The other night, I was hanging out with a new friend (who shall, for the time being, remain nameless). I'd stopped by his place because I happened to be in his neighborhood, and we hung out for a while, talking about Faulkner. Or rather he talked about Faulkner, and I listened in rapt amazement to his brilliance. But he also drank like Faulkner; I think he was a little drunk when I arrived, and he proceeded to have maybe two or three more whiskeys in my presence. So, not surprisingly, the conversation eventually became a little flirty. And — when I stood up to get myself a glass of water — my new friend said, "Wait a second...turn around. You know what? I'm really good at this: I bet I could guess your weight within five pounds. Want to wager on it?"
I declined, saying, "If you guess wrong, and too high, my self-esteem could be, like, permanently ruined."
He replied, "Oh, come on. There's nothing wrong with you. You have a perfectly fantastic athletic body."
Athletic!?!? He consciously chose NOT to say thin. Instead, he said athletic. Which means muscular. Which means thick. Which is as good as saying fat! Which brings me to my first point...
1. I always want a guy to tell me I look skinny.
Now, yes, I know I sound like a real anti-feminist, saying this. But it pleases me to no end when people — male and female — say things like, "My god, you're tiny!" Or, "Wow, what are you these days, a size two?" I know societal pressures have done some bad things to my body image (and to our collective body image); I won't deny that. But I do love to feel petite.
2. I always want to hear I look shockingly young.
New Friend just made things worse after the "athletic body" debacle by trying to guess my age — and he got it right on the nose. Fishing for a compliment, I said, "Ah, too bad, I actually look as old as I am, huh?" He replied, "You're incredibly well-preserved for someone your age." Oh, dear. Well-preserved?! I felt like a canned sardine. Couldn't he — just to be nice — have told me I looked like I'd just gotten back from shopping for my prom dress? Couldn't he have told me my skin looked as soft and smooth as a baby's bottom? Couldn't he, at the very least, have said, "Wow, you must be getting Botox, because you look terrific!"?
3. I also don't mind it when guys say, "Now you — you I'd sleep with!"
Luckily, New Friend turned things around a few minutes later. He was describing some woman in his office who drove him nuts because she thought she was the cat's meow; she'd dissed one of New Friend's male coworkers who'd asked her out. "And this woman, she's empirically attractive, I guess," New Friend said. "But she totally lacks charisma! I'd never sleep with her — and I can't imagine too many men who would." Then, gratuitously, he turned to me, and almost out of the corner of his mouth, he said, "But you? You I'd sleep with in a second. You've got the je ne c'est quoi."
Now, sure, it's a little embarrassing, a little crude, when a guy says something like this. But I like to think it's also his awkward, dorky way of flirting. Of trying to say, as directly as he can without downright asking for it, that he thinks you're hot. Call me crazy, but I find it kind of endearing.
Get more from Maura Kelly at her daily blog: A Year of Living Flirtatiously