Not too long ago, after a night out with some of my girls, I decided to take the Soul Line train home from U Street. This was nothing new. I’ve been taking the Metro home late at night for years, so it’s not something that’s ever made me uncomfortable. And while this isn’t one of those stories where I tell about a guy saying he wanted to see me “in nothing but a thong and heels,” by the end of the night, I was very uncomfortable – and unfortunately for the guy, he never saw it coming.
Anyway, there I was – waiting for the train to come and because the DC Metro is not operated on common sense, I was waiting for a good 20 minutes at 1:30 in the morning. With all that time to spare and my phone practically dead, I did what any writer who carries around a journal with her would do – I began to write. (It also stopped any temptations to write drunk texts to anyone, so pretty much a win win eat eat situation).
In the midst of my writing though, I was interrupted.
‘You must be really dedicated to still be working at 1:30.’
‘Yea, I’m not working – just writing,’ I said – without looking up.
‘Oh yeah, what are you writing about?’
‘Nothing really, just my reflections.’
At this point, I finally looked up and because I’m too nice (lol) and I was kinda drunk – I smiled. Oops. Dude slid right on over, taking my smile as the ultimate invitation. He wasn’t bad looking and I was tipsy, so we chatted up. And when the train came, he followed me into my car, sat next to me, and continued chatting me up. And even though I had no plans on this ever going anywhere, the guy was kinda funny so I let it continue. I even gave him my phone number.
And then he hit me with ‘You’re so beautiful, you know that?’
Mmmmmmm. Beautiful. What do you say when a stranger calls you that? I guess you say, ‘thank you,’ which is what I said – but instantly, I was uncomfortable.
Not because he’d done anything wrong, but it was just… too. soon. And it reminded me of a conversation I had with a guy a few years back. I don’t know how we got into this conversation, but there we were discussing the fact that guys use the word ‘beautiful’ far too often. He said it, but I agreed. It was something about that word that we both felt should be reserved for loved ones or art. You say your daughter is beautiful. You say your girlfriend is beautiful. You don’t tell that to some random stranger on the train.
Let me be perfectly clear – when a guy uses “beautiful” too soon, it’s almost the same effect of the too soon ‘I miss you.’ It makes you start to wonder if a) he’s just running a line on you or b) he’s that attached that quickly. For me, (for you?)₁ I don’t want either.
Here’s where some guys reading this are going to say, ‘Just like a woman – can’t take a compliment.’ But you’d be wrong. I love compliments. And there’s plenty you can use to say the same thing, but not weird me out. Here are some examples:
You’re very pretty.
Oh, that’s funny, I noticed you when you walked in.
I’m sorry, I couldn’t walk by without getting your name.
Hi, my name is…
Damn girl, you so fine, I want to put steak sauce on you and serve you on a platter. (Okay, maybe not this one.)
The point is anything, anything would be better than ‘You’re so beautiful. You know that?’
But maybe I’m being too harsh. What do you all think?
1 My American Idol fans will get that joke.