Young, From the Back

By Carole Blake

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I got a weird compliment the other day. I was playing tennis in my Tennis League, where I don’t know most of the women, and my doubles partner for the day said to me, “You know, you really look very young, (pause), from the back! My problem was: do I thank her, or do I smack her? Compliments like that I can do without!

Another one happened on a different tennis court, this time in 90-degree weather. After just winning a tough match, my partner and I were sweating, exhausted and thrilled. When we went to shake hands with our opponents, one of them said, “You girls were so lucky! I was really off today!” Does that mean that all those good shots we made would have meant nothing if she were on? Give me a break!

Here’s another: I was meeting a good friend, and a couple of minutes after we said our hellos, she said, “You know, you are much too skinny!” Well, I happen to be thin, but I eat plenty. I imagine it has something to do with my metabolism. I then asked her, “If you thought I was heavy, would you say, ‘you are much too fat?’” She had to admit that she would not.

I decided to check it out with my Webster’s Dictionary, and here’s what I found under “compliment”: 1) an expression of praise, admiration or congratulation. 2) a formal act of civility, courtesy or respect. And then it defined “backhanded compliment” as an oblique or roundabout compliment (Could it also be called backhanded because it happened to me so often on the tennis court? Nah!) I even looked up “white lie,” which they describe as “a trivial, harmless or well-intentioned untruth.” There’s an old expression that goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Anyway, the point is, if you’re going to compliment someone, make it a good one! And so, my friends, if you happen to see me enter the room backwards, you’ll understand. It’s my best look!



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