By Petra Guglielmetti,Glamour magazine
This is one of my huh-yuge pet peeves. Other than loud gum chewing, nothing makes me more irrationally belligerent than a stranger on the street telling me to smile.
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I shouldn't say random stranger, actually--I should say random man, because I can't recall a woman ever doing this. The "smile" comment can take on slightly different variations:
Smile! It's not so bad!
Aw come on, smile!
You'd look prettier if you smiled!
The gist is always the same. Apparently, these men feel that I am wearing some sort of pout or scowl and are concerned about this. (In reality, this is just my default face. I guess I look mildly depressed even when my mood is somewhere on the spectrum between awesome and neutral.) They would prefer I waltz down the sidewalk smiling. But there are two problems with this.
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1) This is just not what one does in New York City. Fellow New Yorkers would assume I was an insane person. Then again, this would have an upside, as they'd probably give me three feet of berth on either side as I try to navigate my way to the subway.
2) Smiling at these same men would indicate that I want to them to interact with me and/or have sex with me. At least in their minds.
I never know how to react to the smile comment, other than to try to restrain myself from releasing a stream of obscenities that will only serve to confirm the man's opinion that I am a pitiful, bitter individual. Apparently I am not alone--in a hilarious essay on xojane.com, writer Jessica Olien shares one suggestion:
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On one particularly annoying occasion when someone on the street told me to smile I looked directly at them and told them my father had just died. Which was a total lie and naturally made the person feel like crap, which was exactly what I was going for. When that exchange was over there were two people not smiling, but one (me) who was extremely self-satisfied.
Ha ha! You have to read the rest of Jessica's essay on this topic. It will crack you up.
So, how about it girls: Am I the only one who feels like punching random dudes who command me to smile? Does this happen to all of you (or only those of us with "sad faces"?)More from Glamour:
Photo Credit: WWD