Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Resolution

I’d like to wish all my readers a most happy new year. May it be even better than your last.

I’ve got sex to write about—I had quite a few adventures worth recording at the end of the year. But I’d like to take a brief moment today simply because it’s the first of the year, and so many of you out there might still be finalizing your list of resolutions. Some of you might want to add one more item to that list, at my behest.

I using one of those location-based GPS cruising apps on my phone, today. It doesn’t matter which. They’re all roughly the same in the way they arrange the men currently using it into a grid of tiny thumbnails for one perusal, from closest to further away. I have only spotty luck on those things. When I’m traveling I get hit on like crazy; when I’m within a fifty-mile radius of my home, I can go for weeks without a shout-out. Anyway, today I fired up the app and during a look at the faces appearing nearby, I saw that a younger man with a great, great smile had taken a look at my profile only a few minutes before. He was in his later twenties, wore a layer of heavy-duty scruff on his handsome face, and his enormous smile made his eyes crinkle. He was offbeat enough that I knew he wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but his photo really took my breath away.

So I sent him a compliment. A short and simple compliment. You have a really amazing smile!, it said. I wasn’t intending that he should be so overwhelmed by my eloquence that he’d want to hop into my bed. It wasn’t a marriage proposal. I just wanted to honor an impulse, to let this individual know that for a couple of brief moments, just the sight of his face took me out of my worries and woes and made me feel good. You know?

This is what I got back from him:
-Thanks I guess, but your profile says you’re in a relationship. 
-Fuck, why does everyone who thinks I’m cute have to be in a relationship??? 
-I guess I should put in my profile that I’m SINGLE and only looking for SINGLE guys huh 
-It’s like I’m cursed or something so that the only people who talk to me are married guys and it fucking sucks.
I came back to the app at this point, a little astonished at the negativity my statement had generated. I told him, I didn’t mean to upset you. I only offered a compliment, kindly intended.

In reply I got a flurry of messages back.
-Yeah whatever it just feels like being on the receiving end of really fucking awful luck. 
-You’ve got a boyfriend or whatever so you don’t know what it’s like being alone on day like today 
-One day some single sexy guy is going to message me maybe but I’ll probably be dead by then. 
- God now I feel fucking miserable.
I was about to write back to the guy and try to get him into a more reasonable state of mind. In the end, though, I just put down my phone and backed away with my hands in the air. I can spot a losing battle when I see one.

Do you guys know why it’s so rare to receive genuine compliments on the internet, and why it’s so difficult to find friendly guys? Because when at the drop of a hat guys turn compliments into psychodramas in which they’re dead on their living room floors on New Year’s Day, friendly men like me are frightened into keeping our mouths shut. That’s why.

Guys, a compliment is a compliment. When you receive one, simply say Thank you. If you’re so moved or attracted, offer one back. But all you really have to give is your simple thanks.

A compliment is not intended to imply that the guy wants to pick you up in his car right that afternoon so the two of you can spend the afternoon at Macy’s working on your wedding registry before you drive off together into the sunset at the end of the day. It’s not necessary to look at a man’s profile, when he proffers praise, to establish how well he fits some preconceived template you’ve envisioned for your one true love. It’s definitely not necessarily to castigate a perfect stranger for his relationship status, or his looks, or his age, or his photographs, or however else he doesn’t happen to match your ideal Prince Charming. You are not obligated to meet, sleep with, or marry a guy who tells you on Grindr that you’re cute.

He’s simply telling you that you’re cute. Say thank you.

When a man offers a compliment, he’s trying very sincerely to say that he finds some aspect of you delightful. You’ve managed to make him feel good in some meaningful way; he’s trying to repay the favor.

He’s honestly not intending to send you into depression. If his words send you spiraling into despair, that’s really something for you to address and work on in your own or your therapist’s time; throwing all that self-negativity at him does nothing to honor the simple, sweet intent of a moment’s impulse.

Don’t say Oh my eyes are too close together or My body’s not all that. Don’t launch into a monologue about how you’re trying to lose thirty-five pounds so that then you’ll be really cute. Don’t ask if he needs eyeglasses, or if other people have questioned his taste before.

Say thank you. Mean it. Don’t qualify it. And then bask in the knowledge that you live in a universe generous enough to send your way a little positive energy—a little bit of its bounty—through another man’s random act of kindness.

If you’re going to resolve anything this year, resolve this: to address those shortcomings that are under your own control, and to accept the well-intended goodness that comes your own way.

That’s what’s going to make a great 2013.


  1. Brilliant. I've always had such a hard time dealing with compliments. I deflect them, find excuses... But I'm working on it.


    1. Good for you, Teacher. Keep on working. P.S. You're hot!

  2. You make a good point, but in the world of cyberland when someone is in your area, to many times someone will say something nice just to get you in bed. Since that happens so much, people may tend to not believe it when someone really does say something nice with no intentions.

    Many years before computers, they had magazines with just gay personals in them. I once wrote to someone out of my area that they were nice looking just because I thought they were. That took a letter, two stamps and a dollar to the magazine to forward my letter.

    I actually heard back from the guy, and we started a very nice long distance relationship. Because he heard nice things from someone not in his area, he knew the nice things I said were just that nice things. Not being local meant I wasn't just saying those things to meet and have sex.

    But no matter near or far, some people just can't handle someone saying something nice about them since they are so down on themselves or have been hurt by something else who once said nice things about them, that they will put themselves down or not trust the other person.

    Makes you wonder in the gay world or str8 world if one can believe anyone now a days when they say something nice, or are they just trying to get sex from you.

    1. I think you're overthinking it. Sure people say nice things to people they want to get into bed. But do they want to go to bed with people they don't find attractive? It's unlikely.

  3. Interesting!

    I always felt, as a gal, that many women tend to react the way you described but not so many men, wich is why I compliment men more than women, because mostly no compliment I make, will be construed as underhanded criticism by any male I know.

    "You look very sophisticated!" I once told a girl at a party, who did look a bit like Grace Kelly.

    "You mean by that, I look like a stuck up bitch?" the other replied instantly.

    Then again, you've been contacting him on an app, that people use to arrange their sexual liaisons, so I wouldn't fault him for thinking you wanted to pick him up. Also, seeing that it was at the end of the year he was probably drunk :D

    Didn't keep me from laughing at this gem though:

    -One day some single sexy guy is going to message me maybe but I’ll probably be dead by then.

    Er, by your style of reply, I'm positive that no one will dare to message you while you're alive!

    1. Men are worse in many ways, I suspect—primarily because traditionally, most of the complimenting going on is from male to female, and many men are therefore unused to receiving compliments on their looks rather than on their sports abilities.

      I'm making a broad gender generalization that is hopefully eroding even as we speak, but damn, guys. Learn how to take (and give) a compliment!

  4. THANK YOU! Happy New year :)

  5. Great to have you back! You're right, and you're wrong you know.

    If someone offers you a compliment on Grindr, Scruff, or A4A, it could be just a simple compliment, or it could be that the sender wants to start that wedding registry at Macy's. You just never know.

    Also, returning with a "Thank you" could possibly mean "Thank you," but it could also mean, "Thank you, I'm not interested, you gray haired old man." or it could mean "Thank you, can we go to Macy's now?"

    I do think you're right on one account, we all need to chill out and be a little more polite behind that anonymous screen filled with tiles of photos of guys just like us.

    1. I really think you're overcomplicating it—and muddling two issues.

      Sure, men want to fuck other men on Grindr and A4A and other online sites. Absolutely. But if a man offers a compliment or a thank-you there, and you're making the assumption that he's doing it to get you into bed, or being insincere to fuck you, or saying thank-you as a palliative when he finds you unattractive . . . that's all in your own head. Not his. You don't know what's in his head unless you have a dialogue with him.

      It may be that you're right. It might also be that you're just projecting your own fears on the guy.

  6. I've always thought that a simple 'thank you' is the best way to respond to a compliment but so many people find receiving compliments embarrassing and simply don't know what to say. It's a pity the guy wasn't more receptive - who knows what might have happened?
    Thanks for all the great posts in 2012 and here's hoping for an even greater 2013.

    1. Thanks Unknown! I hope you have a great year ahead too!

  7. Unfortunately, I know exactly what you mean. I'm one of those guys who are incredibly uncomfortable receiving a compliment. Mostly because I have a hard time believing them in my soul. I get embarrassed easily when any focus is on me but I always try to be respectful and give a 'Thank you' in response.

    I decided a long time ago to offer a compliment to men when something about them strikes me as attractive but it has to be genuine. It helps me to be more receptive on the receiving end knowing that if I'm being honest, 'they' may be as well. Unfortunately too often the replies are either rude as you describe or non existent, but you've got to let them slide I guess. I'm still embarrassed by a compliment, but I'm also learning to accept and enjoy them!
    Kip T.

    1. Kip, I don't know what the point would be of offering empty compliments on a regular basis. It wouldn't speak very well for one as a person, that's for sure.

      Just smile and say 'thank you' when you're on the receiving end. That's all you need to do. You don't have to offer a compliment back. You don't have to agree to hop into bed with the guy. Just say thank you.

    2. I agree completely. I didn't mean to imply that I hand out empty compliments. As someone who is uncomfortable receiving compliments (because I don't believe I deserve them so they must be false - silly, I know) when I find something I like about someone, I try to let them know. It reminds me that if I'm making honest compliments to others then the reverse may very well be true.

      Kip T

  8. Compliments, as a rule, should always be responded with a thank you. That's basic courtesy in modern western culture.

    I think the issue though is the tools that are being utilized to communicate. Whether it's A4A, Grindr, Manhunt etc., the assumption (right or wrong) is often that communication made via such tools have underlying purpose of sexual intent. This filter then results in ridiculous amount of over analysis on whatever is broadcast from members to one another.

    The bearded guy with the nice smile should probably take a break from such apps for a while. It may do him good to unplug and work on himself a bit.

    But I also think it's a bit of an oversimplification to say that anyone who offers a compliment is being sincere. I think the anonymity and ease of access of the internet has made sincerity and honest dialogue something that can sometimes be hard to decipher. Don't just blame insecure individuals who don't know how to accept a compliment.

    1. Whether one is on a hookup site like Grindr or A4A, or whether one's in a bar, or just sitting in a park and getting a smile from a stranger, the impulse behind a compliment is the same. And so what if there's sexual intent? Don't you want the guy you have sex with to find you attractive enough to compliment you on it?

      Accepting a compliment is not the same thing as saying "Yes I'll fuck with you." It's just not. When people start confusing the two, that's when the overanalyzing starts to paralyze their brains.

  9. I agree with you that all it takes is a sime thanks. I usually try to say thanks to anyone that offers me a compliment. If I'm interested, I'll keep the conversation going by asking something about that person or their day or offering a compliment back to them. If I'm not interested they only receive a simple "thnx." But at least it's more than I sometimes get back when I send the compliments.

    1. If someone offers me a compliment and I find them attractive, I'll keep the conversation going a little bit, too. If the attraction isn't there and the guy's polite, though, I'll simply thank him and continue on my day. Everyone deserves a thank-you.