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You Asked: Is Complimenting a Woman on Her Figure Appropriate?

Dear Sugar--

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago. It was a public event at an art gallery. She was a high school teacher in her early thirties. We had been talking for a good half hour and really seemed to be hitting it off. Then, things suddenly went downhill.

I commented that she had a "nice, full, hourglass figure." I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead, she became deeply offended. She snapped, "Oh really....well perhaps I should do some plus size modeling!" and then she slapped my face and departed.

I will never forget those agonizing moments in the immediate aftermath...the sound of her high heels hitting the hard wood floor as she walked off in a huff...the murmur of the crowd...the stares of onlookers as I'm standing there alone rubbing my cheek. Needless to say, it was not my proudest moment.

She had the classic figure of a 50's pinup - large bust, narrow waist, shapely hips/legs. I guess she had interpreted "hourglass" as meaning
big/overweight/full figured. I just thought it meant shapely and well proportioned.

When I told a female friend about this she shook her head and said it was never a good idea to comment on a woman's figure, even if I thought it was complimentary. What do you think about this?

--Made a Mistake Mark

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Made a Mistake Mark-

Do not take that slap across the face lightly and take your friend's advice. As nice as you thought you were being, most women are sensitive about their bodies, and they don't want anyone else making any comments about their appearance. Woman can misinterpret what you say so it's best to steer clear of anything that could possibly be misconstrued.

Women want to be noticed for their charming personality, their funny sense of humor, and their brilliant mind. When you make a comment about our appearance, it makes us feel like sexual objects. It can be both embarrassing and degrading, especially if she is already self-conscience. Although you might have had her best interest at heart, It's kind of tacky to bring up a woman's body the first time you meet them not to mention it can give woman the wrong impression.

If you really want to compliment her on how she looks, say something sweet that you can't go wrong with like, "Your smile is really comforting," or "You smell really wonderful. It reminds me of summer," or, "That shirt really brings out the blue in your eyes." These kinds of comments is what make a women feel beautiful, strong, confident and admired. I hope this helps.


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