By Lisa P.
Compliments are like diamonds – a girl can never get too many of them. Kandi has mentioned many times the compliments she receives when she is volunteering or interacting with civilians. Recently, I experienced a very simple example. The other day I did some window shopping for bikinis, went to a local TJ Maxx and Barnes & Noble to shop, and also went to the post office to fill out a “mail hold” card for my summer vacation. The photo below is from the shopping leg of the trip. You can see the dress I wore for the outing. It looks like it is covered in polka dots, but in fact the dots are small stars. The dress is super comfortable – great for a day out shopping and running errands, even if it isn’t the most figure-pleasing.
My interactions with civilians was very good in all respects (many smiles, as well as “hello ma’am” and “thank you, ma’am”), but the most meaningful was the older woman (wearing a mask — whereas I was not) who I made eye contact with as I exited the post office. She made a simple remark — “I like your dress” — as I walked out the door of the post office.
Complimenting someone in this manner is the type of gesture women do so well, and something I need to remind myself to do more often. Either she read me and was affirming who I was as a transgender woman, or she didn’t read me and simply liked the dress and thought it was worthy of comment. If the former, she was an ally, and that possibility made me feel good. If the latter, she was indirectly complimenting me on my good taste, and that possibility made me feel good. All in all, a simple gesture, but an important one! In related incidents, I have received two compliments in the past year from women on my hair. Did they know I was wearing a wig (my wigs are high quality, so perhaps not) and/or did they know I am TG (possibly…likely)? Either way it was still a compliment. I like my hair too and I enjoyed someone else saying they liked the color and styling, even if technically speaking the hair is not my own.
These experiences have reminded me of the importance of giving compliments, however I am presenting. The joy of being a female is that I can offer compliments to other women without any resulting threat, misunderstanding or sexual innuendo. “I love that skirt” is easy to say if it is a genuine sentiment, but not so easy if I am attired as a male. Recently I did blurt out how attractive a colleague’s blouse was, and immediately realized that it was received as a “weird” comment from a guy (even a male of the “touch feely” variety). But, as it was an isolated event, I believe she (and the others who heard it) did not read too much into it. Isn’t it too bad, however, that I must be on guard not to utter honest appraisals like that while attired as a male? As a woman, I can do it as much as a like.
The point of this short essay is simply to remind all of us girls to compliment the women in our lives and the women we interact with. We like it, they like, so let’s resolve to do it more!