This last weekend, I drove to University Town to spend the evening with Bro. He bribed me with a new camera. But seriously, Bro is probably one of my very best friends, for which I count myself lucky. During the four hours I was there it seems that our conversation just kept coming back to self image and how it's affected by different things: the media, classic art, dating, friends, etc.
It's interesting talking to Bro because of the whole "guy perspective." I don't have a lot of really close male friends, so it's nice to have someone to talk to who can kind of shed some light on guys. He talked about how he is most attracted to girls who just look healthy--and that doesn't necessarily mean athletic. But that they look like they eat, and get some exercise. We talked about some stuff going on in my life and he gave his opinion, which mainly came down to everyone is confused. :)
One thing that we talked about is mostly what I've been thinking about since that night, and that's complimenting. I was telling Bro how nice it feels to be complimented, especially by your date. I don't know if guys realize how much thought we females put into what we're going to wear and how we are going to do our hair. I, personally, might spend a day or more, on and off, thinking of what's in my closet and what I look good in but will feel comfortable wearing. Then I spend more time than usual trying to make my hair fall just right and doing my makeup. And that it's just nice to hear someone say, "You look nice." It's not a big thing to do, but it means a lot.
Bro said that he has a hard time doing that; that he doesn't feel comfortable. Here's the thing, guys: if you are genuine, no girl is going to not take a compliment. And girls, take the compliment! Just say "Thank you." Don't make some comment about how you didn't do your hair that morning, or "this old thing," or whatever. Say "thanks." That guy just stepped out on a limb to say something to you, so don't dismiss it with self degradation. It takes some training, but it's possible.
One of the best compliments I have received in the last year was from a guy in my ward. After the first meeting, he complimented my shoes. I had just bought the shoes the day before, so they were brand new, and I had looked in about 10 shoe stores for the perfect pair. And the moment he complimented them, I knew that it had all been worth it. Yes, I liked them without the compliment, and yes, we should feel good about ourselves without having to get vindication from other people, but that vindication certainly doesn't hurt!
Bottom line: guys if you like something--how a girl did her hair, her shoes, her dress, or that you just think she looks nice--tell her! It will make her day. And if you aren't interested in her, tell her anyway. We aren't THAT crazy that we think every compliment means something. Girls, be gracious and accept compliments how they are given. Even if you feel like you look like crap, you apparently don't. Let's just be nice to each other!
(I feel like at this point we should take hands and start singing "Kumbaya." Everybody!)