I am an old; my hair is greying at the temples and my beard is almost completely gray. I was in the checkout line at a supermarket and the checker had pretty salt and pepper hair so I said "I love your hair color!" She ignored me; the guy in line behind me laughed and she went "what are you laughing at?" and he said "that was so funny - he has gray hair and you have gray hair and he complemented you on your hair". Then she noticed me, saw my hair and smiled. But that put me off for a while. The other day at a different story, the cashier had long hair well below her shoulders and it was all mixed greying and natural color so I said "I love your hair color"; she looked at me and laughed and said "I LOVE your hair color" then as I walked away she thanked me for the compliment.
Is a hair compliment safe enough? I see some hair that just blows me away (some natural, some gloriously unnatural) and I make a comment - always in passing.
Thank you all for your comments - it will be no surprise to anyone that people who liked what I said carry more weight with me but I am mulling things over. I have come to understand myself a little better. I try to make those 20 second interactions a human moment but I have to understand my own motivations. Do I choose women over men? Do I choose attractive people? I think I choose to notice something about people that they themselves put out there. A ring, broach, necklace a piece of clothing; carefully, I sometimes notice tattoos - this would be commented only with someone with whom an relationship has been established - the barista at my coffeeshop, a co-worker who is a nodding acquaintance. Anyway, thanks.