Okay, so I've been sick, haven't gotten more than 5 hours of sleep a night for the past few weeks and hadn't done my hair that morning. But really, "awful?"
"Yeah, I've been a little sick." I replied groggily.
"But I've never seen you look this bad!"
"Well I haven't been getting much sleep..."
"I guess not! Your face... you really look terrible!"
"Yeah... and I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy so don't expect me to be looking better any time soon."
Maybe it's just the hormones talking, but I was surprised at her enthusiastic response to my haggard appearance. Wouldn't something like, "poor dear, looks like you need a nap" suffice? Or maybe, "hmm... the big black circles under your eyes really take the focus away from your enormous pregnant belly." Something with just a hint of empathy. But no. Instead I just got a repulsed diatribe about my ghastliness. I always try to look semi-professional when I go into the office every few weeks but I guess my hastily applied mascara and new woolen wrap-around didn't do the trick today.
There are times when it is appropriate to comment on another's appearance. But usually you should keep your yakity trap shut. Let's look at a few scenarios:
You're on a date with a guy at a fancy Italian restaurant. He tells a joke and you flash him that award winning smile with a big green piece of spinach wrapped around your front tooth. At this point, your date is obligated to discreetly motion to his mouth and indicate that you need to take care of your dental situation rather than arrive home hours later to find it still wedged there and never call him again. Honesty is a good thing here.
Here's another scenario. In college I was at a party and a wild limb clubbed my face. I was a bit dazed but kept dancing. A few minutes later I went into the restroom and looked in the mirror to see that my nose was a full 1/2 inch to the left of where it usually resided. The thing had been cleanly broken and happily relocated in the middle of my check. You'd think a friend at the party would have told me my face had been rearranged. Honesty here, as well, is fantastic.
Yet another scene: Skip forward 3 months to my delivery date. I'm in a hospital bed, in full labor and the baby is just about to come. The room is full of nurses and my husband is poised to cut the cord. Perhaps here it is appropriate to ask me when I'm due. But it's NOT. For all any bystanders know, I'm just a fat chick having a bad day. NEVER ask a woman when she's expecting, I don't care how big her stomach is. You may get it right 99% of the time, but it's the 1% error that you'll go to hell for.
Here's the cheat sheet for your wallet:
Do offer helpful suggestions when confronted with:
-Blood that drips or flows
-Food on face
-Shirt tucked into undies
Just keep your mouth shut about:
-Poor wardrobe choices
-Mt. Helen sized zits
-Body odor, bad breath
-Need for make-up
Unfortunately, there are grey areas. Maybe you really should say something about the 2 inch long hair growing from under your boss's left eye. And what if your loony professor really didn't mean to put his underwear on over his trousers. But just to be safe, drop an anonymous note to their spouse to rectify the situation. It's best to err on the side of caution.
Good luck. I'm off to get some beauty sleep. Apparently I need it.