Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Value of a Toothless Man's Compliment

One time I was working at a corporation. They were expanding and revamping a section in the basement. There was a gentleman working a forklift. As I passed by the doorway, he was begining a 360 on the forklift and our eyes met as a I passed. Both our set of eyes got big when we looked at one another. I can assure you for VERY different reasons.

I heard him click off the motor of that forklift, make a heavy thump as he jumped down and heard his feet scurry toward me. I had on three inch pumps and fitted clothing. I sprinted out of there like I was running track. Now you all know the story doesn't end here...

Fast forward a couple of days later and I bumped into one of my co-workers. She was tall, statuesque, well spoken and pretty. She was gripping her collar, with her palm against her throat, you know how you 'do' when some nasty pervert tries to look down your shirt, or stares at your breast as if they have their own set of eyes. I could see she was uncomfortable and was very bothered and asked her what had transpired.

Well, it turns out that she too had an encounter with the forklift man in the basement. Unlike me, she didn't make a mad dash and sprint away. He approached her and she said he tried to talk to her. She told me that she couldn't believe that he would have the nerve to try and approach her and try to "talk to her" and get her number. Then she added, "Girl, he didn't have any teeth in the front of his mouth, either." She was offended and appalled and disgusted. She repeated, " I can't believe that man with no teeth actually believed that he could get with me." She continued to shake her head in disbelief and her voice reiterated the disgust she felt and had already communicated to me.

I had no idea that the man was toothless! He couldn't have been more than 28 -30 years old. He was very young. But of course, that's not the point.

I looked at her and I said, "You are a very pretty woman. Every body likes and admires beautiful things and beautiful people, even if they don't have teeth." She looked at me like I was crazy. As I write this, I can see why and I am chuckling to myself. But that's still not the point.

What if Mr. No Teeth had been a beautiful man, and had pulled up in a Rolls Royce- instead of a forklift, and had said to her- NOT as the driver, ya'll but as the owner of the car and said,"Hello lovely lady, can I take you to dinner?" Do you all think she would have been as offended? I can't really say for sure, but...I have my thoughts...

What's my point? My point is that for her, the value of the toothless gentleman's compliment was worthless because he had no teeth. I am not saying that his approach was stellar and refined, but let's assume he was being the best person that he could be at the time. I am not saying that his behavior was appropriate or acceptable or that it was not.

What I am saying is that whether somebody is toothless and driving a forklift or fine as wine and driving an expensive car, the value of their respective compliments should be and are the same.

Sometimes ladies, no matter who someone is, rich or poor, at the time it is given to you, a compliment may be the only thing that they have to give. Give them the benefit of the doubt and take that compliment, because it is their gift to you.

If we are balanced and centered, what someone says, whether we deem it to be good or bad, should not impact us either way, anyway. When we are truly 'together', receiving a compliment or not receiving one, getting it from the bum on the street or the gorgeous corporate senior executive ought not make any difference to us.

The next time somebody approaches you with a compliment, understand that it has nothing really to do with you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a compliment is completely of and from the giver of that compliment. If you keep this in mind, at the forefront of your thoughts and interactions with other people, you will find that no one can shake you intentionally or unintentionally with an unkind word or action.

You will also find that when you do receive a compliment, that it is a gift. And with all gifts, it is the thought that matters, not necessarily the gift itself. Be a cheerful giver, but also be a worthy recipient and receiver.

Whether I get a genuine compliment from a toothless man, or a bum on the street or a beautiful man in my organization, the first thing out my mouth is and I hope always will be, "Thank you very much."

4 comments:

Laquita said...

Great post :o)

FlowerChild said...

I really like this post.

I always say "Thank You" or some sort of reply that I acknowledge their kind remarks.

But I don't like the guys that are looking at you up and down like you're a piece of meat while they do it. That's just rude.

His Daughter said...

this really gives me something to think about. great post, thank you.

ChocolateOrchid said...

Great post! I love your point when you wrote, "and a compliment is completely of and from the giver of that compliment. If you keep this in mind, at the forefront of your thoughts and interactions with other people, you will find that no one can shake you intentionally or unintentionally with an unkind word or action."

This is a great perspective to keep!