Complimenting attractive women: Obama did it, so why can’t I?

Do spouses or girlfriends really get upset when their men compliment other women? Photo: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama AP Photo

SALT LAKE CITY, April 13, 2013 — Write to Ask Angela by sending an email to or through the Ask Angela Facebook page.

Dear Angela:

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I told my girlfriend that a friend of hers was very attractive, and she was annoyed with me for the rest of the night. I think after Obama’s remarks about California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, women need to see that even happily married men will compliment attractive women from time to time and not mean anything by it. Therefore upset feelings are so ungrounded. Do you agree? Jack in the Box

Dear Jack in the Box,

No, I don’t agree.

While you’re saying “I think so and so is pretty,” your girlfriend could be hearing “I think so and so is prettier than you are” or “I think you’re ugly” or “I want to break up with you.”

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Ok, so that’s a little drastic, but just in case, why even go there? Her choice to be annoyed for the rest of the evening instead of addressing it was admittedly a bit immature, but you could have spared the evening from all that drama by asking yourself, “Why am I going to tell her that her friend is pretty in the first place? Will it do anything for her? Will it do anything for her friend? Will it do anything for me? So, why am I saying (read: risking) it?”

So, yes you can say and think that another woman is attractive without it meaning anything negative about your current relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good practice. In other words, it may be harmless, but it’s definitely tacky.

And as for Obama, what works in his relationship has no basis for what works in yours.

Readers: Did his girlfriend over react? As men, do you make it a habit of telling your significant other how “gorgeous/toned/fit/youthful/attractive” other women look?  Share your thoughts with other readers by “liking” the Ask Angela Facebook Page or in the comments section.

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Angela Trusty

Angela Trusty brings her great life observations and advice Communities.  Angela also authors   ‘Ask Angela’ which also appears bi-monthly in the Deseret News. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the lucky sibling of 5 sisters and 1 brother.

She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but Baltimore will always be her home. 


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