Why Complimenting Me on a Date Is a Sure Sign He Is Not the One

I got the email the morning after our second date: "You looked beautiful last night," it said. "I love your smile, your hair, the way you smell." I had deliberately worn jeans and a plain sweater. My hair might have looked okay -- not a rat's nest, anyway. I wore no perfume. So maybe a tad overkill, but the man had already made it known from the second he slapped his corneas on me that he found me physically appealing.

That said, he was nice and intelligent and actually paid for the meal (you'd be surprised how many men don't want to), so I decided to go out with him again despite not feeling any tsunami-like waves of sexual attraction. But I wasn't looking for that anyway.

If it's anything I've learned, it's that tsunami-like waves of sexual chemistry after knowing someone two minutes leads to nothing but trouble. I was looking forward to trying to figure out if I actually liked a man as a human being. As someone I could, you know, actually envision living with for the next 20 or 30 years.

I had hoped that I'd find a guy who might be looking for the same thing, but guys being guys, they pretty much notice absolutely nothing but your looks for the first few dates -- possibly the first few years.

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The truth was, I had simply stopped caring about guys complimenting my looks. What had that ever gotten me? I was still single.

So after I saw the email about my beauty, my hair, my smell, blah blah, I decided to thank him -- after all, he's only doing what society trains men to do, focus on women's looks -- but then I asked him, "By the way, I'm wondering if anything I said interested you? In other words, is there something about me that's not physical that you enjoy?"

I'm still waiting on the answer.

Guys, there probably are women who are absolutely bowled over when you compliment their looks. Maybe not -- even this guy warns men not to compliment women on their looks. But I bet there are many like me who are wondering if you've noticed anything else -- felt any kind of a sincere emotional connection. Don't fake one if you didn't. But if you did, mention it. Believe me, halfway attractive women already know they're attractive. You don't have to tell them. What they don't hear often is genuine feedback about how you felt about her as a human being.

Again, don't LIE. This isn't about getting a woman into bed (she's very much on to your tricks). But if you like her and want to see her again, I'm willing to bet that saying, "I really enjoyed your thoughts on fiscal policy" will go a lot further than complimenting her hair. Just make sure she actually said something about fiscal policy.

Do you like compliments after dates or do you like to hear something more substantial?


Image via Michael Bader/Corbis

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nonmember avatar Thompson

This is an interesting article that raises the issue that men are sometimes damned if they do and damned if they don't. If a man doesn't compliment a woman on a date, he can be guilty of not noticing and appreciating her. And if he does compliment her, then some women may over-analyze the compliment as meaning something else. What's wrong with saying "you look great"? And BTW, that type of compliment is man code for I am interested in you and am glad we are having a chance to get to know each other. I almost think this author may be too wounded from a prior relationship to be ready to date. Am I wrong? Don't women appreciate compliments?

nonmember avatar Suzanne

Eh. Of course men notice the physical first (to be honest, so do most women). If in a few weeks that is all there is it will be painfully apparent. I say enjoy the compliments and don't think that hard about it for now.

nonmember avatar TJ

Get over yourself.You're probably not the prize you think you are.Whoever wrote this wreaks of 'princess mentality'.This was only your second date and already you've made judgements on HIM and claim there was no sexual chemistry.Aww poor little baby didn't instantly get that "tingle" between her legs.Can you say headcase? Next...

the4m... the4mutts

You know, I get what you're saying, but I think you're wrong to just write the compliments off. If that's all he has to say after a few more dates, then maybe. But really, cut the guy some slack. He was probably nervous and forgot the entire conversation, but wanted to pay you a compliment of SOME KIND.

nonmember avatar BostonBob

Yeah I agree with the first poster. He's not allowed to feel any "chemistry" but you on the other hand are thinking "No Tingling"?

Debate Keynesian vs Monetarist next?

Quite frankly it sounds like he can (and should) do better than you. He sounds nice and polite. You on the other hand...judgemental with a bitter side.

nonmember avatar Carla

After reading this article... I'm going to go out on a limb and say your looks are probaly the only reason you're even getting dates. You get all bitchy with a guy by saying ""By the way, I'm wondering if anything I said interested you? In other words, is there something about me that's not physical that you enjoy?" and you are suprised you never heard back?

nonmember avatar sr

Maybe it was the comment "I'm wondering if anything I said interested you?" Turned him off. Turned me off just reading it. It's like you're already nagging him. I agree with Thompson and TJ.

coffe... coffeefreako3

17 years later and we finally noticing and caring and appreciating the person underneath that guy that only complimented and made me "tingle"...who the @%$ cares about fiscal responsibility on a date. BUT, the important issue is are you knowledgeable? Are you ready for marriage to someone for 30-40 years? Your looks change, life gets more complicated and if you're only out for compliments or looking for major conversations you're gonna be single for a long time. The first 10 years are practically about the "tingle" between your legs....after thatmajor conversations begin to take place as needed in the relationship. I talk about major stuff with all kinds of people I'm not married to...what I talk to my husband about is what is going on in our life. Sometimes in life there is not much time for (spouse) in between work, errands, kids, breakfast, lunch, dinner, laundry, snow shoveling. Believe me a compliment after 17 years means a hell of a lot more after all you've been thru than wondering if the guy can carry on a conversation. The big question on a date...do you work? Do you want to be married for EVER...and that "tingle" better be hot, but if marriage is not #1...and a ring before fulfilling the "tingle" you probably don't have a good man and he's only in it for Sex.

nonmember avatar Renee

Wow, after reading this, it is definitely clear WHY you are single. Whatever happened to taking a compliment? Its women like you that make it hard for other women to get a date because you make men feel like women are NEVER happy. So you want HIM to care but obviously you didn't, and even worse, you DIDNT even dress up and he STILL found you beautiful. You obviously have some issue you need to resolve when it is clear you are making every man pay for another mans past. Let it go sweetie, life is too short and stop being a spoiled, upset brat because its so unbecoming. It will be a long lonely road for you unless you change you your attitude and mindset!

Becca Candia

Interesting, but it is only the second date. You really need more time to make the emotional connection you are looking for. Men and women are different in the way they thin and conduct themselves. Maybe you are expecting too much from a second date?

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