Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let's Play a Game: Compliment or Insult?

I noticed a middle aged woman watching my kickboxing class as I finished up last night. She was stretching at the barre before Zumba started. That plus her slim, tall physique implied that she was a ballet dancer.

(Only ballet dancers make a big show of stretching at a barre whenever there is one nearby. I swear they would do this if we put ballet barres in line at the supermarket. Trust me: I'm a ballet dancer.)(Case en Pointe: Ballet dancers stretching in Central Park)

Ballet Dancer asked me what I taught and I told her Cardio Kickboxing. She asked me to explain it so I said it involved combinations of punches and kicks but no sparring (people are always freaked out by the thought that they might have to hit each other). Here's how the rest of the conversation went down:

BALLET DANCER: So do you lift weights in class?

ME: No, but we do push ups and use our body weight for many exercises, and that plus the punches and kicks do strengthen your muscles.

BALLET DANCER: I can tell--you look very muscular.

ME:. . . thaaaanks.

Dear Ballet Dancer, may I suggest the word "toned" in the future? I don't think many women like to be described as muscular especially by a woman who looks like she's never had to shop for a size above a 2, not never ever ever in her long legged life.

To be fair, I think she really did mean it in a complimentary way. But even so....

Compliment or Insult?


  1. Compliment! She's delicately envious. After all, her body type has not equipped her to survive the zombie apocalypse, and she has always wished she could lift her own boxes of books. But no.

    Also, can I just say, neither my Viking nor Italian ancestors had any truck with flimsy women. If you couldn't hoe your potatoes or dig your well, you weren't contributing to your community.


  2. Haha very good points. I tried to write something witty in reply and failed. Instead, just imagine me clapping my hands and chortling and occasionally saying, "Very good! Oh, very good, indeed!"