Friday, February 17, 2012

How to Give a Compliment: A Primer for Brazilian Men

Brazilians must love blue eyes. I'm always getting comments on mine, but more often than not, I'm at a loss as to whether the comment is meant as a compliment, as an expression of disgust, or something else.

Instead of hissing at a stranger on the street, or leaning close as you walk by to leer, or excitedly come up to share with me the surprising fact that my eyes are the same color they have always of Rio, perhaps you could follow the lead of the charming elderly gentleman in the cheese store today who tapped me on the arm and said, "Excuse me, but may I compliment you?"

May I compliment you? I think I melted right in the middle of ordering my Minas cheese.

Well. When you ask so nicely, what choice do I have but to say yes? (This method has the added benefit of not being creepy or rude.) Now, you can say, as he did, "You have lovely eyes."

And you will get a thank you instead of the withering look your mother used to give you when you left your dirty underwear on the bathroom floor when company came to visit. See? Isn't that nicer?


gene said...

You are welcome!

anne said...

sigh. such travail, having to fend off the awkward complimenter! I thought Brazilian men were supposed to be all suave and stuff. Another illusion blown.

lauren said...

Que saudades do Brasil....
If only men in the U.S. would take this advice. The ones I meet are rude and arrogant - and of course, a long-time friend of the opposite sex doesn´t give these kinds of compliments.