Men, it’s okay to give other men compliments

Men, when was the last time someone complimented you? I’m not talking about when your friend said something forgettable like “nice shoes.” I’m talking about a genuine compliment meant to boost your self-esteem.

There is no shame in letting other men praise your physique and bodily image. Even so, male self-esteem is rarely discussed, and building a culture that boosts morale is essential in these times of strife.

If you’re a straight, cisgender man, you’re probably thinking, “Shouldn’t women be asked to compliment us instead?” The answer is no. 

One reason for this is that women often cannot comfortably compliment a man without coming across as flirting with him. This is especially common with teens and young adults.

Be honest, there have been moments where you have been complimented by a woman on your appearance and instantly thought she was flirting with you. Your attempt to court was likely followed by a denial.

Another reason is that women, especially Black women, are currently experiencing the most difficult times of their lives. They don’t have time to worry about you.

Now that that’s settled, men should be able to genuinely compliment each other. I say “should be able to” because there’s still a prevailing notion that equates male bonding with homosexuality. 

You don’t have to constantly defend your heterosexuality. I personally still appreciate moments where the term “pause” is applicable as I see it more as a language game than a reveal of insecurities. Still, the diminishment of the unsubtle phrase “no homo” is comforting as the phrase is met with awkwardness in the conversations in which I participate, witness or overhear from afar. 

You need to be aware of your threshold regarding genuine compliments and sexual harassment. It’s important to realize that letting your thin veil of pride go helps you receive compliments better. If you are straight, it is imperative to realize a comment on your appearance is not an attack if it comes from another man.

Currently, Instagram is where I see women compliment each other’s appearance till the end of time. It sparks a bit of jealousy, I must admit. Many women of all sizes deservingly receive endearing comments from completely straight women. I definitely have never seen the word “ethereal” in even the most conventionally attractive male’s comment section.

The culture of complimenting other men comfortably has more of an effect than you probably believe. Recently, Rihanna’s rising brand, Fenty, unveiled their new line of men’s clothing, including plus-sized variations. 

Plus-sized model Steven G. was met with elation as he graced the announcement with his presence. Much of the elation came from men, of course. They were surprised and thrilled that such a relevant brand highlighted a man of similar body type. You never know what could make someone feel good about themselves.

Plenty of men struggle with body image issues. Kind words can have an effect on someone’s outlook on more than just their outside appearance. Next time you see your friends, supplement a fist bump with a compliment.