Thursday, April 3, 2008

Perfecting the Backhand

One of my very favorite and frequently mourned TV shows was VH-1’s The Pickup Artist. If you never had the pleasure of watching the show, its goal was to turn one of 8 nerdy guys into a failsafe pickup pro.

Among many surprisingly effective tactics Mystery introduced to the boys was, my ultimate fave, the “neg.” A neg is comment you make to elicit feelings of insecurity in a girl, therefore making yourself seem more confident—and hopefully more attractive—to her. Examples of negs could be, “that crooked tooth is so cute,” “do you know you blink a lot?” or “you kind of look like a penguin trying to fly when you dance.”

These provide great entertainment (and perhaps dating success) when mentioned by men. However, when a woman gives you a neg, it just ain’t cool.

This morning, as I was walking past a coworker’s cubicle she said, “Did you change your hair?” not in an oh-it-looks-really-cute kind of way. “No,” I said, “it’s pulled up on the sides, but I didn’t change anything.” She wrinkled her nose, “Oh, it looks different.” I immediately went back to my desk and pulled out my compact mirror. It didn’t look different to me…why did she have the crumpled paper face?

This happened once when I was working in advertising too. A female coworker who had at least 20 if not 30 years on me walked by one day when I was wearing a (knee-length) skirt and sandals. “Aren’t you cold without pantyhose?” she scowled. But what I heard was, “You skinny 25-year old bitch, cover up your legs at work!”

As Mystery taught us, there is a time and place for backhanded compliments. But I’m here to say, the office isn’t it.


Semicharmed said...

Oh my goodness! What is it with some women always feeling the need to put other women down? Hello. We need to stick together. My Favorite is "you look so tired today" which translates to "you look like crap & could use some bronzer and mascara".

Hannah said...

What a dumb hoe.

Do you remember Adolescent Skills? There was a whole bit on that. Mrs. A said the best response when someone says those kinds of things is "don't blow out my candle to make yours brighter"

But if you said that to someone at work they might think you're crazy. But then maybe that is a good thing cause then she would really leave you alone. :)

Emily said...

The other day I was at a sorority meeting and this girl said "Did you get a haircut?" and I was like "oh yeah, I did during spring break" and she was like "Oh, yeah I could tell."
Nothing about it looking really nice, her liking my bangs, anything like that. Just yeah, I could tell you got a haircut. Even if you don't think so, just tell me it looks nice!
The point of that story was... your hair always looks wonderful and you shouldn't hide your beautiful legs under pantyhose. The end :)

Mel Heth said...

Semi - I'm so glad you included the tired thing! I totally meant to mention that. Even if it's coming from a place of concern, I think people ought to refrain from using that one.

Hannah - you kill me. I LOVE the quote from Adolescent Skills and I will totally try to remember to use it - just to get weird looks from people. :)

Mel Heth said...

Ems, I {heart} you!

brookem said...

oh man! i dont think id like to hear that coming from a woman, or a date! id still feel as insecure, and also, think he's kinda douchy for not just paying a nice compliment instead.

Mel Heth said...

Did anyone catch Miss Guided last night? The vice principal on the show was reading The Game - which is what Pickup Artist was based on. He ended up trying to use negs on the hottest teacher on campus. Very funny and aptly timed for this post. :)

Mystery said...

Funny how this blog wrinkles it's nose, but doesn't offer a solution...kinda cute. :-)

Kayla said...

Hi! I'm Emily's friend, and first of all I love all of your posts. Em and I talk about it all the time, you are so wise!please keep sharing!

Second of all, the entire time I was reading this post I was thinking of Miss Guided and was so glad you mentioned that, but yeah just wanted to second that the timing was very nice.

Mel Heth said...

Mystery - the solution IS to meet a chick neg with a chick neg - or in this case, an exposé blog post. :D

Kayla - any friend of Emily's is a friend of mine! Thanks for reading!