Why You Shouldn’t Compliment a Woman’s Body When You are First Starting to Get to Know Her

I wrote this post about ways to flirt, and I mention how you should compliment a woman above her shoulders. Why, you might be asking? Well, check out this guy’s situation…

Reader’s Concern:

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 fromonlookers. 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

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?

My Response:

I’m so sorry about your experience. Thank you for sharing. I COMPLETELY AGREE with what your friend advised. Especially at the onset of getting to know someone new, it’s NEVER a good idea to mention their body. You lose either way. If you give something complimentary, she will think you are only looking for one thing– to get her in bed. Or that you’re most concerned with physical appearance above knowing her as an individual. (character, personality) (And you already know what happens if she takes a comment as meaning something negative)

See, this is unfair, I know, but the thing is, the media, our society makes women feel like that is all we are worth— that we are the sum of how we look, especially how our bodies look. Everywhere a woman looks, she gets messages that her appearance is somehow not enough, somehow lacking— and she gets the message that that’s what men care about most.

So a woman has to deal with this burden every single day– it’s exacerbated by the fact that our media also places a premium value on women who are modelesque. Being thin is in these days according to the media. (even if men prefer an hourglass figure and some meat on a woman’s bones)

Basically, your nice, meaningful, innocent remark is competing with screaming messages left and right given to women through magazines, movies, television— and perpetuated by our belief that these things are truth.

So within each woman is a desire to feel beautiful and to be known for who she is, not what her body looks like. Funny thing is, it’s always appropriate to mention a woman’s beauty, just as long as a man doesn’t mention it in the context of the way her body looks! (At least at the onset of getting to know someone)

I’m happy to report that later on this gentleman actually apologized and he and this woman ended up in a serious relationship:

Reader’s Update:

I just wanted to update you on the incident I shared with you a while back. A few weeks later, I sent the the woman an email to both apologize and explain that I truly meant to compliment her but it came out the wrong way. She accepted my apology and we got together for coffee and have gone on many dates since. My comments struck a nerve for two reasons — she had weight issues in the past and is still self-concious about it, and has too often had to deal with men who look at her primarily in a sexual/physical way.

We’re on the verge of a serious relationship, which is astonishing to me. Wouldn’t you think that getting slapped by a woman on your first encounter would be a deal breaker for any future relationship? Apparently I have much to learn about the opposite sex. You ladies can certainly be passionate in expressing both your wrath and your warmth 🙂

Remember, if you want private, personal advice on your specific situation, I offer email and phone consultations. I’m usually booked about a week out, so please indicate in the subject line if your situation has time constraints, and you need to schedule an appointment or need a response sooner. I will prioritize those emails with subject lines that indicate urgency. Click here to learn more.

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I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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