Uh, Thanks?

One day after school, I was bopping through the aisles of Wal-mart with way too much in my basket, y’know, grocery shopping, when a young lady came up to me and said, “I’m not a lesbian, but you are a really beautiful woman.” Okay, one, this caught me completely off guard as I was kinda sorta bummy but pulled together. Two, I said, “thanks?” Three, why the disclaimer?

On another occasion, last week, a facebook friend’s status was : I feel beautiful. (or something similar)

Another friend (female, of course) commented: you are beautiful #nohomo

Is it necessary for you to be “homo” in order to give another woman praise for her outer beauty?  Like, seriously, can I call a woman pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, super hot, and not be a lesbian?

Not sure if this thought is germane to the minority (read: black) community but we, as a people, often have a hard time praising one another.

In a recent article on Essence.com, Jamilah Lemieux sounded off on why sisters need to start giving props where they are due. Lemieux, (a.k.a. Sister Toldja) one of my fave femme bloggers, and creator of  The Beautiful Struggler, wants the phrase “she think she cute” to be buried right along with the other negative stereotypes we create and perpetuate in our community.  I agree. 

It’s so much easier for us to stop tearing one another down.

That being said, there’s nothing “homo” about telling a sister she looks nice. I’ve always done it and it seems to brighten a person’s day.

Now, I’m the first to tell you I don’t get dressed for the compliments. I’m secure in my quirky, thrifty, all-my-own style. If a sister gives me a nod of agreement or even a look of  “What was she thinking?” it doesn’t swayme in any certain direction. I get dressed for me and I’m comfortable in my “get up”.

Somewhere being Sepia


Is it that some women don’t feel comfortable enough in their own skin? I mean, if you feel great about you and just happen to find something intriguing or fashion forward about the next woman’s appearance, does it hurt to tell her?

We have been so accustomed to “one-upping” one another that compliments seem to be a thing of the past. Let’s be ladies and shower one another with love and adoration. If you see a sister who’s “doin’ it” let her know.

No disclaimer is needed to pay a compliment. It’s free. You never know, you might just gain a friend.



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4 thoughts on “Uh, Thanks?

  1. MissFathiyyah says:

    I totally agree with u, although sometimes I do fall into that stereotypical person who may admire a person’s style, but may never verbally express it. It’s not necessarily because I’m ‘hating’ but sometimes, I feel like its okay to admire from afar. But I don’t ever feel as though I’m coming from a negative place with it. But I think we would be so much better as ppl if we would reach out more to others, admire others more, love each other more. Good read Sepia 🙂

  2. Sunnie says:

    I gave a girl a compliment on facebook and told her she had a nice body and abs. I had to say no homo bc I don’t personally know her and we have never chatted. I didn’t want her to think I was hitting on her and she asked why the disclaimer. I told her some ppl get offended so I was giving a compliment that was due. Other than that, I have never said no homo when giving a compliment.

  3. Ms.Lady T says:

    I think the issues with sistas complimenting one another are myriad. As just a scratch of the surface, I think it is safe to say we are not comfortable with ourselves (case in point, the “good” hair conversations that run rampant in our everyday commentaries. Ugh!). It is sad and unfortunate but in our homes and communities, we generally lack positive reinforcements or examples of people being vulnerable but secure enough to share their hearts and feelings; we are taught (yes, taught) and opt instead to accentuate the negative (more often than not). While this is very much generalized of the black community and not “one-size-fits-all”, if I were a betting person, I might bet it is a “one-size-fits-most” – especially concerning our young ladies. Well…now that I think of it, it covers the young men too. When was the last time you saw a young black mother praising and encouraging her black son (I mean outside of the football field or basketball court?). Think about it.

    The most insulting issue of all is that on the whole, the society in which we live is so OVERLY sexualized that every gesture or word is considered a means to the bedroom. Additionally, as a race of people who have overtly been anti-gay for eons (seemingly), it feels as though we have to qualify whether we are “into” you or just being kind. Unfortunately the quintessence of being kind has been subverted and is now just a means to the bedroom. Really. I mean think about it, when someone genuinely compliments your appearance, your body, your style, don’t you somewhere in the back of your mind wonder, “Hmm”?

    Personally I don’t. I couldn’t care less about such things. I know who I am, I know what I’m founded upon, and I stand firmly on it – male or female from whence the comments flow requires no disclaimer.

    As a beautiful and shapely race of women we need to step it up! Be willing to encourage one another. Let us love each other in such a way that genuine is always what we are. It is what the Lord has called us to be. Because of our, how shall I say, assets (read: figures), sometimes in our growing years we don’t get the kind of attention our hearts desire and so we succumb to the negative, sex crazed attention society gives us. We accept that as the norm. But we must not allow this to be our standard! If so, our whole lives will be spent waiting on mom, dad, friend, men (most times just boys) to validate us. We will NEVER have the capacity to validate, compliment, admire, encourage, uplift, or inspire another being – especially another sista. Stop the madness!

    We don’t need to walk around with T-shirts that say, “I’m comfortable with myself, so if I compliment you don’t worry, I’m not gay!” We just need to walk with confidence, walk boldly with the Lord, live the inspiring lives He has purposed us to live, and the rest will be well. No disclaimer required.


  4. littlecurio says:

    Great post Sepia! I think there is such a thing as ‘over-complimenting’ which is really flattery! I have never had a problem with complimenting another female on the way she looks (and meaning it!), however, I do believe that some women use complimenting another woman as a way to mask their own lack of self-esteem (perhaps wanting a compliment herself initially), or even just to get closer to the other woman for superficial reasons. Do you know what I mean?
    I think it’s great to celebrate someone else, you just have to mean it, and not go over the top! Some people don’t like to feel they are being worshipped!

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