Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"You Look Good For Your Age!"

Most of my readers over a certain age have been given this compliment. How have you felt about it? I am working hard to not be a peckish middle age woman, so I don't like to complain about compliments. But there's something about the "for your age" part that ruffles my silvery fur.

It's like being given a heartfelt compliment and having 10% yanked back. Sometimes, I admit, I have said, "Thank you, I'm 29." (Only with someone I intuit has a good sense of humor!) And I wonder, at what age does one start receiving this slightly wilted compliment? Not at 30, certainly. Maybe 40? After 50, it's almost a sure thing.

And imagine if we qualified compliments with other traits that we don't control: You look good for a woman? You look good for a Canadian? You look good for your height? Outrageous to the ear, of course.

So here is my proposal: let's start omitting the last three words, no matter the age of the recipient. "You look good" is a complete sentence and conveys a sincere admiration of the physical self. Either that, or we start adding "for your age" to everyone we wish to compliment. "Is that your toddler? She is adorable for her age!"

What say you? Do you give or receive this compliment? Any feelings about it? Share, please!

Speaking of Looking Good, it's time for a Bloggers Do It Better challenge at Pretty Shiny Sparkly. This time it's the Arm Party, celebrating bracelets, bangles, watches and all sorts of pretty DIY projects. Check it out.

Bangle: Molly Mutt Thrift Store, Bracelets: local artist; Target; thrifted

And, because every day can be a joyous one, we're also celebrating Accessory Swap Day, created by Pam at Over50Feeling40. Pam linked us up with partners to swap accessories with and today we are revealing the goodies. My partner is the lovely Lise from Southern Comfort. Lise sent me this absolutely perfect necklace and earring combo:

Thank you Lise - you are so nice, and you have great taste too!


  1. at 41 I have not yet received the ...humpf.. compliment. But the "for your age" is there at the gym (yeah, not sure, what about something lighter?), when buying clothes (is this appropriate? not too youngish?), at the doctor's (well, you have to start paying attention to some signs, okay?) and at many other places. Only they don't yet say it! Now, I agree, if you're giving a compliment, do it fully, or don't give it at all!

  2. Maybe in time all the over 50 women (actresses, models, & bloggers) will replace the standard for what "looks good" to the American eye - then my daughter will be told that she looks good for her age. I know that won't bother her. So I'm fine with the status quo. Compliments are only good when they're sincere, and two half's make a whole.
    I don't think I would ever tell someone that they look good for their age, since I am a bad age guesser. At least half the time when I give a compliment to a woman over 50, she will qualify her "thank you" by telling me her age.

  3. I've had that said a couple of times. As first I was stunned, now I just let it roll right off!
    No sense getting a frown line over what was meant to be a compliment!

  4. I'll be 45 this year and have not heard that "compliment" I can't decide if that's good or bad now. I have started being called "ma'am" though which makes me cringe!

    Also Patti, I wanted to let you know that I was so inspired by your bangles and bracelets yesterday that today at work, I mixed and wore some today which I love! I'll have to pop over to the Arm Party!

  5. Lise has such great taste...these are beautiful! Thank you for participating in the accessory swap!!

  6. I'm sorry but I don't consider it a compliment. I consider it someone needing something to say and making a grand mistake. I've never had it said to me. But I'll never say never.

  7. I think people have just forgotten good manners; no compliment that is heartfelt should ever be qualified. At 41 I guess I'm still younger than the mysterious cutoff age, but I dread the day someone says that to me.

  8. It happened to me when i hit 40ish.....
    I suppose that's why I started a blog,LOL!

    And , it is especially ouchy when a guy says, "I'd go out with someone YOUR AGE" !
    Little Brats ;)

    I think it's time to start a beauty revolution!
    I love it that when I started blogging around 2 1/2 yrs. ago, there were only a handful of "over-something" bloggers, now there are tons!

  9. I think anytime someone tells me I look good, I'll be happy with that. If they say 'for your age' then I'll assume they have inadvertently admitted they can tell I've been on the planet for a while - and I have. It may mean that I no longer could pull a 30 year old and I don't look like I might produce progeny - which is fine by me, I don't want to do either.

    BTW 'peckish' in Britain means you're a bit hungry.

  10. I had that said to me when I was 28 - and yes I agree with you.
    Give the COMPLIMENT, just the compliment :)

  11. Patti, I couldn't agree with you more! It's just as insulting as the phrase, "She's pretty for a black girl" which I heard numerous times growing up in a predjudiced (at that time) south. I don't want to "look good for my age"....I'll take my looking good plain without all the fixin's thank you very much! Love your arm art! ~Serene

  12. So true! Why do we have to qualify and explain our compliments? I don't think (hope) that I do this, but I'm sure I have at some point.

    I had a young guy say to me recently, "You must have been a model a really long time ago".


    Pretty wrist candy!


  13. Wow, we WERE separated at birth, weren't we? I've never been given the compliment in question, but I've seen it here in blogland and it does make me cringe! I try to look at the intent -- which I know is good -- and I would never get angry at anybody for saying it because I'm sure nobody means to be backhanded or rude. But I thank you for perhaps raising awareness of this issue!

  14. Anne - I forgot to add that we were separated at birth at *least* a dozen years apart (me first, then you). But, I do look pretty good for my age ; 0

  15. It makes me crazy when I hear it; but then again, maybe they think I'm 29?? lol. Oh well, at this point I need to take a compliment any way I can get it!!!
    You scored with that necklace!

  16. the only time I hear that is on personals ads (yeah, I am on the personals sites ... I am not one of the lucky ones who have managed to find a significant other). Anyway, it's usually the guys who are in their 20s who tell me that, and then insist that age is only a number. NO! It's not .. there's a whole lot of life living in my number.

  17. it's funny because i was just thinking about these qualified compliments...i don't like them at all because it's like a compliment and and insult all at the same time. i'm with you...you look great!!!

  18. I think when people know your age and you look great, it's a bit hard just to say "you look fabulous" However, have you noticed when people don't know your biological age, they'll give a more genuine compliment! Isn't it their problem:) Love your blog and the Arm Party challenge has been a lot of fun!!

    robyn of boluxe.wordpress.com

  19. Hey I participated in the BDIB challenge too! I came across your link and I'm loving your arm party! Pretty selection of bracelets


  20. am always being told I don't look my age....to which I say this is what I look like, this is my age....what is 50 supposed to look like??

  21. Hi there - Visiting from BDIB (I'm #154)! Glad I came across your blog -

    Those are thrifted?! Amazing finds - great submission! xx


  22. Hm. I'm going to try this for the next few days, add "for your age" to the compliments I give...just to fully appreciate the absurdity of it. I'm trying to think if anyone has ever said this to me.

  23. "...for your age." Is it like a golf handicap? :) I think looking good at 50 (for example) is still something that surprises us, and that may be what's reflected in the comment. My sister pointed out just today that pictures of our grandma when we were born (she was 44yo and times were hard) show her looking much older than our own 68yo mother looks today. Another thought: someone who looks good at 50 looks different than someone who looks good at 35 who looks different than someone who looks good (or too grown-up!) at 16, and this is the way it should be. There shouldn't be a universal way to look good, and I think its OK to notice and acknowledge age. I may be in the minority.

  24. I am loving your arm Party! I also am a blogger over 45 and I participated in this challenge! I am #16. I had fun looking at your blog and I stumbled and +1 your arm party!

    Hey Girlfriend! How about joining me for the Fall Fashionista Giveaway event (Oct. 14-19)? It's ALL Fashion and ONLY Fashion. I have 70+ bloggers on board already and we have a huge Triberr group! WIll you join me?


  25. A comment like that from a hairstylist was the reason I changed salons. I was in my late 20s and getting purple highlights and the stylist (in her very early 20s) said she thought it was awesome that I was getting bright colors at my age. Really? I quit dying my hair at all after that visit which has actually been a good thing but I never forgot what a lousy compliment that was.

  26. " "Thank you, I'm 29." -- ha ha! best answer evah.

  27. Your bracelets are very effective!

    xx GraceDream-Boating

  28. "You Look Good For Your Age!"
    How have you felt about it? 

    Hmmm, it's alright for me, cause many of of my students and friends still considered me as 20 while in fact I'm already 24. Maybe because of my height.haha. btw, love  your collection of bracelets, eh.

    Cathy@The New Logo of Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins for 2011-12 Season

  29. i had to look this up, someone recently said this to me and i was like to myself do they think that was a compliment?

  30. I'm turning 54 in a couple of days and although I've heard that often -- this past weekend, I'm pretty sure I lost a friend because I really went off when he said it.
    "... not many 50 somethings can pull that off .. nice work." Wth! I'm sorry. Still left with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't find it complimentary at all. I know it's my own issue, but really.... leave the last three words off. For your age. Still reeling.

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