Grumpy is freelance writer Lee Bemrose (email@example.com). He likes being in his bubble.
I quite admire those people who always manage to say the right thing at the right time. Small, random compliments can really work some magic. I see peoples faces light up as a friend tells another friend how well they are looking, or how they like a piece of jewellery or they way they are wearing their hair today. I'm no stranger to these little compliments due primarily to the fact that I have some kick-arse clothes. I love my clothes, and I have an uncanny, sub-conscious knack for buying clothes that coordinate perfectly with all my other clothes and accessories. The Dreaded One finds this hilarious. It's like I can't buy stuff that clashes. If I had been born in the rugged wild west, it's a dead certainty that I'd be a dandy. If I was a superhero, I'd be Captain Coordinated. I'd look fabulous. All I'd have to do is walk into the room and the baddies would drop dead with envy because I'm just so impeccably dressed. I've been asked if I'm gay on many an occasion, simply because I'm such a stylish mofo. Given that I am rampantly heterosexual, do I take offence at this? On the contrary, I take it as a compliment. Water of a duck's back. The Dreaded One also finds the are you gay thing hilarious because, well, she knows how absurd the idea is. Queer eye for the straight guy? Pu-lease.
Erm... so anyway. Thing is with dressing well enough to get these compliments, you have to go for a look that isn't like everyone else. Sure, you can look stylish and like everyone else, but Grumpy's Secret To True Sartorial Excellence is to be individual. Avoid brand names. Avoid all the designers labels. Designer labels are for chumps. Don't shop at chain-stores. Look for the unusual. Looking sensationally stylish is like being funny; whatever you do, don't go for the obvious. And always remember...
Sorry. Getting a bit carried away again. What the hell was I getting at? Oh yeah... so I've got some pretty cool clothes and I sometimes get complimented on them. And it's nice. I have an AD 2013 jacket (this is a label worth checking out because no one in Australia knows about it and they make drop-dead cool stuff) that routinely has me stopped in the street with strangers saying “Oh my God that jacket is awesome!” And I shrug and say, “I know!” And then they usually ask if I'm gay.
Thing is, I admire people who compliment other people. It shows that they are being aware and it's just a bloody nice thing to do. It just doesn't seem to be in my natural make up to think to compliment other people. It's the bubble thing; I'm usually in a bubble, thinking about, I don't know – being a dandy in the wild west or something.
So I decided to make an effort and start complimenting people. As well as being a well-dressed mofo I was going to start being a really nice mofo.
At a trendy bar where everyone (except The Dreaded One and myself) looked fashionably identical, I was introduced to one of The Dreaded One's friend, and I really, genuinely admired her look. It indicated true confidence and true individualism. I was about to pay my first unprompted compliment.
“You know – it's really refreshing to meet someone who clearly doesn't care about their appearance.”
It was as though the world stopped.
“What do you mean?” The Dreaded One's friend asked.
The Dreaded One was looking at me with a familiar expression; don't say anything else, she was telling me with her eyebrows.
“I just mean,” I explained, “take your hair for instance. It's just so... bleh, and you're cool with that. I really admire... why has absolutely everyone in the bar stopped talking?”
I retreated back into my bubble. It's much safer in there.