Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Smile, Darn Ya, SMILE! (The "Bite Me" Remix)

So, if they say, "Smile and the world smiles with you," what do they say if you tell them to piss right off? I was walking down the hall at work today, minding my own business. Now, I'm not a miserable person or anything, but I don't walk around grinning ear-to-ear for no good reason. I was somewhat preoccupied, because I was AT WORK and was thinking ABOUT WORK SHIT. And some guy who knows me very slightly, passed me in the hall and said, "Smile! It can't be that bad!"


I whirled around and said, "How do you know?" He just stared at me. I then said, "I mean, it's not that bad. But you don't know that." And I continued on my (not so) merry way.

Now, the guy in question probably was just trying to be friendly and now thinks I'm a giant bitch. But I don't really care. It's incredibly intrusive and patronizing to accost someone and tell them to smile. I will smile when I fucking feel like it. Seriously, very little pisses me off more. I mean, of minor, everyday annoyances. The war in Iraq and abstinence-only sex education irritate me much more.

But. When you think about it, is it such a minor irritation? It's really only men who tell women to smile. Or maybe grandmotherly old ladies telling children to smile. Oh thanks. Equate me with a little kid, why don't you. Like I can't decide for myself what my emotions should be. "Gee, thanks for that. I was just about to cry because I like, broke a nail or my boyfriend didn't call or some other petty, girlish concern. Now that you, a man, who is much stronger and smarter than me, told me to smile? My world is complete. I CAN SMILE AGAIN!" Ugh. I can decide for myself what to do with my body and that means everything in/on it, including my uterus AND my face. Think it's a stretch equating abortion rights with some dude telling the "ladies" to "Turn that frown upside down!"? Maybe. But I don't think so. It's still someone telling a woman that she can't make her own decisions, control her own body and interfering with her life.

Also, how the hell did he know "it can't be that bad!" It's a tough world, buddy. It certainly could be that bad. The world can certainly be troublesome enough to elicit a frown. Nothing was wrong. I just have a sort of serious demeanor, (until you get me going!) but he didn't know that. Maybe something WAS wrong. Maybe there WAS a problem. And if he'd been offering me sympathy or aid? Great. But he wasn't. He just wanted to me lighten up and quit bumming him out. Well, tough shit.

So, guys? Next time you feel the urge to tell some strange woman to smile? Stow it. Mind your own fucking business. 'Cause if she does smile at you? She's smiling because she's picturing kicking you in the head. And my fellow women? Please stop letting guys get away with this shit. It's pretty satisfying to tell them not to comment on your facial expressions. The next time I'm walking down that hall, maybe I'll be serious. Or maybe I'll think of the "Candy Mountain" video, or Mothra dancing to The Beastie Boys or Alec Baldwin's "Car Pool" skit on Saturday Night Live. ("I'm metal from the waist down!") And then? I'll smile. But it will be because I'm happy. And if you're happy too? Terrific! Otherwise? Deal with it.


Bea's mom said...

OR you could do a "Wednesday Adams" smile and really scare the pants off the male offender. You were an awesome Wednesday Adams when you were ten. Of course I may not be impartial.

Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Okay, so you know that I love you and agree with like 99.9% of the things you believe. And, being a fellow feminist, I hold strongly those same values. I mean, if abortion were ever made illegal, I would be up on Capitol Hill protesting that shit…among other, probably illegal things.

That being said, I think that you may have overanalyzed this a little bit. Now, I am sure that this won’t make me popular, since conflict is baaaaad…but here goes. Now, I don’t like people saying, “Good morning” to me, since I am NOT a morning person…and you get many, many negative points if you say that to me before my morning coffee (made with 7 scoops of coffee grounds). And, I think that it is quite annoying to hear people say, “Good morning” or “Smile” because I don’t like to be cheery when I am not feeling it.

But, I am not sure I agree with the male/female argument that you made. Just to play devil’s advocate (which I do so well)…if it had been a woman who had said this to you, would you have been so offended? I have been told to smile by all sorts of annoying people, including females of my own age. From my point of view, it is equally annoying no matter who says it to you. To which, in response, I give them my famous, annoyed look akin to the “I fucking hate you” look.

Believe me, annoyance knows no boundaries of sex. Who knows…maybe he is a social retard.


Lady Bea said...

Me? Overanalyze something? NEVER! Heh. While I did write this entry in a total fit of pique, I still stand by it. Would I have been as irritated if another woman has told me to smile? Probably. But really, that almost never happens. To me, at least. In my experience, it's mostly been guys rolling up and tell me to smile. And yes, anyone who does that totally gets my "fuck you" look. For some reason, that particular look gets a lot of practice...Heh.