Hey, have you lost weight?

Have you lost weight? Only kidding. I just said that to get you to read this. You don’t look like you’ve lost weight at all. If anything, you’re looking really well.

Does that make you feel bad? Because it should (or rather it shouldn’t because I can’t see you and for all I know you look at death’s door i.e. fantastic. But let’s suppose this is a real meeting, in which I can see you, and I’ve just told you you look “well”).

According to some “research” published in that-crappy-newspaper-I-keep-reading-which-I’m-not-even-going-to-name, “ladies love it best when their men say they look thinner than normal”. By contrast, “men should avoid talking about how well a woman is looking as she’ll think he’s saying she’s fat”. Got that, men? Don’t go complimenting a lady on her healthy appearance – tell her she looks like she’s got full-blown AIDS and she’ll love you forever.

This is, of course, very sad. The thin bit doesn’t surprise me in the least. The well bit – alas, I took objecting to looking “well” to be a symptom of anorexia, and hence believed it to be relatively rare. But hey, looks like we’re all semirexics now.

Of course “the evil paper” seems to think this is all pretty amusing. But it’s not. If anything, it’s just desperately unoriginal. I can think of “things that start out as compliments but end up making you feel shit” which are way better than that.

Here are three genuine examples taken from my own miserable life (alas, I kid you not):

1. Female friend to me upon being shown a photo of my mum:

Oh, she looks lovely! Not like my mum, who’s still obsessed with looking nice.

2. Shop assistant to me when I was about to buy some wine:

Do you have any ID? … Oh no, actually, don’t worry about it. I hadn’t seen your face.

3. Male “friend” to me on a heavy night out, back when I was a “hideous” size 16 but still had the temerity to be attracted to another member of the opposite sex:

Yeah, I know he’s fit, but I think you’re in with a chance. He’s off his face and when pissed blokes see fat girls, they just see a bird with big tits.

All of this really happened. No. 3 doesn’t get to me any more as I’ve smoked / starved / vomited / shat my way out of that particular crisis. With no. 2, my partner at least had the presence of mind to say “it means you’ve got a young body” (although giving it further thought, I’m not 100% enamored with sleeping with someone who acknowledges my body could be seen as “underage”). With no. 1, I’m never going to tell my mum. She does give a shit about how she looks. Like most of us, however, she just doesn’t look like those of us who give a shit about how we look are told we’ll end up looking.

This morning I did at least get a proper compliment. The woman who sits opposite me at work told me my hair looked nice, so I mumbled an excuse about how “it’s just randomly settled like that today”. Because obviously I need to make an excuse for having nice hair. I don’t want people to think I actually meant it to look like this. That’d look like I cared and was vain or something.

So, anyhow, that’s me: paedophile-tastic body, old face, temporarily nice hair. Gentlemen, please form an orderly queque.