Gurl, I loovvve that dress! I didn’t, don’t know her. Her outfit was a flowing, floral maxi dress, the perfect pair of corked wedges, her hair was pinned up and her skin was glowing. I was at the gas station on Jefferson Avenue, downtown. We were both pumping our own gas. She was stunning, I could not help but to pay her a compliment.
Instead of responding with just a flicker of gratitude; a simple thank you or a smile. She twisted up her nose and lifted her eyebrow to the heavens, slammed her car door and drove off.
What was that about? I thought to myself. Maybe she thought I was a lesbian and being flirtatious. I don’t get it. The truth is I’m a heterosexual woman and I am comfortable with my sexuality; feminine enough to give another woman a compliment.
What is this newer, old dynamic with women, where we can’t gracefully accept compliments or give one another respect? My perception is not to declare that all women cannot or have not developed loving relationships with other women but rather to acknowledge that there is a growing lack of reverence amongst us. So, who is the culprit or what is the reason for the animosity and/or feeling of being attacked?
By no means should you cue the kumbaya music. We are not all meant to be best friends or even associates but certainly we can manage being cordial. There will definitely be moments within our lives respectively when two energies do not match. Most recently, Jada Pinkett-Smith made a post discussing that sometimes walking way is the best type of friendship you can give a person.
Why did I feel I offended her with my compliment? I didn’t say anything belligerent like sweetheart or honey. I genuinely liked her dress. I wasn’t sizing her up or judging her. Why wouldn’t I go out of my way to bestow such pleasantries on her?
Have our own personal insecurities caused us to be each other’s innate arch-nemesis without proper cause? Have our respective childhoods or society made us uncomfortable with being comfortable in our own skins?
I often look to old adages to gain some sort of clarity on the present as well foresight for the future. The African proverb “women hold up half of the sky” comes to mind. The incident makes me think about learned behaviors and vicious cycles. A girl not only learns from her guardians biologically but also from other women and girls alike. What are we doing with one another to make sure the models and examples we are presenting are altering future relationships between women for the better?
I definitely could speak on the reality TV adlibs and scripted nonsense, but we already know how damaging those shows are and can be. We already know that image is everything, but I am more concerned with what we are doing and can do in the real world.
Could it be that we should be the best friends in the history of being friends. Truly, deeply and hard as hell, love the women that are in our circles. If we stopped and analyzed our friends, we would fine that there is the nurturing spirit of Oprah, the solution seeking nature of Iyanla Vanzant, the hold you down-lift you up courage of Tyra Banks. If we hone our skills of femininity, that raw, unadulterated strength—watch the world change.