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The Sassy Side of Sixty: Compliments

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s take on compliments that felt genuine and made their day.

As we age, compliments on looks are hard to come by. After all, how much can one expect, “What nice wrinkles you have!” or, “Your paunch and saggy boobs really suit you!” Or for men, “I’ve never seen a shinier or cleaner pate!” or, “You look so hot with the hairs sprouting out of your ears,” or someone finding their straggly, bushy, and unruly eyebrows even sexier! I wasn’t specific enough when I sent out the questionnaire to my senior buddies about a genuine compliment they had received and one that would bring a smile to their face whenever they recalled it. It needn’t necessarily have been about appearances, but more like a pat on the back; however, the womenfolk stereotypically focused on looks although none of them could even vaguely recall receiving one from their spouses, except for a single, extremely lucky lady, for whom the praise was understandably, too precious to share. Here are a few that they received unexpectedly and ones that mattered.

  • A woman who’d entered the elevator she was already in, and said, “You are beautiful!”
  • In Mumbai, when a fellow passenger in the immigration line overheard her salt-and-pepper-haired son calling her, “mum,” he passed a compliment saying, “you look more like his younger sister than his mom!”
  • Being referred to as, “calm and down to earth.”
  • When one household maid said that she wished for a mother like her.
  • When a son of a friend’s friend said, “Aunty, you have a lovely smile, and by the way, I have a friend with a very similar smile” – which turned out to be that of her own son!
  • When her friends expressed appreciation for her going out of her way to be helpful.
  • Her silver hair garners a lot of compliments, either in admiration for being able to go natural, or for how nicely the color has turned out. She cynically reminisced that, “I’ve certainly never received a similar compliment from my husband in all our years of marriage!”
  • His daughter wished that she’d be able to bring up her daughters in the same way that he’d brought her up, and what better compliment can a parent dream of?
  • Although he’d often joined a resident band performing once a week at a Sukhumvit pub, there was one evening when his rendering of a few ol’ time ‘rock & roll’ numbers roused the crowd to sing and dance late into the night. The best part was the unexpected and touching compliment received from a young man who’d felt his distress melt away like magic from the performance. It left the singer dumbfounded that he had, however unwittingly, been instrumental in helping the young man through the healing power of music. It also changed his perspective about singing live on stage: he learned that it’s neither the song nor the singer, but the attitude during the short duration of the song, which should soothe and uplift the listener’s spirit.
  • She was thrilled when she met-up with long-time friends, who thought she still looked the same!
  • It’s gratifying for him that people who meet him for the first time find him very easy to get along with.
  • A compliment that has left her elated till now, and one she never ever expected, came from a total stranger; a cab driver. Neither young nor old, and totally sincere, he stopped for her after many cabs had passed by her and said, “you are an exemplary lady for your age. Your upright spine and your unpretentious way of dressing is why I stopped for you.”
  • Although he knows he’s fat, being told he’s a loveable and cuddly teddy bear, and one who felt safe and reliable to be around, made him feel better.
  • When someone said, “Tusee great ho! (you are great)” to him, and meant it.
  • Having been told, “You are brave to say it like it is.”

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