Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh please, sweetie. I KNOW that tone.

You know how some babies (or really a lot of babies) are ugly? Especially newborns. I mean, I usually see beauty in them, because it's a new life! it's an amazing miracle! they are so teeny! But let's face it - a lot of babies aren't attractive (mine will be in this category, never fear) (the not attractive category, that is). Often they inherit features they will grow into (noses, eyes and ears are a good example), and it's not permanent. But sometimes you see babies and are forced to comment to a beaming mother and you privately think 'Dear God, please don't let my ugly kid have a nose like that!' But you don't say it, obviously, because it's rude and they probably won't be ugly forever (but you will always be shallow and judgmental!), so you say something effusive like 'Oh my! Look at all that hair!' or 'Oh, I could just squeeze those little cheeks!' or 'Her eyes are just killing me, so lovely!' (and you're covered, because you also say those things when a kid is cute but has killer eyes or a curly mop of hair or adorable, kissable cheeks).


Well in the elevator today, a woman got on and said to me, "Oh my! Your shirt is SO . . . yellow! Like . . . like a goldeny yellow flower!"

And yes, yes it is. It's a long sleeve v-neck tunic length t-shirt and the color is marigold. It's from Old Navy. It is indeed very bright. I bought it because it was bright. It makes me feel happier in stressful times or on bleak gray days. Oddly neither are applicable to today - I just wanted to wear it and it was clean, so I did.

I joked at work that it is my busy bee look, as I wear it with black, flowy wide leg pants. I'm aware of the look and how it's maybe not the most flattering ever and I don't give a shit. The woman looked at me with a big, fakey smile on her face that didn't cover the bewildered expression in her eys.

I'm not actually sure why she wanted to talk to me at all, since we don't work together. However, she did and that was what she said. "Your shirt is SO . . . yellow." But it was so clearly said with a tone of 'He's just so . . .tiny!' that I recognized it for what it was. I mean, how can you not? It's a falsely bright voice rushing out the first part, followed by a pause, and then a triumphant vague yet appropriate adjective. The inclination in pitch and the self-satisfied mixture of triumph and relief are a dead give away.

So here is to you, Yellow Shirt Lady and your valiant attempt at a compliment. You made my day, and I mean that, because I'm still chuckling about it.

BTW - if I've ever said that your kid had a lot of hair or tiny toes or perfect rosebud lips or eyes that killed me - I totally meant that. I wasn't trying to avoid saying your kid was ugly. Cross my heart.

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