Note: The post is full of generalizations.
Although I’m a Myers-Briggs Introvert, I find it easy to talk with strangers about cursory topics. Like shoes.
I’ve noticed that women generally comment to each other about shoes, hair, jewelry, etc. For example, last week I was in a coffee shop meeting someone and three different women commented on my cute purse.
Me: Thanks. I got it on Amazon.*
Woman #2 two minutes later while I was sitting at the table waiting for my friend: Your purse is so cute. Where did you get it?
Me: Thanks so much. Amazon.*
Woman #3 in the parking lot: What a cute purse. I love the cross body.
This happens frequently. “Nice T-shirt” is a common comment I make when walking through my neighborhood. I have generally believed that guys do not do this with each other. But then I found myself in rural Canton, NC last week and this conversation ensued with a man fixing my car:
Mechanic Guy: Thanks. I got them at the Under Armour outlet in Colorado. They are so comfortable that I found an outlet near here and I bought two more pairs.
Me: So cute.
Did I just say “so cute” to tough guy male car mechanic about his shoes? Yes I did.
I wonder – as genders are more openly fluid and gender roles are less strict – if men and women are normalizing ordinary conversation in ways like this that make people connect more easily. Are you finding this?
This is not about flirtation or nervous chatter. What I’m talking about here is making connections with people beyond “hi.” When I wear this shirt, I always get comments and smiles. Or comments and grimaces. Relationships – even ephemeral ones – are crucial in any culture.
In the United States where social isolation is part of our culture, it’s nice to make connections any way we can between men and women, children and adults, rich and poor, rural and urban. And so – if I may be so bold – say something encouraging to neighbors today:
I love your shoes.
Your hair is awesome.
Your lipstick is amazing.
Again (and please hear me) this is not about flirting with people. This is about making wholesome, natural connections. This is about noticing each other. This is about seeing people as neighbors and human beings.
Have a friendly Tuesday.
Images of the cute purse and cute shoes.
*I am trying to quit Amazon. But it’s really hard.