Today as I was coming out of my chosen lunch-retreat, I saw a woman wearing a great pair of sunglasses. I opened my mouth to compliment her and the world froze around me.
“Your sunglasses are amazing.” Nope. Too fan-girl. Amazing is, in my world, an action-adjective. That roller coaster was amazing. Eating that deliciousness was amazing. Active. Wearing sunglasses… not actually amazing.
“Your sunglasses are adorable/cute!” Nope. Too childish. These sunglasses are on a grown woman and being told you’re “cute” by a stranger. Yuck. I would hate it, so I assume she would too.
“Your sunglasses are fabulous.” Umm… closer but fabulous can be misinterpreted and as much as it might be a wonderful adjective for the occasion, I can’t tell from the way the woman is dressed if she’ll hear it as a compliment or a gross insult. Perhaps, just to be safe I should keep trying.
“Your sunglasses are gorgeous.” Too strong. Way too strong. That sounds like red-carpet level and well…. they’re still sunglasses. It ends up sounds like I’m gushing or stretching. And gorgeous should be saved for something that stands alone – that statue is gorgeous. That house is gorgeous. That dress (even without person, accessories, etc.) is gorgeous…
These glasses are so incredibly wonderful because she is making them work with her entire outfit. Ooooh… “Your sunglasses look so classy.”
Mmmm… Much better. Finally, I found the right compliment!
Damn it. Turns out my internal argument took a little longer than a frozen moment. It took about 30 seconds and by the time I finally choose my compliment of choice… the classy-sunglasses-wearing-lady is walking into the restaurant and I’m at my car door.
If I could have just been happy with amazing I could have given someone a compliment. I really wanted her to know that the effort she put into finding sunglasses to compliment her face and outfit was not lost on (at least) me. But I overthought it in trying to find the word that carried exactly the message I wanted to portray and hoped it would come closest to being understood among all the currents of denotation and connotation I’m guessing at based on how someone dresses and acts…