Sometimes in the morning on my way to work I listen to Z100, a radio station that during the day plays mostly Top 40 but in the mornings has a show called Elvis Duran and the Z Morning Zoo. It’s played in a few markets up and down the east coast, I believe. The show is not exactly a bastion for political correctness- most of their topics are about men and women and how they are so gosh darn different and all men want is sex and all women want is emotional connection and that’s how It Always Will Be Forever and Ever. Then every once in awhile a woman will call in to say how she enjoys one-night stands and a dude will call to say he enjoys the emotions and all the hosts will seem to re-think their position but the next day it will just be the same conversation.
Anyway. I listen to it because the Big Show on PLJ has a lot of commercials these days, and my drive to work is ridiculously short anyway. But not today. Today there was traffic. And I believe it must have been fate that some car broke down on the side of the road and extended my commute by 20 minutes, just so that I could hear the latest gem on the Morning Zoo.
They had a segment called What’s on Your Mind Today. TJ, a host, mentioned that the other day he was waiting for an elevator with this old man, and the old man was complaining about how long it was taking. Then a woman walked up to wait with them, and the elevator arrived. The old man said, “All we needed was a beautiful woman to get the elevator down here!” But, TJ was shocked to report, the woman DID NOT SMILE. She DID NOT SAY THANK YOU nor did she even GIGGLE. In fact! She gave him a Cold Stare. Yes! Can you believe the nerve?!
Then, once they got on the elevator, the old man said something along the lines about how his jokes are free, and the woman STILL DIDN’T SMILE. This pissed TJ off. Do you know why? Because, he said, “This woman was not very attractive. She should have been happy just to get a compliment.”
Of course! How dare this ugly girl not be so appreciative that someone was nice enough to throw a compliment her way. Since she’s ugly, she obviously has spent her whole day- maybe her whole week! existence!- just waiting for some old guy to tell her she’s pretty. And when ugly chicks are called pretty, they better be grateful, am I right?
Odds are she wasn’t pissed at this man directly, and who knows what kind of day she had before getting to that elevator? Maybe she just walked by a bunch of guys who catcalled her and made her feel uncomfortable- although TJ probably would have said she should have been grateful for that attention, too. Maybe her car broke down. Maybe she just had a bad day. Or, even more shocking, maybe she doesn’t want to be complimented on her looks by a complete stranger, in a closed spaced with another stranger, because sometimes that can be really awkward, and woman are always on the lookout for their safety, even in what can be the most non-threatening of spaces.
Women aren't always going to be appreciative when someone makes a comment about our looks. As if that’s all we wait for in our lives- someone to validate our existence by hitting on us or telling us we’re pretty.
This type of attitude ties into so many things. The Nice Guy treatment, first of all. It also reminded me of these Tucker Max fans who think that ugly girls shouldn’t mind getting raped because at least someone is having sex with them!
Look, the old guy was probably just being nice. I’m sure he had only good intentions. But when strangers compliment women on their looks, it can be a very awkward moment. One time when I was in an elevator, a man told me I had the most beautiful eyes and I must get all the guys. I gave an uncomfortable laugh, and he continued just staring at me. This did not make me feel good! Sure, maybe some women would enjoy this type of attention, but I did not, and men assuming that all women must just be dying for compliments from them is just plain incorrect. And if men assume that ugly women, especially, should always be appreciative of any compliment based on their looks, it’s sexist and ignorant.