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It seems like all of this #MeToo stuff has turned into a sort of witch hunt for any and all males who behave or say something the least bit inappropriate. It’s gotten so hard to chat up a girl. None of the usual lines work anymore, and I’m this close to getting a drink thrown in my face. I just want to compliment a girl and not be thought of as a DOM. Is that even still possible? How can I give compliments without sounding like a manyak?
Well, the real, honest-to-goodness question here is, manyak ka ba?
Are you A, a dyed-in-wool macho man, worried about how to put on the moves in the age of women—gasp!—waking up and realizing they don’t have to put up with your shit anymore?
Or are you, B, a real dude, the kind who is genuinely concerned about offending a potentially special lady, or just curious about how the rules of engagement have changed in light of all the horrible sexual harassment stuff going on?
Simply put, are you a tito from the '90s who thinks grab-them-by-the-pussy jokes are funny, or are you a woke millennial dude living in the now?
Answer A, and all we can say is, go away and grow up. Answer B? Read on, my friend. Let’s try to decode this delicate situation.
All of this #MeToo stuff has left many a man feeling more than a little perplexed. Of course, the idea of a man having any sort of ~feelings~ about this issue will have the ladies roll their eyes or roll up their sleeves, ready to do some sparring, verbal or otherwise. Yes, we get it. It’s all about women now—the stage has been set, the spotlight is on you, and please do take the mic and let out all those years of suppressed rage, humiliation, and fear.
We won’t stop you—but it doesn’t change the fact that the balance has shifted, and we all just want to know how to act in this new dynamic. Of course you can blame us for generations of toxic masculinity, of “Lalaki kasi, eh,” of boys being boys—but please don’t crucify us for wanting to figure out our place in all of this and wanting to evolve, too. We, like you, want the Weinsteins and Spaceys and Sottos (even, dare we say, notorious presidents) of society to eat shit and change their ways.
Which brings us back to the original question: How do you compliment a girl without sounding like you’ve already ordered the post-coital pancit at the nearest motel?
Well, why are you complimenting her in the first place? There is much to be said about intention. Why you are saying something shines through, no matter how you say it, or what your words are. Girls know it—they know constructions workers say so much more than just “Hi, Miss” when they leer and wiggle their eyebrows suggestively, the same way they know it when you ask “Ano plans mo tonight?” when you’re up for some hanky-panky.
Words are never empty. Even a carelessly thrown away compliment already says something—that she didn’t even matter enough to you to say something original (or true). You can trust women to always, always, put weight on your words (and even spend hours dissecting your messages with their friends—don’t deny it, ladies).
This is why you compliment with caution—because even if you say something seemingly innocent, if your intention is less than pure, the truth will come out. Women are smart. Not smarter than they used to be, or smarter than ever—they’ve always been this smart and intuitive. We just didn’t want to believe it. And now, there’s no denying it.
So there it is—think about why you’re complimenting this lady in question. Are you genuinely digging her insane taste in music? Has she captivated you with her singing voice at the last company karaoke night? Did her recent promotion inspire you to work harder? Has her crazy workout routine, evidenced in her IG Stories, made you want to sign up at the gym? Then say so—if you mean it, and don’t mean to imply anything else.
Notice anything above the aforementioned examples? Yeah, none of them mention her face, her rack, her ass—because complimenting her on her physical assets, no matter how Shakespearean you word it, is elementary kamanyakan. Saying she’s beautiful is an express ticket to getting nowhere with her—she already knows she is. Say something else. Set yourself apart from the unimaginative Neanderthals who still think calling a chick cute is enough to get in their pants. (Don’t get us wrong—there are still girls who fall for this, but these aren’t the girls you want to waste your time on. But that’s another story for another day).
Tell her she has a nice smile. Better yet, tell her you love seeing her laugh. Say how funny she is, or tell her how much you look forward to hearing about her crazy Saturday nights. Ask her if she cooked her baon herself—it smells delicious. As long as it’s true. As long as you mean it. As long as you’re saying it because you don’t expect a photo of her tits in return. As long as you’re not in it to prove that you’re a “nice guy.”
What’s that old saying? Say what you mean, mean what you say. Still think hoodwinking a girl with compliments should be the cornerstone of your game? It’s 2018, gents. Get creative. Better yet, get honest. The era of the slick talkers is over. And in a time when assholes taking videos of girls in dressing rooms and catcallers in the streets are getting internet-roasted alive, speaking the truth—or simply, just shutting up if you have nothing to say—may be your only chance of survival. Or at least, getting a date.
Illustration Borg Sinaban