This weekend we met up with friends and the first thing that was said to me was, “hey, how are you, you look tired.” Not a question, a statement. To my credit, I didn’t start screaming and smash a bottle in the person’s face. In case you needed to be explicitly told because you don’t know how to interact with other human beings, let this be a lesson: Don’t tell people they look like something they have no control over.
Similar things not to tell people:
- “You look like a jarred fart.”
- “You look better than I have ever seen you look.” Where does one go from there?
- “You look like you were in an accident.”
- “What’s that thing on your face? Oh, never mind, I get it now.”
- “Oh, wow, this is your look? You’re doing this now. I guess that’s cool.”
What is the upside to telling someone they look anything other than perfect? What is the upside to telling me I look tired? The best case scenario is, “Really? I had no idea, thank you for pointing this out, obviously flawless person. Here, look after my child and teach her calculus whilst I get well earned rest. Blessed be thee who grants the weary rest, right?”
Is it okay to tell someone that they look like they have 7 types of cancer and the tumors are manifesting as Steve Bannon after he went on a bender after contracting leprosy and it is now manifesting itself on that person’s face like Kuato from Total Recall?
Of course I look tired. Is there anyone between the ages of 30-and-retired-who-has-a-child that feels fully rested? On top of that, I was born looking stoned. If I get pulled over, I’m guaranteed to do a sobriety test, Mom always called it, “bedroom eyes,” that generous optimist. Tired is my general state of being.
Don’t tell people they look tired. It’s like when you say you saw someone’s doppelgänger, it’s never positive, even if it’s the most beautiful person you have ever seen. “You look like Brad Pitt now, you know, after he was accused of child abuse.” We all have that part in ourselves, that echo of self-loathing that rings louder and truer than any any compliment. That bit that when you hear, “you look great today,” all you hear is, “you usually look like hot garbage.”
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’d rather no one comment on my appearance unless it’s hyper-effusive-yet-obviously-sincere compliments. Is there a reason why people feel compelled to assess others’ appearance? Am I alone? Aren’t we all self-conscious to a pathological degree? Being aware of yourself is fraught with consequence.