There's a homeless guy in a wheelchair who spends a lot of time on the corner of Cherokee and Sunset. I too spend a lot of time on the corner of Cherokee and Sunset, although mostly in transit. So we see a fair amount of each other.
And, if you go by what he says, he thinks that's swell. He thinks I am a nice-looking lady, and he is not shy about saying so. Sometimes, like tonight, he will lead a chorus of appreciation for my attractiveness from the other homeless guys gathered around him, who dutifully play along, saying things like, "I like her hair."
This is not a post about how that makes me uncomfortable, because the conversation is never lewd or unseemly. I assume, in fact, that the idea is these compliments will brighten my day, and maybe I will hand over change. This is a mistaken strategy, because a) I am not very good about handing over change and b) I am even worse about handing over change when I feel like there will be some accompanying complicated interaction. If I am going to hand over change, it will be to somebody who I never have to see again.
But, despite the fact that I suspect his ardor is insincere, it still has this funny complicated effect on me. The very fact that I feel the need to weigh its sincerity shows, I think, how seriously on some level I take it -- there is apparently some part of me that wants to believe his compliments and I, apparently, feel the need to discourage that impulse in myself.
This strikes me as strange.