you're so pretty when you smile

Dear Strange Man on the Train,

At 11 o’clock at night, you moved across the train car to sit far too close to two girls about half your age so you could interrupt our conversation to tell us how pretty we are. We said thank you, have a good night, and went back to our conversation.

You interrupted us a second time to say that you didn’t want to bother us, but we needed to hear it, how pretty we are. We said cool, thanks, have a good night, and went back to our conversation.

You interrupted us a third time to say you wouldn’t say anything else, you didn’t want to bother us, you just had to let us know. We said have a good night, and went back to our conversation.

This seemed to perplex you. You came all that way across a train car to bestow upon us this life altering knowledge - the fact we were pretty - and all you got was a polite thank you? You grumbled about gratitude, about how you better not end up on facebook, were we putting you on facebook? Why was my friend looking at her phone? Was she putting you on facebook? All you’d done was tell us we were pretty.

At this point, my friend says, “Sir, we’re trying to have a conversation. Please don’t be disrespectful.”

This was when you got angry. Disrespectful? YOU? For taking the time out of your day to tell us we were pretty? Did we know we were pretty?

“Yes, we knew,” says my friend.

Well, that was the last straw. How dare we know we were pretty! Sure, you were allowed to tell us we were pretty, but we weren’t allowed to think it independently, without your permission! And if we had somehow already known - perhaps some other strange man had informed us earlier in the day - we certainly weren’t allowed to SAY it! Where did we get off, having confidence in ourselves? You wanted us to know we were pretty, sure, but only as a reward for good behavior. We were pretty when you gifted it upon us with your words, and not a moment before! You raged for a minute about how horrible we were for saying we thought we were pretty, how awful we turned out to be.

I took a page out of your book and interrupted you. “Sir, you said you wouldn’t say anything else, and then you kept talking,” I said. “You complimented us, we said thank you, and we don’t owe you anything else. It’s late, you’re a stranger, and I don’t want to talk to you. We’ve tried to disengage multiple times but you keep bothering us.”

At this point, our train pulled into the next stop. My friend suggested we leave, so we got up and went to the door.

Seeing your last chance, you lashed out with the killing blow. “I was wrong!” you shouted at us as we left, “You’re ugly! You’re both REALLY UGLY!”

Fortunately, since our worth as human beings is in no way dependent upon how physically attractive you find us, my friend and I were unharmed and continued on with our night. She walked home; I switched to the next train car and sat down.

So, strange man, I know you’re confused. I don’t know if you’ll think about anything I said to you, but I hope you do learn this: when you give someone something - a gift, a compliment, whatever - with stringent stipulations about how they respond to it, you are not giving anything. You are setting a trap. It is not as nice as you think it is.

But you’ll be happy to know that when I sat down in the next car, a strange man several seats over called, “Hey, pretty girl. Nice guitar. How was your concert?”

“Thanks. Good,” I said, then looked away and put on my headphones, the universal sign for ‘I’d like to be left alone.’

“Wow. Fine. Whatever. Fucking bitch,” he said.

The Little Ways To Say I Love You

Daichi is pretty straightforward. He’ll go straight for Suga’s hand and hold it with his always warm palms. He gives affectionate chuckles and he seems to always find his hand on Suga’s cheek to stroke with his thumb.

Suga is much more subtle. He likes to vaguely tease when around friends and gives shy smiles when they’re out in public. His voice always gets so breathless when he pays Daichi a compliment or thanks. He likes to gently hook onto a couple fingers with his own and pull Daichi towards him.

Kenma will give Kuroo massages when he’s in a good mood. Other than that, he’s shy when giving affection. He’ll hide behind his bangs when he’s pleased with Kuroo’s compliments. He hides his biggest smiles behind his fingers. He’ll grip onto Kuroo’s sleeve when he wants attention.

Kuroo is very “to the point”. He will grab Kenma into giant bear hugs and pick him up. He’ll bury his nose into Kenma’s hair and take a long breath after a bad day. When Kenma is stressed, he’ll gently tickle the back of Kenma’s neck until his shoulders relax.

Akaashi cups his cheeks when Bokuto pays him a compliment. He gives a breathy laugh when Bokuto buys his favorite foods. His eyes always look at the ground when he tells Bokuto how he feels about him. He loves to gently scratch his fingers through Bokuto’s hair. He tends to absentmindedly write Bokuto’s name in his notebook.

Bokuto will go to hillsides and scream Akaashi’s name. He will always perk and light up when Akaashi enters a room. He loves to wrap his arms around Akaashi’s waist or neck and cuddle him. He likes to place his lips against Akaashi’s ear when they’re burning red.

My wife and I like to leave little notes for our servers when we go out to eat, just something to hopefully brighten their day, like just the other day we went to BWW for drinks, and our server was GORGEOUS, not to mention incredibly kind, so we left her a note telling her how pretty we thought she was and how awesome. I hope it made her smile.

And a week or so before that, we went to Olive Garden, and I was wearing an HP shirt and our server loved it, and when he brought us the ticket, he also brought out a little card that he had drawn the deathly hallows symbol on plus a quote. So, we left him another quote and note saying how rad he was.

I love doing things like this. I hope others will give it a try. Just a simple-You were great! is great in my opinion, and while I never get to see their reactions when they find the notes, I really hope it makes their shifts a bit brighter.