I hit the McDonald's drive-thru on my way to tutoring last night (for a grilled chicken breast, tomato slices, and apples, Sherri!), and was pleasantly surprised to receive a random compliment from the 17 year old handing me my food. I didn't consider it innappropriate, uncomfortable, or the awkward attempt of a teenager trying to make a move. It was just him being nice.

When I lived in Eindhoven, I did that myself. Once I got comfortable with the culture, the people, and found out for sure that I wouldn't come across as creepy or hitting on someone, I stopped random people on the street to compliment them. I remember one time in particular, Willemijn and I were walking back home from having dinner in the center. We had to walk down a street with restaurants covering both sides of the walkway, and due to the beautiful weather, a large majority of the customers were sitting outside. Usually I didn't look people in the eye, as I felt awkward enough walking down this "runway" with judges on either side. But this day I did. And there was a table with two guys, one of them on the phone, the other just relaxing. The one relaxing made quick eye contact with me, and he had the most stunning blue eyes I think I've ever seen. I thought he should know.

So I walked over to his table, excused myself, and asked him if he spoke English. He responded with "yes" (probably afraid I was about to ask for directions), and I continued to tell him that I thought his eyes were simply gorgeous. Then I smiled and walked off. I figure he's never been approached in that manner, and probably watched me in confusion as I walked away...but my intention was genuine. I just wanted to make someone feel good about themself without strings attached. He wasn't the first person I did that to, nor the last. I thought the worst thing they could think about me was that I was a crazy American. And that's not so bad.

But getting back to the states, interestingly enough, put a stop to that. Now I worry that any compliment I give will be taken the wrong way, so I reserve it for myself. People accuse each other of jealousy and feelings of lust that aren't there. Compliments are not well received. And it can't be written off as a "crazy American" way of life. My own confidence level in wishing others well is low. It sucks. Makes me want to be a foreigner again.
1 Response
  1. Julie Says:

    Well what exactly did the Mickey D's guy say to you? What was his compliment to you?

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