Saturday, 16 July 2011

Damnation to Faint Praise

I went to see Bridesmaids the other night and it’s ages since I laughed so much.  No need to tell you it’s this summer’s must see film – and well worth the ticket money - if you’re not too squeamish or easily offended. My man, one of only two males in the entire cinema, thought it hysterical too, so it’s definitely no chick-flick, more a film about female relationships, and despite a whole host of over the top, nigh on gross scenarios, the group of friends portrayed are a bunch of recognisable, if motley, real women. 

On a vaguely related subject. If a friend you’re meeting for lunch greets you with, “You look very modern in that get up,” what do you think it means? Is it a complement - praising an up-to-the- minute/wow that looks nice sort of dress sense - or a thinly veiled criticism? Behind the bright smile, could there lurk an unspoken agenda?
 Well, aren’t you the bold/daft/ridiculous one, to wear slinky leggings at that age/point in your weight loss programme or with that particular tunic top sporting horizontal stripes.  

Do women ever tell each other the truth about clothes?
Does all this matter?
Perhaps not, except I’ve recently got my manuscript back from the Romantic Novelists’ New Writers Scheme, and it didn’t get a second reading. The feedback is very thorough and not all bad news, but I’m feeling a bit over sensitive about faint praise. To crown it all, I've had a short story 'shortlisted' in one writing competition and another ‘highly recommended’ in another. So you see, I've had enough of faint praise.


  1. Look at it another way - the friend obviously noticed your appearance (I presume this really happened?) and felt moved to comment, therefore whatever her true feelings she noticed what you were wearing! I would interpret it as 'I'm not as brave/modern as you - wish I was!'

    As for the stories - well how many people do you think get 'shortlisted' and 'highly recommended' out of the hundreds sent in? Not many, I bet!

    I reckon you're doing marvellously - give yourself a pat on the back!

  2. Hmmmm I'm a follower, but didn't get notice that you'd blogged. Blogger is falling down on the job.
    Faint praise - well I'll just take whatever praise comes my way. My sister is the expert in faint praise. When I had my hair cut last time she commented "You've had your hair cut. Are you happy with it?"
    Yikes - it must have been bad!

  3. I concur with Faith, Lampie!
    Having lost my way with clothes last few years not knowing what was suitable for a woman in her 40's ( nearly 50) I have now started dressing in Joe Brown dresses, tunics(very hippy, floaty clothes)with leggings and I love it and I've had so many comments about how young I look , I think these days it's ok to wear what makes you feel your happiest and age has nothing to do with it anymore.

  4. PS well done on being short listed, that is great news

  5. I loved 'Bridesmaid's' too - went with Marie Claire and my Claire. Made me think, though, that I've never been a bridesmaid - too late now. Also, thank god I'm not American and my kids are never likely to need that sort of thing - if they ever get round to it. Brilliant about the short stories and finishing a book - NOT faint praise! I am full of admiration! Much love, Avy

  6. Obviously, Lampie, you are just not old enough for when you arrive at a certain age it doesn't matter what people say because you honestly don't care you don't wear things to please others, you wear things to please yourself.

    But well done on the writing front. Just keep plugging away. But again - was Shakespeare writing to win competitions? You write primarily to please yourself. (Anyway that's my excuse).

    Haven't seen Bridesmaids. Sounds interesting, though.