That’s Not a Compliment

There’s a man in my life who sucks at communicating. No, no, it’s not The Mister. So long as your words reach his good ear, The Mister could win an award for best straight man communication skills. He can’t text for shit, but that’s a blog of another color.

No, the man I’m referring to shall be called Captain Bert Obvious, because that’s totally not his name. I’m pretty sure Bert doesn’t read this blog, but plenty of his friends do, so Bert, if you’re readin, think of this as constructive criticism, cause it ain’t a fuckin compliment.

When I’m out, and I see Bert, he might say, “I see Sadie has a new leash,” followed by nothing else. Or he might ask, “Got a new dress, eh, Joey?” He doesn’t say anything negative or positive about things, he just points out that he notices.

Every time he comes over, he notices something.
“You rearranged the living room.”
“You got a big mixer, huh?”
“Smells like somethin’s cookin.”
“Put a table on the porch, eh?”

What am I supposed to do with this feeble attempt at conversation?

“I see your senses are in working order, Bert.”

I just say, “Yes.” In my head, I’m all, what the fuck, bert? what the fuck?!?

It would almost be better if he insulted me, because then I could say something, anything, that might move the conversation along.

To be fair, on occasion, he does take the time to share his opinions. Like when he said, “Gee, Joey, you coulda brushed your hair,” and “I like your hair like that.” Those two sentences were about ten years apart, but these rare comments gave me a deeper understanding of Bert. Bert likes my hair after I’ve spent 20 minutes blowin it out with a big round brush and a dryer, then smoothed it with jet sets and hair products out the yin-yang, and let it sit for an hour. He does not like my hair in its natural state, which is anything but smooth or straight. Got it. Thanks for sharing, Bert.

Sometimes Bert gives me a nice back-assward complimentary insult like, “Those shoes sure are fancy for a girl like you.”

I have joked with The Mister, saying that I feel I should call Bert at every turn, “Bert, I’m about to hang a new shower curtain. I sure don’t give a fuck if hope you like it, not that I’ll ever know, either way.”

Maybe Bert lives by “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Maybe he hates everything.

Do you know anyone like Bert? How do you handle the ambiguity?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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13 Responses to That’s Not a Compliment

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I could be Bert if I tried to speak. I don’t. When I do speak, I’m really good at saying stupid stuff like “I think you could squeeze through there ” when the space is huge and my wife is tiny. If I actually notice and care, I will try to make the right remark. People usuly notice that I took a long time to figure it out. If I didn’t, I’d be Bert Dumbass.


    • LOL Thank you for sharing, Dan.
      I recently told my large MIL, “No no, don’t sit there, not you!” when she tried to sit in the little chair, but then I explained cat hair and how anal-retentive she is, so that was EVEN BETTER, haha. I’m not sayin we don’t all have our moments, but man…


  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    I think we all have a Bert in our lives. Perhaps we should offer a stiff smile and say, “Wow, what a perceptive detective you’d make, Bert!” Then again, that probably wouldn’t be very nice. Guess we’ll just stick with the stiff smile…


  3. Jewels says:



  4. meg68 says:

    “So you posted again Joey.”
    Ahaha…. I’m guessing it’s your FIL? (Just an intuition).
    We all have this guy in our lives! I’m one to challenge that dickhead and say something like, “Oh my, that’s a complex brain for a simple man like you.” But that would be my inappropriateness raising it’s logical head again.
    Right now I’m boiling up inner vitriol for a post of my own about a certain annoying person…it helps to know I’m not alone 🙂


  5. baldjake70 says:

    I grew up with a Bert. It can be challenging when trying gain validation. Good thing I’m an arrogant prick. If I wasn’t I would have needed mountains of therapy, or hung myself from the tree in the front yard.


  6. Sherry says:

    my dad was extremely good at left-hand compliments…and as I recall, he was kinda bertie…


  7. Aussa Lorens says:

    Yes, so been there with different people. The awkward thing is when you find yourself thanking them and only realize just then that they weren’t actually complimenting you, just making a statement.


  8. there are definitely a ton of berts out there! 🙂


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