I have a male friend whose looks are a cross between James Woods and Tommy Lee Jones. Rugged, weathered. He intensely dislikes being called adorable or cute. To him, those words are reserved for something that looks very young or beautiful. To me, those words also describe personality characteristics and behaviors. So when he acts particularly adorable, I have to be on guard not to tell him so. He doesn’t take it with the meaning I said it. I also have girlfriends who are beautiful looking, who intensely dislike being called cute. Their complaints: “Cockerspaniels are CUTE. I HATE being referred to as CUTE.” and “Cute isn’t pretty. Cute isn’t attractive. Cute sure as hell ain’t beautiful. Cute is how you describe a baby’s butt.” I laugh because I figure, whatever the words, it’s meant as a compliment, but I see their point. So, everyone – me included – if you ever again want to call someone cute – go into detail about what that means to you. If she’s attractive, tell her so. Even if she’s beautiful, yep, gotta tell her so (they get insecure, too). If he gets a childlike smile that warms your heart or other points south, tell him that’s what you mean by he’s “cute”. Like everything else in life, what you mean to say is not always what the listener hears.