Yesterday, as I applied the finishing touches to my makeup, the Significant Other walked in the room and the following conversation ensued:
Significant Other: Wow! You look cute.
Me: Are you talking to Roxy or me?
Significant Other: This time, to you.
Me: Cute is not what I was going for.
Significant Other: Okay. Ah…you look hot?
Me: Are you asking me or telling me?
Significant Other: Which do you want it to be? But hey, you realize we’re only going to my parents’ house, right?
Me: Yep. But considering we only visit twice a year, I want to look nice.
Significant Other: Nice? In this get up, we’ll be lucky if you don’t give my dad a heart attack.
Me: Hey, anything to help the old man get some life back in his body.
Significant Other: Okay, but I’m calling my mom to make sure she has those paddle things. You know, like on tv?
Me: Oh, stop it. It’s not like he’s going to flatline.
Significant Other: He will if he has a heart attack.
Me: Oh, come on!
Significant Other: No, really. You’re wearing a short skirt, black tights, and boots. The last time my mom wore something remotely similar was 1950. The old man’s ticker may not be able to handle it.
Me: Then maybe your mom should dress like this now.
Significant Other: Uh, no. Lets go before the thought of that gives me a heart attack.
This conversation served to put a smile on my face.
Cause even those of us who resent being objectified by men, now and then find it feels good to hear a man tell us we look hot.
However, the Significant Other’s question mark at the end of “You look hot?” kind of ruined it.
His compliment was halfway between daring and safe.
It was his way of wondering, “Does she want to hear me say she looks hot, or will I have to hear a half hour discourse on why it’s wrong for men to focus on physicality, objectify women, and show shallow behavior?”
Knowing he has to tread carefully before issuing a compliment makes me realize he’s editing what he says.
And that more than likely, he’s doing it because he doesn’t want to bring my “Gloria Steinem” persona out of the box.
His reaction also confirms he’s not a Latin man.
Living in the Caribbean for many years, forced me to accept that most Hispanic men express their sentiments about a woman’s looks publicly, loudly, and without apology.
I learned to expect a “Mami, que rica estas!” (Baby, you’re hot!) whenever I left the house.
It wasn’t an isolated event, it was a way of life.
However, I no longer live in the Caribbean and now find myself living with a European who’s trepadatious about saying I look hot.
I guess a part of me should be happy; happy that he realizes it’s wrong to focus solely on a woman’s looks.
Happy that he’s cautious as to not offend me; that he tests the waters before jumping in.
Yet part of me is sad.
Sad that I don’t hear, “Hey, sexy mamma, you wanna go out with me?” or “Estas bien buena!” (another Spanish way of saying, “You’re hot!”)
Ironic, isn’t it?
(It’s no wonder men don’t understand us)
Nevertheless, I’ve rationalized my reaction by concluding that the Latina in me must be feeling nostalgia over days gone by; over days when hearing, “You’re hot” was music to my ears.
Remember those days, ladies?
Perhaps this is why some of us find Latin men so irresistible
Perhaps this is why I’m cuckoo for Javier Bardem.
I’m certain that no matter what, a Latin man like him would not have added a question mark to the phrase, “You look hot.”
I think of the possibility, and suddenly, I hear music again.
What say you, ladies?