Why Women Call Each Other Gorgeous (Too Much).
Bitches love compliments? Lies are fun? What?
“I attribute my youthful looks to processed foods and preservatives.” Joan Rivers
Why is it every time a woman posts a picture of herself, other women feel the need to tell her she’s gorgeous? If the woman’s in her twenties then, sure, it’s possible — even likely. If she’s in their late fifties, rounding sixty — and not Christie Brinkley — how gorgeous can she be? She’s a bystanding, bench-warming senior (I say this as someone who’s past the bench-warming stage; I’m practically part of the bench).
I talked to an anthropologist friend of mine, a “bone scrubber,” as I call him, and asked — anthropologically speaking, of course — if human degeneration allows for gorgeousness in older women. “Of course it does,” he said. “My wife’s gorgeous. Wrinkled as a prune, but she’s seventy-five.”
So it’s really a compliment within the context of age. Nobody’s saying you’re a knock-out. They’re saying, given your many years of processed foods and preservatives, you don’t look half bad. You’re well-preserved.
Women rounding sixty don’t want to be called well-preserved.“They’re not brontosaurus bones,” he said, getting a bit hysterical over the phone. “You’re not studying parent atoms, for crying out loud.”
What I don’t understand is, why not say that? Again, my anthropologist friend summed it up. Women rounding sixty don’t want to be called well-preserved.“They’re not brontosaurus bones,” he said, getting a bit hysterical over the phone. “You’re not studying parent atoms, for crying out loud.”
I don’t even know what a “parent atom” is, but obviously you don’t want to go around telling a woman she’s got good “parent atoms.” Next thing you know, she’s asking “I’ve got good what?” and then you’ve got a bunch of “gorgeous claimers” wondering what the hell’s wrong with you. “Can’t you just give a normal compliment?” they’ll say, which is exactly what my anthropologist friend said before his wife told him to stop talking to me.
“My wife thinks you’re weird,” he said, before hanging up.
It still confuses me how one word, even in the context of age, can be tossed around so indiscriminately. To see it used, over and over again, on every profile picture, isn’t that excessive? Aren’t they flattering earbashers?
“Not at all,” a woman told me, asking to remain anonymous. Her inner circle constantly calls each other gorgeous, awesome and amazing. “Why not if it makes the person feel good?” she said.
It’s sort of like saying, “Happy Holidays.”
I say “Happy Holidays” even when it’s September. I’m ramping up.
So, whether a person’s gorgeous or not, it doesn’t matter. The woman feels good and nobody’s the wiser. It’s sort of like saying, “Happy Holidays.” I say “Happy Holidays” even when it’s September. I’m ramping up.
Yet isn’t saying “gorgeous” all the time more reflexive than genuine sincerity? And what determines the level of sincerity if it’s tossed around the same way I say “Happy Holidays”?
Rather than call my anthropologist friend again — and, no doubt, have his wife tell me I’m weird — I decided to go where all women go when they want the honest, unblemished truth: Reddit’s Ask Women.
Here I discovered that “gorgeous” serves many purposes, from ingratiating oneself to — you guessed it — being a snippy bitch. As one woman explained, “It’s sarcasm intended to drive the target to an eating disorder.”
That’s a little harsh, and not the general sentiment expressed by less snippy bitches in their responses.
We’ll go on Facebook and remark on some profile picture saying, “Nice truck.” If we’re being really personal, we’ll say “Nice teeth.”
Broken down, women generally feel a sense of duty to compliment each other, unlike men. We’ll go on Facebook and remark on some profile picture saying, “Nice truck.” If we’re being really personal, we’ll say “Nice teeth.”
Women, on the other hand, take this duty seriously. One woman admitted she compliments women on Facebook three or four times a day. “I just do it,” she said. According to her, it’s an important affirmation, especially for someone cresting the big 60 (like she is, I think, but I was too scared to ask)
Digging deeper, I decided to ask these women, “Do you ever mix it up a bit? Maybe throw another word in there, like ‘fabulicious,’ or ‘heart-stopping’?”
This was met with dead silence until a woman asked if I was a troll. “You’re probably a Russian hacker,” she said. “I mean, who else but a Russian would call themselves Fred here?” (Okay, I did call myself Fred, but I wasn’t wearing a fur hat)
It was also apparent that even “gorgeous” women don’t mind getting down and dirty, calling a suspected troll a “dilhole,” which I’m not even sure has a Russian translation.
I was soon met with many pejoratives by numerous women, confirming what I was trying to understand in the first place. Women don’t have a limited vocabulary. Based on what they called me, I’d say they have many words they use on guys—especially ones named Fred (by the way, what’s a “dilhole”?)
It was also apparent that even “gorgeous” women don’t mind getting down and dirty, calling a suspected troll a “dilhole,” which I’m not even sure has a Russian translation. Rather than look it up in the Urban Thesaurus, I found myself falling back on my old standard and wishing them all “Happy Holidays.”
Since we’re relatively close to Christmas, that didn’t seem to bother these women at all. They responded with, “You’re sweet,” and even gave helpful guidance when I asked, “Have you ever thought of telling women, when they post a picture, something simple like ‘Nice shot’?”
The comments were many, starting with one woman who asked how I’d feel if I sent out nude selfies and someone responded with: “Nice teeth.” I told her I’d feel a bit let down. Surely there’s more to me than teeth. “Exactly,” she said. “You need to know you’re the whole package—like Pop Tarts.”
So it’s really about being specific without being specific, meaning an all encompassing word like “gorgeous.” On one hand, you endear yourself, on the other, you assure her she’s a Pop Tart. Ultimately, you’ve done the job that “Nice truck” definitely can’t. That’s if you’re a woman
Even an offhanded comment by a sales clerk, for instance, who says, “That dress looks good on you,” will be repeated more often than men repeat box scores.
Men are still thrilled to read “Nice truck.” Then again, we’re simple beasts, and not nearly as cerebral as women. It seems they define themselves by compliments. Even an offhanded comment by a sales clerk, for instance, who says, “That dress looks good on you,” will be repeated more often than men repeat box scores.
To prove my point, I looked up some profile pictures on Facebook, commenting on each one. Instead of “gorgeous,” I put “Really gorgeous,” even going so far as telling one woman “You’re more ravishing with each passing day.”
The response was immediate. “You dear, sweet man,” she said, figuring I must be her friend Fred. I told her I wasn’t that Fred—or any Fred, to be honest. I was a distant admirer, a lover of beauty, given to words of poetic resonance.
“Stop, I’m blushing,” she said.
Too much, obviously. She started asking what part of her, in particular, I found most ravishing. “My eyes, my lips?” she asked.
Needless to say, I was out of my depth.All I could do was search for sentiments I’d used in the past: a Valentine, an emotional shopping list. Nothing seemed to fit. Then I glanced at her profile again. Behind her was a Ford F-150, tricked out with overhead fogs and a Weslin winch mount grille guard.
“Nice truck,” I said.
“What!” she responded.
“Okay, nice teeth.”
“Jerk. Your name isn’t even Fred, is it?”
“No, it’s Boris. And you’re gorgeous.”
I think I’ve got this “gorgeous” thing figured out now.
Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist, and former advertising copywriter. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.
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