Central Bonn, Germany
"I have noticed you. I think you are very attractive and remarkably elegant."
HOW did she react?
She said with a grin: "Know what, I actually get that often. I wonder why. Maybe because I am an artist? I think I have an eye for colors and forms... However it's always a good thing to hear since I don't see myself that way.".
We got into talking. I told her about the challenge. She loved the idea and shared some other ideas she'd practiced before:
-Write one word on the back side of a postcard. Add a friend's address, using a pencil. Put it in the mail . Your friend adds another word and passes it on to the next person, rewriting the address field. Same routine, over and over, till finally you are the last person in line to receive the postcard- which now displays a beautiful group written message.
-You could do the same thing with a picture: A group of people adding a line or a dot, person after person.
HOW did I feel?
Good, of course. When I saw her I stopped, sat down next to her and observed her for a bit. She was very charismatic. The way she smoked her cigarette, sitting upright yet relaxed and female looked very 1920ish. When she opened a bag and unwrapped a new, hip lipstick and put in on right on the spot I knew it was her.
Meeting Sibylle was a beautiful encounter. She told me about her work. She wants her paintings to be real rather than pleasant. And she appreciates being in a bad place sometimes- because that is when feels she paints more honest than ever. There's no hiding from herself, no sugarcoating then. Sibylle had a wise gaze and laughter lines around her eyes. I'd love to grab a coffee with her some time.
ANYTHING ELSE (thoughts on the project, changes, observations?)?
I've been noticing different impulses while strolling around on the look for potential compliment candidates. The two most frequent ones lead to the pick up line and the pity compliment. The latter one occurs when I spot someone whose body language communicates sadness, insecurity or discomfort. Sometimes the pity compliment comes up when I see overweight people or find other characteristics that society does not consider beautiful. I feel an urge to share what I like about them to increase their self esteem. And although I don't think there is a "wrong impulse" to compliment someone I do wonder: Who am I to assume they feel bad in their skin? And even if they actually do, don't I follow society and it's ideals by merely complimenting them out of pity?
The pick up line pops up when I pass someone hot. In that case I can think of a bunch of things to say to that person right away. (I don't necessarily have the balls to actually so that but this is another story.)
Again, I don't think there is a right or wrong but this project's compliments are supposed to be ends in themselves- not means to pick someone up.
At the end of the day I guess as long as I stay honest with the content of my compliment the initial impulse does not really matter. I may find beauty in the person displaying a stigma as well as the attractive male. It's just a different level or sphere that I am looking for in complimenting here: The beauty catching my senses away from second thoughts, a piece of life I feel intuitively connected with and thankful for.