Today at work they had some contractors in to do some wiring in the ceiling near my cubicle. Those guys were here most of the day, and every time I passed one of them, we’d make some kind of joke or friendly comment at each other. It was nothing much, but it was pleasant and it helped pass the day.
When they were leaving, they all made sure to say goodbye to me and wish me a good day, but one guy lingered after the others had gone. This was a guy I hadn’t really interacted with very much, but he nervously stood at the entrance to my cubicle saying a long goodbye. Finally he said, “I just have to tell you, and I hope this isn’t too forward, but you’re really very beautiful. I hope this is OK, but you know, you really have this whole intellectual look going on, but you still look like a model. And you’re just really, really beautiful.”
Here’s the thing: it really did make me a little uncomfortable, just because it was so out in the open and all (although it definitely would have been more awkward had I been in an office all by myself), but not so much so that I felt the need to say or do anything to address it. I mean, really, it was a nice thing to say and all, and at the risk of sounding conceited, it’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened, but it’s the kind of thing I guess that makes me feel like: what do you want me to do with that information? How are you hoping I’ll react? I’ve complimented people on something they’re wearing, or their hair if it looks really nice, or something discrete like that, but the overall “you’re so beautiful” comment leaves me genuinely wondering how to respond.
So what did I do? I’m sure I blushed and stammered some kind of thanks, and wished him a good rest of the day.
And hey, at least he wasn’t trying to ask me out or anything, which has happened, and at which point I definitely would have alerted someone at the company to notify his employer of inappropriate conduct. This felt very polite and I felt duly flattered; I just honestly have no idea whether the whole exchange went the way he was intending it to go.