I am curious if the saying "I'm flattered" can ever be genuine or not? The word is inherently disingenuous, right? Or can someone actually say I am flattered and mean thank you or that they are touched or something of the like?
Flattery does tend to slant towards the negative side. The differences between flattery and compliments are frequency and purpose. General wisdom deems flattery excessive in nature. A showering of compliments, it often detracts from the value of the words. I find that flattery comes from wanting to make oneself look good rather than making another feel good. It's what makes balding middle-aged men think so highly of the slutty 19 year old interns at work.
Now. When one says "I'm flattered" things change. When I say I'm flattered, I typically mean, "Thank you, I appreciate that but please do not continue with this unwelcome showing of affection." I often follow "I'm flattered" with the tricky conjunction but. (We've talked about dangerous conjunctions before, yes?)
So yes, it can be genuine, but it's not necessarily good.
My boyfriend once told me that he knew I had my period because I smiled more than usual.
Dear Angry Face,
This...is preposterous. I am simultaneously impressed and dumbfounded by your boyfriend. On one hand, he is obviously smarter than I give the average man credit for. To observe your behaviors enough to not only notice changes but to keep track of them long enough to formulate theories? Is pretty good. Well done.
Women are perfectly aware that our periods cause changes in our mood, behaviors, etc. They aren't necessarily things we're proud of, but we know ourselves. I know that I am a tad more emotional while I'm PMSing, for example. Does that mean I want my boyfriend to say, "Jesus, it's just a Pixar movie, chill out. Guess we should pick up tampons while we're out,"? Big. Fat. No. In fact, that would probably cause me to head off on an infamous crying rant. (This maneuver, while technically difficult, has zero fans. Not that it bothers me.)
This illustrates a point I was discussing recently with my partner-in-crime: some people do not know the line regarding What to Say Out Loud. Ask my father all about this. His classic moves include but are not limited to"Oh, I've heard all about you!" to boys who DID NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT THANKS DAD and "Well, that's a lot of eyeliner..."
My friends' boyfriends seem to suffer from a great deal of this inner/outer monologue confusion. I've heard many stories like yours, Angry Emoticon, from my girls. You're not crazy for making an angry face for this.
But don't worry. I'm sure if you were, your boyfriend (ex? current? I'm guessing the former?) would inform you of as much.
PS: I'm glad to see that you're not suffering from your period at the moment.