Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Left-Handed Compliments Call For The Right Reply

DEAR ABBY: Can you advise me on how to respond to comments from younger men when I am at dinner or out with friends? I often get "Wow, you are really good looking for an older woman!" which I find vaguely insulting even though they may think it's a compliment. I'm in good shape for my age (48), but my husband agrees it's rude.

I'm at a loss for a snappy comeback and usually so embarrassed that I just turn away and pretend that I didn't hear. Am I overly sensitive? Should I be thanking them? That doesn't feel right. Any witty responses you think would be good? -- SPEECHLESS IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR SPEECHLESS: A left-handed compliment is one that has two meanings -- one of which is not flattering to the recipient. Because you find it offensive, say, "I may look 'older' to you, but I'm not so old I consider that to be a compliment."

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics