Has someone ever said something to you and you’ve just gone, “errr, thanks?”, like you weren’t even sure if it was a compliment or a blatant insult? Well that’s what happened to me when I went out the other night. I feel like I fell victim to either an insidious insult or a backhanded compliment.
Normally I wouldn’t wear my glasses on a night out, because with drink in me they don’t make a blind bit of difference (get it ‘blind bit’?), but I wasn’t drinking and I was texting back and forth with a friend, so they were more than necessary with my eyesight, (it’s not terrible, but I should wear my glasses more than I do, as I got told by the optician when i was like four and it’s got worse since about december when I started with trouble with sinuses), anyway, when I was out, I went to reapply my lippy in the toilets when a girl turned to me and so innocently said “You’re really pretty, especially for a girl in glasses” to which my reply was “errm, thank you?”.
Like I said, I wasn’t drunk, but I still couldn’t seem to fathom whether what she said to me was an insult or not and frankly I had no desire to continue our conversation, so I didn’t ask her what she meant.
But what did she mean? Why do people say things in such a backhanded way? Why be so passive aggressive?
It reminded me of a time a girl went “I wish I was as confident as you to wear a dress that revealing.” about a plunge dress I wore not too long back (which is actually one of my favourite LBD’s) which, let’s be honest mean’s ‘I think you look a little slaggy’
In fact, my Fiance gave me a backhanded compliment once when he said “I’m glad you’re so normal compared to my last girlfriend” which normally would translate to “you’re a complete boring plain jane lass!” – but in his case it was actually meant to be a compliment as we’d found out he had an ex who was a bit of the erratic (nutter) type.
So yes, I’d fallen victim to the backhanded compliment. it wasn’t my first time and it surely won’t be my last.
Perhaps people say things in this way to be nice about how they really feel, maybe it’s jealousy, or maybe they’re just a massive twat, I’ll never know.
But what I’m wondering is, what has been the best zinger of a backhanded compliment you’ve heard?