Guerrilla Compliments

I like to understand things. I’m a logical creature, usually able to reason out someones’ intentions or motivation for an action, whether or not I agree with it or condone said action.

But there are those little things in life, those moments that just completely boggle your brain because they don’t make sense. They do not compute.

I don’t like things that don’t make sense.

And one of those things is the “guerrilla compliment.”


(Not that kind of gorilla.)

– – – – –


For the sake of this conversation, I am going to ignore compliments coming in a professional manner, from a parental-type entity, any compliments having to do with skill or intelligence or personality. Let’s go deep and look at the surface, huh?

I generally can comprehend compliments from the opposite sex. (If you know a way I can rewrite that sentence and not sound conceited, please let me know.) Observations made towards my physical appearance are easy to understand. You see me, you find me sexually appealing for whatever reason, you comment on it in a way hoping to perpetuate the conversation and increase our interaction.

Men tend to compliment women with the underlying hope of sex. Or at least the potential of hope.

And so it doesn’t throw me off to have men verbally appreciate my face and then ask me out. It’s not always wanted but it makes logical sense to me. That is a complement done with a clear goal in mind. I get it.

A physical beauty related compliment with no further intentions, though? A compliment that comes out of nowhere then melts back into the surroundings, guerrilla-warfare style? A compliment just to compliment? That confuses me.

I don’t even know how to take such a thing.


– – – – –


It’s not that I am not appreciative of compliments as a whole. I try to pass them on as often as I can, as long as they are always done genuinely. Compliments and kindness make the world a better place. I’m all for niceness, as you know.

But the drive-by physical-appearance compliment seems pointless.

I was shopping for clothes the other week when I found myself at a loss. While trying to grab my size of jeans, I realized they were all located on the top shelf, far outside of my reach, or even of the pull-down-everything-to-get-one-thing technique. I cursed my own vertical-challenged-ness until I noticed a lone, tall gentlemen near by. He didn’t work at the store but he also appeared to just be browsing (so I wouldn’t be intruding too much). I walked over and quickly asked him if I could borrow his height for a minute or two. He acquiesced, acquired my jeans for me, and I thanked him, ready to move on to the dressing room. He stopped me, telling me he just wanted me to know that I was really beautiful and that he hoped my day was fantastic. I thanked him and he left.

I found the entire interaction completely baffling and random. What was the point?

When a complete stranger tells me I’m pretty, or that I have a great smile, or to “have a wonderful day, beautiful” and then walks away (which I want them to)… well, it is confusing. I don’t know why they do it, why they say something, or what the reason is for complimenting my appearance.

I just don’t know what THEY get out of it.


– – – – –


Sheesh, that sounded jaded, didn’t it?

But that is the world I’m living in, as a single, active woman in her 30’s. I end up in a lot of situations and scenarios where I am around men of a similar age range / place in life. For as much as I think that no one hits on me, I always assume physical compliments are bestowed with ulterior motives.

That I assume as much makes my heart sad.

And yet there are so many situations where a compliment is a pure and true bestowing of positive thoughts. After all, I often compliment my friends and coworkers and yes, complete strangers, on their shoes or a necklace or an outfit. I compliment other women’s fashion sense because I genuinely appreciate it. And yes, I don’t mind if that makes you feel good… isn’t that the point of a compliment? I think that necklace is beautiful and I want to take my proverbial hat off to your fantastic taste. I don’t expect any follow-up and I’m not going to try and steal the necklace from you or anything. I’m not attracted to your necklace. I don’t even care where you got it from. I just like it and wanted to share.

Compliments don’t have to be scuzzy.

Couldn’t random men just truly find my face beautiful and want to share that thought? End of story? No strings attached?


– – – – –


I really just don’t get it.

But maybe I need to take the implied sex out of physical compliments. We are all visual creatures to different extents. Maybe I am trying to find a deeper meaning or reasoning in something that is straightforward. Maybe I am over-complicating this. Maybe the logic behind these renegade “you are beautiful” comments is simple; they are random observations being shared with me by a stranger. Perhaps that is how I logic-it to myself.

Perhaps what they are really saying is “I like the way your face is put together, good on you” in the same way I compliment a well-composed outfit… with no follow-up desires and no intentions beyond a verbal high-five.

Everyone likes high-fives.


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