Parting Glances: Praising tango knees

By |2018-01-15T18:46:53-05:00May 5th, 2005|Uncategorized|

I’ve a friend, Wardell, who shamelessly flatters new acquaintances in oddball ways. “You’ve got exciting toes,” he’ll tell a guy wearing sandals. “Your earlobes indicate you’re well endowed,” he’ll remark to a party guest. “I’d kill for those elbows,” he’ll chat up a gym buff.
Recipients of these left-field compliments don’t know whether to laugh, say thanks politely, or fall off the bar stool. Mostly they just wonder: Is there something wrong with my hearing aid or this guy’s bifocals?
Exciting toes? Endowment earlobes? Sexy elbows?
But Wardell just blathers on. “I don’t suppose you get many compliments like mine; but it’s true: your elbows are sexy. Is it your genes, or do you work at it? My name’s Wardell, by the way. [very dramatic pause] Can I buy you a drink?”
“Why do you say goofy things like that?” I ask Wardell (after spending minutes in front of my full-length mirror, trying to figure out if I really do have Argentinean tango knees). “Aren’t you afraid people will think you’re a nut case?”
“Sure, but there are plenty who find my come-ons fun, and occasionally I score big time. Besides, who secretly doesn’t mind hearing they’ve got eyebrows like a NASA rocket scientist or the rebel wrists of a hard rock guitarist?
“Doesn’t everyone like to feel special in special ways? Anybody can be handsome. Anyone can be beautiful. (Anybody can be a bottom.) But how many can own up to having charismatic urban nostrils? Affluent suburban upper lips? Sisyphean-induced triceps? Alpine-echoing abs? a continentally butch basket?”
“Yes, but Wardell; come on now. What you’re saying makes little syntactical or physiological sense. What in heck are ‘Sisyphean-induced triceps’ and ‘a continentally butch basket’?”
“What’s that got to do with it? (Just because you obviously haven’t got either.) The important thing’s that it sounds like something manly. It sounds sexy. You want to believe you’re one in a million who has it. You begin to wonder how you can use it, make out with it, show it off in public. And, if you get further details from somebody who knows all about it — namely me (after all, I pointed it out in the first place) well, what’s wrong with that?
“The trick’s adding to your compliment by linking it to an important person or persons — like: Did you know it’s a political given that recent American presidents have larger continentally butch baskets than their Euro Dollar counterparts. [very pregnant pause] How about buying me a drink, Big Guy?'”
I wish I’d nerve enough to use Wardell’s technique of offense kissy footing (as opposed to my defense back scratching), but I’d feel real stupid going up to a stranger and saying — while cleverly exposing my Argentinean tango knees — “Hey, dude, that’s really a masterful stretch mark you’ve got on your left cheek!”
I’m just too old to face the music and dance (cheek to cheek, or otherwise).
But, I do find Wardell’s ploy works miracles with 30-watt Fundies, pinhead theocrats, and right-wing poop deckers, who — because they truly believe they’re the only ones who’ll win God’s Heavenly Bingo Game — like being told they’re very, very special in no uncertain, “isn’t that special,” Church Lady ways . . . So, Brother Joe Psalmsinger . . . .
“Has anyone told you your Garden of Eden coccyx is divinely prehensile and your cherubic nose is shined to utter holy perfection? And, good gracious, those marvelously hairy grapes-of-wrath toes . . .

About the Author:

Charles Alexander