Complimentary vs. creepy

6th graders:

me, to a boy who was leaning on a music stand: Be nice to the stand.

boy: Hi, stand. You have beautiful legs.

girl nearby: Why are you being creepy?

boy: I’m not being creepy. She said to be nice, so I’m being nice.

And so a conversation ensued about the difference between being nice and being creepy.

I used whistling at a girl as an example.

Girls immediately said it was creepy. Boys were confused.

“It’s a compliment.”

We had a conversation about safety, about understanding the position of the receiver.

It might be a compliment in certain contexts (from whom? where?), but usually, no.

Some of the boys seemed to get it. Some of them willfully refused. Some legitimately still didn’t understand. And some had tuned out.

A microcosm.

But if that was enough for a few of the boys to make better decisions regarding how they treat girls even a little bit of the time, then it was time well spent.

And if it helped validate the girls’ experience, it was time well spent.

“I would take it as a compliment” is not a good argument.

The context of the receiver matters. Tangent on that tomorrow.


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