Ah, perfect. Woman is out in the world on a bright sunny day, at the wheel of her car, and a guy in a van shouts out his window at her -
With that one word my amiable Sunday-morning state of mind was
lost in a mushroom cloud of stranger-hate. What crime did I commit to warrant
attention from such a dolt (story of my life)? I was squinting in the sun.
See? See? See? This is what I’m saying. It’s exactly what I’m saying. I was just walking up the street, mind elsewhere, as one does, and as one is allowed to do, and some total stranger shouted at me for not smiling.
I am so pleased to find that I’m not alone in not liking strangers telling me how to arrange my face.
I know I’m not the only woman who has experienced the “Smile!”
phenomenon. Mention such an incident to any woman on the planet and prepare for a stream of obscenity-laden anecdotes and suggestive hand gestures.
In the top ten of female peeves it’s right at the top. I’d rather hear a frat boy scream, “show me your tits” than have one more middle-aged nincompoop command I say cheese in precisely the same spirit of “fun” that a movie cowboy pulls out a gun and tells the town drunk to dance.
(To be fair, I already knew I wasn’t alone in not liking strangers telling me how to arrange my face, not least via comments on that post. But it’s pleasing to see it treated as common knowledge.)
Weirdly, I’ve noticed these hyper-concerned male citizens aren’t exactly smiling when they offer up their unsolicited advice. In fact, they look pretty serious about their desire to see the world’s female population walk around with a goofy grin pasted on their faces.
Precisely. Angry neighbor guy was savage with his unsolicited advice.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s that desire to see every woman behave as if she were ready, willing and able that’s behind the old “Smile” edict. I also think that the kind of man who yells it out is labouring under the impression that it’s a woman’s job to try and look pretty at all times and when she doesn’t he sees it as his civic duty to apply the corrective.
H/t Benjamin Nelson.