Condescending compliments

He was a distant friend’s husband. Suave, well-groomed and charming at first sight. He was courteous enough to get me a drink but not condescending to assume what it would be.

After the perfunctory exchange of small talk, we got around to talking of the meatier things. Books, movies, passions, hobbies, etc., which led us to the topic of his work. I asked him if he enjoyed what he was doing. He seemed quite content. “It brings in the money and maybe that is reason enough to enjoy it,” he said.

He asked me how I kept myself “busy”. His words. I said I wrote/edited web content and that the writing bit kept me sane. His face broke into a big smile. “I’m so glad that you found your niche. Few women can do that. I’m impressed with the stuff that you’re doing because most women don’t.” I had related to him nothing extraordinary, just what my work life entailed but he sounded immensely impressed. And all of a sudden that charm had turned into condescension.

Well mister, most women don’t because men like you also want/tolerate trophy wives at home while complimenting other women.

While I loved what he said and it gave me quite a high, it wasn’t the best thing to hear.



  1. P

    For someone who “likes” his work because it brings the money in, it might actually be a big deal that you’re doing what (he thinks) you like.

    For you, your life’s routine work may be … well… routine – but at least it is the routine you like… I think you’re being too hard on the guy.

    But hey, you talked to him – And maybe it is the stuff that isn’t written down that made all the difference.

    • crimsonshadows

      You probably have a point, P. But it’s not about routine work. Note the use of the word “busy.” He was just being polite. He didn’t actually seek an answer for that question. When he did get one, it sounded contrived and forced, which is why the superfluousness.

      The entire conversation just left me with a very sour feeling.

  2. shamik

    I am so confused! I dont see how his words made you feel bad.. ofcourse.. this is only from what I read.. The tone is not conveyed here..But still.. just seems like.. him being happy that you’ve found ur niche is a bad thing… and I dont get that at all

  3. poohi

    i get such comments all the time n i hate it.. Most common being.. Oh u r the only ‘techie’ girl i have ever met.. Tho it is true that most ppl in my dep. are men :/ but i dont like the implication

  4. Sohini

    The son of my father’s childhood friend told me, “You make me change my opinion that ALL girls are dumb,” when he met me the first time and had a conversation of about 30-40 minutes.
    That was probably the worst “compliment’ (as he called it) I’ve ever received!

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