind-sided me and his cold and calculated manner, along with the news itself, really upset me. My emotions got the best of me and I reached across the table, slapped his face, stormed out of the restaurant and took a cab home. Two weeks later he called me and wanted to get back together! Of course I declined his offer :-)

Jan 20, 2012
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Good lesson for boys? NEW
by: Stephanie

My son is sixteen and just started dating girls. Do you think I should have him read this story? I thought it might be instructional for him regarding the do's and don't's when talking to females. And to be honest, after reading that story I had this vision that one night after a date he'll come home with a red hand print on his cheek for some indiscretion, lol, and I'll feel like I could have done/said something to prevent that from happening ;)

Jan 11, 2010
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Stop Digging!
by: Anonymous

Always, always, always stay away from any particulars about a woman's body. Personally, I would have taken the compliment as what it was simply because I'm forgiving and know that (more likely than not) the guy really is trying to gain some extra points.
Stick with vague, non-pinpointing comments. "You look lovely tonight" or, my personal favorite, "Wow! You look absolutely stunning!" Leave it at that.
And, when you find yourself in a hole... Stop Digging! LOL. With women, there is no such thing as damage control. She either forgives you or she doesn't.

Nov 17, 2009
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I agree!
by: Eunice

Dear Kevin,

Those comments are pretty funny!

I wholeheartedly agree with those women. You have heard from the horse's mouth. Better to use phrases we like to hear!

1) You look beautiful tonight.
2) I love your hair.
3) Wow, you look pretty!
4) What a lovely dress!
5) You look lovely
6) You look great!

Commenting on a woman's figure will only make her feel self-conscious.

All the best to your next time!

Nov 16, 2009
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touchy subject
by: Anonymous

As a woman with a "full" hourglass figure, I would have been similarly offended. Still, he could have salvaged things by NOT going into damage control mode and simply saying that he thought she looked lovely. He sealed his fate when he called her "healthy". I would love to have been a fly on the wall to have seen that slap and the aftermath, lol.

Nov 16, 2009
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Stick to what we like to hear.
by: Women of the world

I think it's best to stick to, "You look beautiful," or "I love your dress."

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