Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thank you?

Apparently we are in the midst of "celebrity doppelganger" week on facebook, a time when each obsessive, constant-status-updating member is prompted to change their profile pic to the famous person they believe they most resemble. After a few moments of deliberation, I opted to go with a DQ-clad Parker Posey from the (epic) film Waiting for Guffman.

Why, you ask? Because she's the poor man's Sandra Bullock and, if the bar is dark enough, so am I.

Shortly after uploading Ms. Posey to my profile, I received a wall post from a lad I used to know: "I was thinking ur dopple would have been julia robberts." Now, atrocious spelling aside, I was flattered. I mean... she's Julia Roberts! People has ranked her among the most beautiful celebrities in Hollywood for years! Just as I was beginning to polish my Blackberry screen and admire my own reflection, he added a clarifying comment: "80's julia." With that small addition, what was initially ego-boosting became... a complisult.

Since I just created this term, I'll explain. The way I see it, there are compliments, insults, and statements that, depending on the speaker's intent, could be either. For example: If you're told your hair looks nice, you feel great. If you're told your hair looks ugly, you feel awful (and go hat shopping). But if you're told your hair looks "different"... well, the bolder among us venture into a series of clarifying questions while the less confident offer up a sheepish grin before sprinting away in search of a second, less enigmatic opinion.

"Complisultors", preferring to maintain an air of social pleasantry at any cost, have mastered the art of speaking words without conveying meaning. Statements like "Your boyfriend is certainly an interesting young man" and "That's a very unique dress" manage to simultaneously confuse and mollify listeners by hovering in the ambiguity that is the complisult.

So, how's a girl to feel when she's told she resembles an 80s Julia Roberts more than two decades later? Should she assume he meant a younger Julia and take pride in the comparison? Or is this just a polite reminder to keep the straightener charged and the neon stirrup pants in the closet?


  1. i am a frequent recipient of "complisults"...things like, " combed your looks cute..." or "that's really stylish for you". my kids were the QUEENS and KINGS of complisuits. "you don't LOOK that old." oh they go on and on. "you're smarter than you look." i need to get some good complisults this week.

  2. PLEASE post complisults on Urban Dictionary. ASAP. Brilliant.

  3. Rachel Evans you make me smile. I miss you, your zany sense of humour, and your uncanny ability to find mishaps! I love you!



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