When People Tell Me to Smile

I’m one of those women men tell to smile all the time.

That whole scenario is becoming taboo, for reasons tough to articulate. I guess when men tell you to smile, it feels like perfect strangers are demanding you be more agreeable and validating for them. It pisses me off too.

But instead of getting outraged, I thought it could be interesting to ask myself why I don’t want to smile more.

And the easy answer is that I don’t like my smile, especially when it’s forced. My upper lip kinda disappears and I think it looks really rigid and goofy.

The deeper answer is fear.

I’m afraid of smiling at someone then having them scowl back. It feels like they hate me, like I quietly reached out to them but they wanted nothing to do with me.

Maybe they had a bad day or were just being shy, but I’ll believe they judged me and found me inadequate.

When I think about this, I feel bad for guys. Because they’re the ones always putting themselves out there and getting rejected.

Women can mostly sit tight and pick from the men who approach them. If we like a guy, all we have to do is make eye contact, smile, laugh at his jokes, and if he’s interested, he’ll do all the rest.

Men reach out to women constantly and get rejected left and right. It must absolutely suck.

On the other hand, it’s great training for not giving a shit. Exposure therapy. Some men must eventually realize it doesn’t matter if the first nine women reject you as long as you get a date with the tenth. They must get desensitized.

Maybe that’s why they’re better at asking for raises. They aren’t as scared. They have lots of practice asking for things they might not receive.

So I need to buck up.

For the next week, I’m going to smile at every single person I see, no matter how uncomfortable I feel about it. The idea is terrifying.

But I’m curious to see what happens.




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