There are so many reasons why I hate it when people compliment me on my appearance. I will try and be succinct about it.
1. I don't think it's particularly true.
Don't! Don't even think about arguing the point on this one, alright? I don't want to hear it. I also don't want to hear any variation of 'Don't be so hard on yourself' or 'Beauty comes in many forms.' Not interested. You see, growing up, it seemed that everyone I knew, with the exception on my mother, took great pains to ensure I knew precisely how plain I was. There is a quote which I have written on this blog before said by one of my friends which has stuck with me since the moment it was first uttered:
What happened with you? I mean, Genevieve (my eldest sister) is really beautiful, Zoe (next oldest) is really, really sexy...
And then there's you.
I was the girl no one would be caught dead with. In grade seven (I think), a boy asked me to be his girlfriend. He seemed like a nice bloke, so I said yes. The next day, we were walking to the shops to get something, and he asked me to walk three feet behind so it didn't look like we were together. That was the reason, uttered from his mouth hole to my ears. I broke up with him the next day, just so you know. I have some pride.
When it came time for the Débutante Ball (it was ladies choice; we did all the asking and buying of boutonnieres etc), which I desperately wanted to attend, I asked every boy in every one of my classes if they wanted to go with me. No, was the answer. Every single time. One boy said that he really didn't want to go, and so declined. Three days later, he announced in class that someone from another local school had asked him, and he finally had a date to the ball.
I never did attend the Débutante Ball for my year.
Look, I'm not looking for your pity. I'm just stating what is. For these, and many other reasons (like only ever being complimented when people wanted me to do something for them... like their homework), I don't happen to think that people are being entirely genuine when they compliment my appearance.
I'm not saying I think I look like a troll, either.
So please, don't note it.
2. I'm more than my appearance
This might get a little feministy, so hold on to your hats.
From a young age girls are taught that their greatest asset is their appearance. They must dress prettily, have good hair, be slender enough, wear the right kinds of make up, etc. They are, from their earliest moments and often despite the efforts of sane parents informed that for a woman beauty is success. And you know what? For the most part, that's true.
The Kardashian sisters, for example, have done nothing of note. Nothing. But they are famous and successful. Why? Because they're beautiful.
A male actor must be a good actor. A female actor must be a good actor, and she must be beautiful. Unfortunately, this is changing, and male actors, particularly in North America, are starting to realise that they can no longer depend on talent alone. I say unfortunately because it is unfortunate; to have appearance replace ability on the success scale is awful and hideously unfair.
U.F.C. is a prime example of this. HERE is a great article on the subject.
The fact of the matter is that even if I was objectively beautiful, there is so much more to me that is far more worthy of praise. I am passionate and compassionate. I am ambitious, hard working (sometimes), kind, determined. I am tenacious. I am strong. A true compliment would be:
"You're an awesome person."
"I loved [insert title I wrote here]. It was such a great read!"
"You know, you are really smart."
Why do I find these more complimentary? Because I work my arse off trying to deliver the best novels I can. It's hard work. Personalities, too, take work. To be frank, more people should be working on them. Increasing the brain's ability to think critically is also a lot of work, as is combating one's own ignorance (there is no greater sin than wilful ignorance, people. None) and something more people should definitely work on. All of these things take work to improve, and there is always room to improve them.
Being complimented on a job well done is far more satisfying than being complimented on my looks. After all...
3. I really had nothing to do with it.
Let's pretend for a moment that I accept that I'm physically beautiful (it's just pretend, beauty is the farthest thing from objective you could imagine).
So what? It's not like I had much to do with it. I mean, other than eating well and exercising (because I'm terrified that I'll acquire my father's bad heart) a fair amount, I really didn't do anything special. I was born. That's it.
If you want to compliment someone on my looks, compliment my parents. They have way more to do with it than I do.
I was always confused about why I should thank someone when they expressed their opinion about my appearance. What was I thanking them for, exactly?
Why, thank you good sir/madame for your arbitrary, and frankly unsolicited, opinion on the cumulative effect of my genetic heritage.
Thanks. I mean, clearly I worked very hard to produce the code that would exhibit the phenotypical expression you now have told me you find appealing.
So, I would scowl, and then murmur 'Thank you' whenever complimented on the way I looked when really, all I wanted to say was...
4. I really don't care
Seriously, I could not care less about whether the angles of my face/curves of my body pleases your eyes or not. It's really your issue. Don't make it mine.
Now I know I'm weird, and that tonnes of people love to be complimented on their appearance. That's really awesome. It's good. I'm not judging others for it. I'm just saying that I don't particularly like it, and stating why.
This is by no means a guideline for complimenting other people.
It's really just if we encounter one another, you will know that complimenting my appearance will likely result in a massive (if internal) eye roll on my part.
I acknowledge that I am atypical in this regard.
Right, Beta Reader Two has come through with edits, so that is what I will be spending today doing.