Guest post: If you want to have that conversation, go have it

Originally a comment by Nathaniel Frein on Public property.

@sonof: I think what Ophelia is saying in response to your #16 could be paraphrased as ‘bothering men that way is bad but doing it to women is WORSE so shut up and go away’, so apparently she is learning a lot from her new friend (Richard).

Oh do fuck off. Seriously.

You have the wide wide internet to make your point that “People in general should not have their emotions audited by others”, and instead you choose to come here and criticize one blogger for choosing to focus on a behavior that by far happens to women much more than men.

Lets have an anecdote off: I have never been told to smile. I have watched people tell my wife to smile constantly. Hell, I worked retail for a year and while I have what, on a woman, would be called a “bitchy resting face” I never got told that I needed to smile more, by customers or by management. In fact I often got complimented for my helpfulness and friendliness. Without smiling much.

Here’s another anecdote. My grandfather died three years ago, and my grandmother passed on about six months ago. My father has for the most part dealt with this loss, but the family home just sold and he commented gamely that he felt a bit uprooted. Now, I’ve never been in one place more than three or four years (largely due to choices made by my father), so I quipped “I wouldn’t know”. And immediately felt guilty. Cuz it was an asshole thing to do. I saw my father dealing with his personal loss, and I made the conversation about me.

You guys are that asshole right now. Stop it. Ophelia is not saying that your experiences are less than women’s. What she is saying is that this is not that conversation. If you want to have that conversation, go have it. I doubt anyone here would come over to say “but what about the women?” You’re pulling the same bullshit as people who say “I’m not a feminist, I’m an equalist”.




  1. Blanche Quizno says

    That was lovely 😀

    Seriously. I’ve been told to smile over the years; it’s always some creepy guy. Dudes, it is not my job to adorn your landscape to your specifications and/or satisfaction. And why are you talking at me and issuing commands to me when I don’t even know you??

  2. Al Dente says

    The only time I’ve been told to smile, other than by photographers, is once when I walked into a store and the owner said: “You shouldn’t be glum, you should smile.”

    I answered: “It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile and I’m exercising.” He laughed and, even though I didn’t smile, he didn’t say anything more about smiles.

  3. iknklast says

    I have frequently been told to smile. When working fast food, the men were not required by management to smile as long as they were friendly and efficient. I actually got suspended one time because I didn’t smile often enough (I’m not that much of a smiler, but I am friendly and efficient). I especially hated it when people told me to smile during the time I suffered from severe depression. That nearly pushed me over the edge. And why should I have to smile to make you happy when I’ve just had a lousy day?

  4. chigau (違う) says

    On an episode of an incarnation of CSI, one of the female officers was walking by GRINNING while carrying a bucket of blood and spit.
    Asked why she was smiling, responded, “Smiling suppresses the gag reflex.”
    I don’t care if it’s true, I’ve always wanted to use the line.
    But no one has told me to smile in a looong time.
    I don’t have a ‘resting bitchy face’, I have a ‘resting speak to me at your own risk face’.

  5. says

    I was actually a bit afraid to post this. I try not to post too much, because sometimes I do make an ass of myself. I felt really strongly about what I wanted to say, in part because I was still very angry at myself at what I let myself do in the second anecdote, and I’m glad you thought it was good enough to share.

  6. johnthedrunkard says

    A few years back, the Safeway supermarket chain’s management issued a proclamation requiring all check-out clerks to smile at customers. They had to rescind it when the female checkers were inundated with sexual advances and harassment.

    Yeah, ‘smile baby,’ sure…

  7. says

    I remember that proclamation. They also told all the staff to be aggressively friendly to customers at all times, with the result that you’d be scanning the shelf for something and a stocker would get in your face to say hi. They still do it. It’s infuriating, and must be horrible for them too.

    I didn’t know that about having to rescind it though. I don’t suppose you have a link handy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *