A few weeks ago, after one of my comedy shows, a guy came up to me and said, “Hey, you ever get mistaken for gay?”
If you’re asking, don’t you already have your answer? Also. did you see the show? Of course I do!
So I said, “Are you gonna buy me a drink?” Let’s get this thing started, you know? [And then we made love to each other.]
What a weird question though. You wouldn’t ask that if you didn’t think it, right? Like no one ever says, “Hey, anyone ever tell you you look like Heather Locklear? Because you don’t. Like at all. I was just curious, if ever in your life, someone was out of their mind enough to have asked you that.”
We don’t do that with complimentary things—although I took this guy’s question as a compliment. Whenever we’re about to ask if someone’s ever been told they look like so and so, it’s never a good comparison.
“Hey, you ever get mistaken for Mother Theresa?”
“Yeah, it’s the sunken eyes and the habit I’m wearing.”
Why do we do that to other people? We always think it’s a compliment. We never think to ourselves, Does this guy want to know he looks like Steve Buschemi?
We’ll do it to complete strangers. What compels us to approach a complete stranger and say, “You look like someone?”
What is that person supposed to do with that information?
And then we always defend it as a compliment. We even say it’s a compliment. Shouldn’t that be obvious?
You never say, “Wow, you’re so pretty. And I totally mean that as a compliment.”
But, “Wow, you look like Ryan Philipee” and then you see the look of confusion on the Ryen-lookalike’s face, “but I totally mean that as a compliment.”
What if, instead of rushing to say a half-baked compliment, we didn’t.
It wouldn’t be hard, it might take some practice, but overall I think it would have a better reception, you know?
This might sound like I’ve had issues with people saying things to me that sounded like compliments but really weren’t. Not that case.
People have told me I look like Ryan Reynolds—which I’ll take—and David Duchovny (during his X-Files years), which I’ll also take. The gay comment doesn’t bother me because I assume he thought other people would think I was gay because I dress well and shower daily.
Anyway, let’s wrap it up, shall we?
Let’s pay compliments where compliments are due. And even then, it’s a little easier and nicer to just say “you’re pretty” or “you’re handsome” or whatever isn’t going to piss someone else off than it is to compare them to a celebrity who may or may not be attractive.