Those who have their own shrink will think smugly that the title is a solecism [impropriety, mistake, or incongruity] for positive affect [the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness]. People with therapists can use a word like solecism; but they'd be wrong to use it here because I mean what I say. I was talking to Dau.II recently and she remarked that one of her pals had conniptions or even kniptions when she said that her cake was rather fine. "You can't say your own stuff is good", he spluttered. "Oh yes I can" she thought and spent the rest of the weekend commending herself and other for doing things in a particularly fine way. "This toast is cooked to perfection" . . . "You are holding that newspaper very well" . . . "Your unmatched socks are quite interesting". And why not? We don't say nice things to each other half enough.
She went on to observe that, while her girl friends would routinely compliment each other for their new haircuts, shoes and mad nail-varnish, this behaviour was completely alien among the blokes that she knows. Not all chaps are oblivious to the way they look: we all know men who are always glancing at themselves in shop-windows and brush their hair in front of a mirror. It's about 40 years since I brushed my hair at all, let alone looked at myself doing so, and it wasn't always blade-4 short like it is now.
I heard great story recently from a palomine who, when he was young and single, went off to buy a new duvet cover. He asked the shop-girl where they were and picked one off the pile. As she was still standing there he asked:
"Will this do?"
To which she replied "What colour are the curtains?"
"I don't know"
"What colour are the carpets?
I'm the same, I'm not colour blind but I throw on the nearest shirt each morning, neatly ironed by The Beloved because she doesn't want me to bring shame upon her. It may or may not clash with my sweater or trousers. I've noticed that, now I am genetically dead, female colleagues at work will occasionally remark on the fact that I've acquired new shoes [I bought a third functional pair this Summer] or cut my own hair. I've been clipping my own hair for about 20 years now: it's saved me about €1000 and minimised the requirement for me to talk about either last Saturday's match and United's prospects or where I've going for my holidays.
Other men definitely don't complement each other on their kit. I'm with Dau.II on this, that failing to say nice things to or about people makes life unnecessarily hard, unforgiving and unhappy. Especially if we are prone to beefing and whingeing when things are not done to our exacting standards.
As an example of the positive effect of being complementary to people, you must check out this short film by Shea Glover. She went out in her community with her camera "to take pictures of things she found beautiful". When she turned the camera on people, with the same principle in mind, the results [R] are transformative and, well, beautiful.
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