Today at lunch I was walking in the rain downtown, earbuds in, umbrella up. A guy probably in his late 20’s, early 30’s was walking the opposite way…towards me, but not at me. He smiled, I smiled…then he said “you’re really beautiful” and continued walking. My response? I smiled wider and chuckled. He probably thought I didn’t hear him, ear buds in and all.

I immediately started trying to figure it out. Was he a kook! There are a lot of mentally off folks who wander downtown who say stuff like this
to anyone. But I not so sure. He walked and spoke normally enough. Clothes were clean. On his way to catch a bus, likely to work or something because he had a messenger bag (aka man purse).

So was he a hippy kid trying to “change the world” by telling people they were beautiful because everyone is beautiful? Doesn’t seem to fit that profile. Neither a hipster nor a hippy look. Black jeans, winter jacked zipped up, ball cap, the messenger bag was just black fabric…not antiqued leather or ironically made from recycled pop cans. Looked more like a techie guy. Also didn’t try to slow me down to engage me in conversation.

And for that reason I have to also say, not creepy perv guy.

I stopped dead as I entered a shopping center, nearly blocking people going to and from the escalators (sorry…). Why did I assume first that he was anything other than genuine? Am I not beautiful and deserving of a random compliment from a random stranger? Ick.

Not the comment, but the immediate ick feeling in my stomach as I entertained the idea that I’m so pretty that people are compelled to say something. Ick…I just felt it again.

Hot tears rolled down my cheek…quick wipe…keep walking…

But why can’t I take a compliment? Hell , I couldn’t even squeek out a “Thank You.” Just a chuckle…a chuckle to be polite to an obvious kook…a chuckle of disbelief. A chuckle that probably made me sound like a dismissive jerk.

And is it more unbelievable that I’m considered beautiful to a stranger, or that a perfectly healthy and balanced human would go and genuinely compliment a stranger on the street?

And when did I get so jaded? I think I should make an effort to feel beautiful tomorrow. Maybe everyone should.


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