I hate saying that because I love complimenting people. It’s so easy. And a good compliment shows that you respect what they think and what they do and not just how they look. It is easy to make a compliment something nice that actually makes people feel good about themselves. Like, “nice ass.” This is not in and of itself a compliment. This shows a very shallow level of thought. The thought process there is, “I saw your ass. I liked it. I wanted you to know that I am having thoughts about your ass that would make you unbelievably uncomfortable….You’re welcome.”
Don’t tell women, “nice ass.” It is just as easy to tell them, “Those jeans look amazing on you.” Do you see the difference there? It’s as though you are saying “I’m not objectifying you and your body, I am recognizing and appreciating the thought that you put into choosing an outfit that looks so good on you. I’m not commenting on your body, I’m giving you a compliment on your clothes! And the sense of style you possess that brought you to choose that outfit. Which makes your ass look great, by the way. But I would never say that. Because I respect you. And I would hate to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“Those jean looks amazing on you.” Do you know how great a compliment this is? Do you know how hard it is for some people to find jeans!!!??? People who aren’t dangerously straight put a lot of thought into what they choose to wear. So if you like what someone is wearing, tell them that their outfit looks great. Chances are, they will smile, and say “thank you” and feel respected as a human being. And maybe they will feel comfortable and safe enough to actually have a conversation. And even if they don’t, you may very well have made their day and made the world a better place even if it’s just for a moment.
Now, I’m not saying this to all of you because I want to teach the dangerously straight to disguise their objectification of women’s bodies as admiration of their attire. Because even if I tried to do that, I feel like the dangerously straight would feel that their masculinity is being compromised by discussing a woman’s outfit. “I shouldn’t care about outfits! That’s what the gays do!!!”
When I was single and looking to meet women, it was very difficult for me to know just how gay or straight they thought I was. Honestly, “that outfit looks amazing on you” coming from someone who looks like me is like a compliment wrapped in a mystery. A woman hears that and thinks, “Wait. Is he saying this because he’s gay and he likes my style? Or is he saying this because he’s straight, but has somehow learned how to compliment a woman without making her feel uncomfortable??? I’m intrigued. I must learn more.”
I’m not certain if this is what was actually going through their heads, but when I was single and trying to meet women, I feel like I had the opportunity to talk with them and get close to them because they felt safe with me. I learned that I could be straight without being dangerously straight. And dangerously straight doesn’t just mean making women feel unsafe. It also means being so insecure that you have to let other men know you’re straighter than they are. Based on very little relevant information.
Save Your Compliments
The other part of dangerously straight is yelling unsolicited “compliments” to women from moving vehicles. I feel like nothing can exemplify #dangerouslystraight as perfectly as this; because street harassment is how these individuals let other people know just how straight they are. I mean, most straight men are content to think to themselves, “I’m attracted to women. I have pursued heterosexual relationships on several occasions. I’m currently driving past a woman who I find to be attractive. I guess that makes me straight. What a relief.”
That’s like, safely straight. Kinda like, “I’m into women, but I don’t have to go out of my way to be a dick to all of them.” Dangerously straight is more like, “I’m going to make you uncomfortable with my extreme off the charts level of testosterone. My straightness is so extreme that it makes people feel unsafe.” Because it does. Street harassment is dangerously straight because yelling at someone, even if it’s meant to be a compliment, makes people feel uncomfortable. And unsafe. Unsafe in their own cities, in their own neighborhoods, in their own clothes, in their own skin.
I have a big problem with street harassment for many reasons. First of all, I love women. That can sound like a very sleazy thing depending on who you are and how you say it, but I genuinely mean that. I have women in my life that I care for and the thought of having someone making them feel unsafe is infuriating. And I hate it when yelling something at a woman from one’s vehicle is rationalized as being a compliment.
Are you familiar with compliments as a concept? Merriam-Webster defines a compliment as, “an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration” and it comes from the word “courteous” which means, “marked by respect for and consideration of others.” If you hear that definition and the image of a man in a truck yelling something at a woman on the sidewalk comes to mind, you might be dangerously straight.
Compliments convey respect. They show consideration for the other person. A compliment cannot express respect and consideration while also making someone feel unsafe. Even if you think what you are saying is showing appreciation and that a woman should be thankful you were able to evaluate her self worth based on her appearance that is probably not how it will be received. She’s not thinking, “Oh wow! Some stranger in a truck thinks I have a ‘nice ass.’ Wow, what a great guy. Too bad he has to keep driving around letting people know how dangerously straight he is. I just want him so bad now that I know that I can’t have him!!!”
What she’s really thinking is, “Is he going to turn around or get out of his vehicle and accost me? Or worse?” Women have been followed home from the grocery store by strangers. A when I say women, I mean, like girls, like young women; teenagers. Who are in school. Followed home by strangers. This happens in big cities and small cities and communities just like yours. Now, someone who is dangerously straight might be thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t do that. I just wanted her to know that I appreciate her body.” She has no way of knowing that. So save your compliments.