Jim Behrle Wants to Know

1. I got a new pair of glasses the other day. And people really seem to like these glasses. These glasses are perhaps magic handsome-making glasses. At what point in the complimenting me on my glasses are people flirting with me, if at all? Like after a minute or two? At what point does complimenting become flirting? Like “keep those glasses on and I will love you forever?” Some people maybe just really like glasses. And these glasses perhaps just cover up my other glaring anomalies.

Lol, foureyes. No, but I was thinking about this recently. And you know, honestly, Jim, you do look great in your new glasses, but it’s not like they transform you, and you’re handsome to begin with. But the thing I was thinking about — and this is getting off track already, and isn’t in regard to your glasses! — is that when someone compliments someone else on something, probably a large part of the time they’re just saying they noticed it. “Nice haircut!” also essentially means “I notice your haircut,” and so who knows what they actually think. But who cares. (Haha, I do, a lot!) I changed a small thing about my appearance this year, and at first when people commented on it, I was like, word, but now I’m like, is it just that they’re noticing because it’s a little weird, and they want to say something? “I love your ___” is such a cheap way of getting that insult off your chest. “I love how crappy and horrifying your furniture is, that’s amazing.”

So, I guess sometimes people say they like things because they just noticed them, not because they like them. And for what it’s worth, I think you look better without your glasses. Well, you look good both ways, but a dude once told me that about mine, and now I never wear them in public anymore, so I’m passing this curse onto you. ~ And now my soul is free and I turned into a prince. Sometimes people don’t really know or understand their own boundaries between compliment and flirtation.

But to try to answer your question — I think what differentiates flirting from complimenting is when you get the impression that the person’s also trying to tell you something else. Which maybe isn’t helpful, but do you know what I mean? “I like your jacket” vs. “I like your jacket,” when one seems normal because you’ve got a nice new jacket on or something, and the other seems a little off (but this is just my regular old jacket?) and maybe is accompanied by more or particularly lively eye contact, or otherwise comes out weirdly, or unexpectedly charged, or poorly timed, or at an inappropriate volume (“I liKE your JAcket”). Something that feels two-dimensional vs. something that feels three-dimensional, maybe. Although I’m not sure this is making any sense or headway.

2. What is the cure for the silent treatment? Someone is giving it to me and I find it so terrible and harrowing and then I start giving them the silent treatment, and then it’s East Berlin v. West Berlin, you’re digging in, you’re building walls, razor wire. I’m not even mad anymore. At first I was just mad that I was getting the silent treatment. Now I’m just giving the silent treatment because that’s what I’m getting. And I’m usually a person who will just apologize. Even if I don’t think I did anything wrong. I’m sorry, let’s get over this. But when someone is giving you the silent treatment it just feels like you’re flying right at the Death Star. And I can’t help but want to avoid it. I should just find a new job, right? Something in a coal mine.

Can you talk to them about it straightforwardly? Maybe that sounds too simple, but if it’s at all appropriate: “Hey this silent treatment is ridiculous, I would love to talk with you about it. Life is short, yolo.” Are people still making YOLO jokes? Wait, is this silent treatment coming from someone at your job, is that what you mean? What the? You can’t do that at work.

I don’t know. I haven’t gotten the silent treatment from anyone in a long time, although someone called me “awful” in a text message the other day, and I think it was warranted, but I’m not sure, and in any case it was good to know what someone was feeling. Screw silent treatment. But why are they giving it to you, what did you do? That’s important, possibly.

3. I found out that my mother, my librarian mother, apple of my eye, voted for Ronald Reagan twice. This is a shocking discovery. She’s not voting the same way as me this year. She voted for Nader in 2000. She’s just all over the place. Am I going to have to hear about how great Chris Christie is for the next four years? Is this going to be my life now? Can we actually love Republicans, and not just in the “it’s fun for sex” way?

To answer your last question, yes! I certainly do/did. And your mom sounds interesting. Maybe she’s more thoughtful than most, and it’s just that her thought process isn’t what yours is.

SOLVED. Okay, next.

4. What is up with Hairpin commentators being so flirty in comment fields? I waited in the pumpkin patch for you all! And I was the only one in the pumpkin patch. Except for a giant spider. I started dating the spider. I might just marry the spider.

Omg bitches! Lonely, fickle bitches. But we’re all probably waiting around in our own empty pumpkin patches, too, maybe. Whatever that means.

No, we are all cowardly sluts; you have to fill out a one-question questionnaire when registering to comment on this site. “Are you a cowardly slut.” Perhaps I should have mentioned that. Anyway, meet you in the pumpkin patch. I hear it’s a costume party pumpkin patch???

Jim Behrle tweets @behrle.