It’s probably happened to you or someone you know.
Chances are that if you’re a woman, you’ve been told by a man to “Smile, honey.” Occasionally this demand is repurposed in the form of a question, such as “Why do you look so mad?”
Chances are that you were never frowning in the first place.
Chances are the man who suggested made the suggestion to smile is also a stranger. This stranger is usually trying to flirt and thinks it’s a witty segue into a conversation. (Guys: It’s not. I have yet to meet a woman who appreciated this unsolicited comment/question.)
When I look back on the many occasions I’ve heard this particular line, I can see that my responses have evolved over time.
In my early 20’s, I laughed it off and would actually comply with the request to smile. My naivete thought it was cute, endearing even. As I moved into my mid-to-late 20’s, I became increasingly more annoyed by the suggestion that I should have a smile plastered on my face, but I simply ignored whoever made the statement. As I’m about to slide into my mid 30’s, I’ve moved into the “Enough is enough” phase.
Just the other night, it happened again.
It was about 9 PM on a cold, rainy, and windy Seattle March night. I’d been volunteering at an outdoor charity event at Pike Place Market that evening. After several hours of standing in the VIP tent checking-in patrons and scanning passes, my gloveless fingers and butt cheeks felt as though they were on the fringe of being frozen.
I finally decided to take a break and watch the house band, and that’s when an event security guard who had been hovering around approached.
“What’s the matter? Why aren’t you smiling?”
I’d been saving a witty comeback for such an occasion and of course, now that I had the opportunity to put it into practice, I’d completely forgotten. Damnit.
Instead, I curtly replied, “It’s 45 degrees, it’s windy and I can’t feel my fingers. Is there a particular reason I should be smiling right now?”
His response? “Hi, my name is Stewart”, followed by an attempt to shake hands. Yep, he thought he’d broken the ice.
That night I came home wishing I’d given a witty response, one that would make him think twice about using that line again. I get it, I’m sure he meant no harm, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
I took to Facebook to asked my friends what some of their best responses to this awful question/demand had been.
I chose some of my favorites and couldn’t wait to share them with you.
So ladies here’s a list of potential responses the next time a man tells you to smile:
- “Smile? While looking at YOU? Not likely… Sorry.”
- “I’m trying really hard to hold in a massive fart.”
- “My dad died.” If he apologizes then add, “Yeah, maybe consider that the next time you go around telling people to smile.”
- “I just had a fight with my girlfriend.”
- “I’m not really interested in traveling back the 50s where women were expected to smile all the time.”
- Bitchface and a simple, “No.” This usually makes guys lose interest pretty fast.
- Use your middle fingers to push up the sides of your mouth.
- “I will when you leave.”
- “I’m regretting my gender reassignment surgery.”
- Turn the question around and ask, “Why aren’t YOU smiling?”
Have your own rebuttals? I would love to know! Drop your suggestions in the comment box and maybe we can come up with a long list of witty responses.