This weekend, in Santa Cruz, a guy on the street waved and said “hi.”  When I waved back and smiled, he said, “You have a very nice smile.”  I mumbled thanks, and kept walking.  Later I walked by again, and noticed he was panhandling with the line, “Got forty-thousand for yacht repairs?”  The next day, a different and much more distinctly homeless man smiled and winked at me.I kept walking.That’s what I always do, or try to do – keep walking.

I started thinking about all the times that my chaos-attraction has led random men to make unsolicited comments. Here are all that I can remember right now:

  • “May I please kiss your feet?” He asked politely, so I politely declined and kept walking, that time to my final job interview.
  • “Where have you been, and will you marry me?”  He was lying on the street.
  • “Ay.Buenas tetas.”He was ancient, possibly walking with a cane.
  • “I like my women like you…all big & healthy, mmmm….and all that backyard.”
  • “Ooh, just look at that shake, that’s how I like it.”

But my favorite of all time was not leery or disgusting at all.The man wasn’t degrading me or trying to bolster himself.You know how there are people in your neighborhood who you recognize but don’t actually know?(Cue Mr. Rogers theme song.)There was a man like that when I lived in Madrid.He was on his way to work every day while I was on my way to school.He was at least twice my age, a businessman, a respectable señor.We probably nodded “Buenos días” to each other, but that was the extent of our acquaintance.Then one morning as I made my way to the Metro, he turned to me and said, “You look very nice today.”It was a simple compliment, for no reason.Still, to this day, some twenty years later, it makes me smile.That’s the power of a compliment.

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