You might have noticed that I’ve been a little quieter than usual recently and that’s because I’ve started a new contract working for (shut up, shut up, I know) the Mail Online as a moderator, keeping the comments of the website’s rather opinionated users in check, wielding my brand new Libel Shield ™.
As you might well imagine the first few days of April have been quite busy for the Mail’s community chaps as thousands of stunned (and probably horrifically ugly) Internet users have had their say about a certain Ms Samantha Brick. A reasonable proportion of people are supportive of Samantha, agreeing that the extraordinary number of negative responses to the article prove her theory that she is treated differently because of her (self-proclaimed) beauty. Others are vicious and cruel, which says more perhaps about the authors than about the freelance Mail writer herself. But the vast majority follow the same line: Samantha Brick is a deluded narcissist with distinctly average looks.
I did wonder if the whole Samantha Brick thing was a publicity stunt for one of the new Snow White movies released this month…
Yet as repulsive – and amusing – as most of us seem to find Brick’s vanity you’ve got to wonder if, in some ways, she has the right idea. Don’t misunderstand me, I abhor the idea of using one’s looks to get ahead and that Brick apparently blames every knock back she’s suffered on the jealousy of other women is nothing short of insane, but wouldn’t just a little splash of vanity do us all some good?
Most of us are raised being told, on the one hand, that we’re beautiful and smart and funny but on the other to be modest, to stop showing off and that the whole world doesn’t revolve around us. As we get older we learn to brush off compliments and begin endlessly criticising ourselves. Well, at least most of us do. Funnily enough I find it just as annoying to listen to a friend constantly put herself down as I do to hear another ‘do a Brick’ (is that in the dictionary yet?) and yon on and on about her fabulousness.
Actually, it’s a really sad state of affairs that we’re so down on our abilities that we talk ourselves out of applying for a job that, in fact, we *could* absolutely do or shun a party just because our skin is a bit ropey or we’re having a fat day. A while ago somebody wise told me that they thought it was quite rude to disagree with a compliment and that on receiving praise one should graciously thank the giver rather than throw it back in their faces.
Think about it. A friend, colleague or potential lustee tells you your hair looks fabulous today. Even if you spent ages on it and think it looks, like, totes amazeballs, you reply with ‘ugh really? I hate it!’. It’s a bit like opening a Christmas gift, giving it a disparaging glance then chucking it over your shoulder.
The wise compliment advisor told me that even if I disagree I should simply reply with a ‘thank you’. I’ve tried to do it since and you should too. It’s what classy folk do. While ‘doing a Brick’ (how about now OED?) might not be quite the thing we could all perhaps do with just a touch of narcissism, a glance in the pool rather than a full tumble in mind, because being a nation of moaning rusty hens with limited self-esteem surely can’t be helping with our climbing mental illness figures or, for that matter our free-champers-on-planes figures.