My best attribute as a rugby athlete was that I was slippery. Evasive. Hard to bring down. One season, I was awarded the title of Teflon Woman.* Also, I once rolled David right off the bed onto the floor when he was trying to play-wrestle me. We still laugh about it. (Or I do, anyway — it was an accident, but I will forever cherish the expression of utter surprise on his face as he sailed over the edge.)
I maintain my slickness was because I had a good working understanding of momentum. In many sports (football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to name a few) the very best way to evade your opponent is to use their own momentum against them in some way.
Very little in life is more satisfying than to successfully redirect someone who is trying to come at you. To usher them along to where you’d like them to go.
Such is my strategy for handling questionable “compliments.” I straight-up, straight-faced treat them as if they are the highest praise.
First of all, they may very well be just that, and giving someone the benefit of the doubt just good practice. Secondly, don’t underestimate your personal power in guiding the conversation.
I can’t recommend this strategy highly enough. It either shuts them up or, in a hearteningly large percentage of the time, it leads to conversation and, perhaps, even, a perspective shift. (There are, of course, the ones who refuse to be deterred and must be dealt with in ways outside the scope of this post.)
One last thing to say before you watch the video and decide if this is something you’d like to try, something you already do, or something that isn’t for you. And actually, no one says it better than my friend Erin Brown, so I’ll just take the opportunity to say “yep, what she said” here: “The ways we describe even our own bodies can be a sensitive subject. I’m not interested comparing our bodies to one another, but in challenging the notion that there is any one way we should aspire to look, be, or feel. Whatever that means to you, I fully support your right to show up in your body and not apologize for it.” (And I won’t, either.)
*I still have the certificate. Also, I hate Teflon. Team Cast Iron all the way.