Men can be remarkably thin-skinned. Sometimes even a compliment will send us reeling. We think things through too much (which might not ring true with what you think of guys, but stay with me here). Even the nicest thing can be misconstrued as an attack on our manhood and genitalia, which are inextricably linked, and we’ll retire to hours of crying on the couch while drinking and watching football, thinking about the horrible, horrible things that you’ve said.
Well, maybe not to that extreme. I can promise you that we will drink and watch football though. Here’s a look at some common compliments that guys will often take as insults.
1. “You’re not like my old boyfriend.”
It doesn’t matter if your last boyfriend was Jeffrey Dahmer, guys just hear this compliment as “I was interested in this other guy, but now you’re here.” The more specific you get with the compliment, the more our little self-conscious minds will read into it. Especially avoid any sexual comparisons—even if you say something nice, we’ll wonder why the hell you brought it up in the first place. Never compare our penises (out loud, anyways). If you haven’t figured it out by now, men are idiots and jackasses about their penises.
2. “You’re so sensitive.”
Guys don’t want to be thought of as sensitive, especially, ironically, the sensitive guys. We want to be tough badasses. We want to be Patrick Swayze in “Road House,” not Patrick Swayze in “Ghost.” If you call us sensitive, we’re just going to cry about it. Try tempering the compliment with this instead: “Oh, you’re really sensitive underneath that rugged exterior and those strong arms that could probably disembowel a man in about two seconds if given the chance! I’m really sexually attracted to your penis.”
3. “You’re very thin.”
This seems backhanded to guys. We don’t want to be thin; we want to be big, rippling, bulging sacks of muscle and grit, regardless of how unappealing that might seem. We don’t want to be a stick. Even if you’re just trying to tell us that we look pretty good with our shirts off, it’s better to say that we’re “fit.” That way, we can look in the mirror after you leave the room and try to look at our scrawny biceps and think about how we could conceivably make a play for the UFC featherweight title.