Friday, 18 April 2008

Hair diplomacy

When a friend or colleague has their hair cut, there are many warm and complimentary things you can say to express your appreciation of their new look. 'Oh you look gorgeous!' 'I love it!' 'You must be really happy with it,' all strike the right blandly positive note.

But among these inoffensive affirmatives, I would not include: 'Oh, it looks so much better. Really, it's 100% better,'  which I have just overheard. Because, however warm and enthusiastic you are in your delivery, what you're effectively saying is 'You looked awful before and everyone knew it. You were walking around for months, years probably, with dreadful, dreadful hair and now we can uncover our scalded eyes, let them recover from the heinous blight dealt to them by your personal appearance and just get on with our lives.'

It is the kind of comment that rankles with a person. It would rankle with me, but I am easily rankled.


calski said...

Liking your blogy blog.
I have put a link from mine to yours.


Miss Jones said...

could you make me a cup of coffage while you're about it?


Jane said...

"It looks so much better." must still be an improvement on variations of "You've had your hair cut..." followed by a pause which should be filled by something flattering, but isn't.

Miss Jones said...

you are quite right. i have been on the receiving end of that one myself, on more than one occasion.

i hope you are very well. i must come to leeds soon.


Anonymous said...

This retroactive insult translates beautifully in instances of weight-loss. "Wow! You lost a TON of weight." "Um, thanks." Then, they persist, because they think you're reacting modestly. "No, I MEAN it. A ton!" Actually, it was 20 pounds lost. Did you really see me a 2,000-plus pounder until now?