I don’t know why Desis feel compelled to comment on everyone’s appearances: what they are wearing (“you wore that to so-and-so’s wedding already, didn’t you?”), their hairstyle (“your longer hair suited you better”), their make-up (“Baji! You are wearing make-up!”). The worst backhanded, underhanded “compliment” is when some aunty (it’s invariably an aunty) lets loose with her observation on your weight: a gruesome choice of “you’ve reduced!” (subtext: “you were so fat before”) or “you’ve gained weight!” (subtext: “you’ve gained weight!”). I am wholeheartedly with David Mitchell when he explains his reluctance to offer and aversions to “compliments” on appearances.
SO. TRUE. I don’t often comment on appearances in large part because I’m wholly oblivious to appearance unless it’s a special occasion where everyone is blinged out and even then it’s only after someone compliments me first and I feel obliged to return the praise. I really don’t get it when someone arrogantly comments on anyone else’s body shape. In either direction (weight gain or loss), it’s just not welcome or necessary. I had two different aunts who exclaimed, on separate occasions, that I had gained weight (one put it oh so delicately by saying “you’ve got a gut!”). To one, I explained, “Yes. I’m pregnant.” To the other, I wanted to say, “Well, now, aunty, that’s an interesting way to put it but what you should have said … was nothing.”
[minute 4 gem from birbigs]