Help me out here; confirm I'm not crazy. If someone walked up and said, "Why, So-and-So, you’re looking fat today," So-and-So would feel pretty offended. Or, if someone looked straight into the face of a middle-ager and declared, "Wow, you look old," said middle-ager might be tempted to haul off and slap the person. Don't you agree?
These are examples of things called brazen faux pas. If you’re a bit rusty on the French, let me sum it up: There are certain things you just don’t say to people.
What if the person launched into an even more detailed insult by explaining his position? What if he tried to excuse himself by declaring his affronts to be veiled compliments? The addressee would be angry, right? He'd want to walk away, or deliver some choice words of his own, right? Please, tell me I’m not alone in this!
I ask because it makes no sense to me why it's not okay to comment on weight, old age, ugliness, and the like, but it's completely fine to comment on how young a person looks. At 4'11", with a petite frame, I am a prime target for these gross offenders. Apparently, I practically scream, "Make an annoying comment about how you can't believe I'm twenty," because I get those comments all the time. I think it's about time somebody takes a stand for the baby-faces.
I doubt that the people who say, wide-eyed, "But...you look THIRTEEN!" even think before they speak. As a general rule, thinking is a good first step to conducting yourself well in public, and with strangers. First, if you know what you're saying could be potentially insulting, why on earth would you trumpet it in public? Second, if you've just met the person and have spent zero time with him or her, why do you think you have the right to speak so freely?