Last night a man said to me, “You have a very beautiful forehead.” Those words in that combination were so unexpected that I wasn’t sure how to respond. I mean, what could I say but thank you? I should’ve been mildly uncomfortable as the man stood there recklessly eyeballing my frontal lobe and trying to explain the context for his remark. Admittedly inebriated, he told me about a study that correlated the shape of a woman’s forehead with her fertility. Well that makes sense. And it explains all the imaginary children I have; three daughters and one son. Besides, you know what they say: big head, big womb.
Honestly, I really did enjoy the compliment. I have one of those faces that show everything I’m thinking. My forehead is where you’ll see all my deep thoughts in HD. If I’m over thinking something it’ll manifest there. My brow has been deeply furrowed since about the age of five. So Botox for me would be akin to a lobotomy.
It was also nice to get some forehead love because when I was 18-years old I was in a car accident and my head had a most unfortunate meeting with the windshield. It was hella gruesome. At the time the doctors said it would take many surgeries to repair the damage. Instead, I recovered with bacitracin, cocoa butter, bangs, and time.
While “beautiful forehead” is one of the most unique compliments I’ve ever received, what boggles me a bit more are the angry ones. Sometimes a man will say: “You have very pretty eyes.” And then, perhaps suspecting that he’s not the first person to ever say this to me, he’ll follow it up with the accusatory: “You hear that a lot don’t you?”
Um… yes. But I don’t take that or any compliment for granted. I’ve never forgotten how epically heinous my puberty years were. Back then comps were a bit thin on the ground. I even appreciate the street comments I get from sidewalk entrepreneurs: “Hey, Miss Lady, you are gorgeous!” I smile and say, “Thank you, Sir,” and keep it moving. That’s the key: smile, approve, and move; unless, of course, you have the time to stand there and explain why he can’t be your man and you can’t be his Boo.
Knowing the power of a compliment I don’t hesitate to give one. A kind word can go a long way. But while we love getting compliments we often don’t know how to accept them. For some reason a woman’s first response is to reject a compliment before perhaps accepting it.
“What? This old thing? Thanks.”
But this is not a gender-specific quirk. I’ve said, “Nice tie” and seen a man become flustered and tongue-tied. It’s adorable. I don’t know if the urge to deny, deflect, or feign unworthiness is some sort of factory-default setting. But I do know this: Life is short. Take the compliment. Just don’t let it go to your forehead.