In the past two weeks, I've heard twice that I'm pretty. I've had two very different reactions.
A week ago, I walked into my youngest's daycare classroom, and a pretty little girl about 4 exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, you're so pretty! I love your dress and your shoes, and you're just so pretty!"
I was practically floating as I left. I couldn't stop smiling, and I had to tell everyone I knew. It was such a spontaneous exclamation that I knew she genuinely meant what she said.
Today, at the same daycare, a little boy, probably 8 or 9, walked up to me and said, "Ma'am, you're pretty." I thanked him, and he responded politely. He then did an about-face, and walked away.
I looked down at my youngest in confusion. What was that all about? For a moment, I smiled a bit. And then I remembered how little boys were when I was a little girl - they can be pretty mean.
Mentally, I slumped. Was I the butt of a silly joke by a group of little boys? I suspect so.
That got me thinking (shocking, I know) about the two situations and how I reacted to them. The little girl was so enthusiastic, and I know how females (of all ages) can be sometimes. She meant it, and that meant something to me. Growing up, I was called ugly by boys so often that I believed it. I don't believe I'm ugly now, but I don't believe I'm beautiful. When any man or boy tells me I'm pretty, I'm immediately skeptical. From men, I think they just want to fuck me. From little boys, I think it's a joke.
I never realized how loaded that one simple statement could be.