19 July 2013

Hey, now, smile! What could be that bad?

If you’re one of those people who walks up to random strangers and says stuff like that, stop it. You might think you’re being friendly or outgoing, but the truth is, you’re being mean. What you might see as an icebreaker or a friendly way to start some small talk with someone is actually a verbal attack.

Random Dude just planted himself near me while he waited for his drink at Starbucks; I’m sitting here working (or pretending to; Facebook and Fark are attracting a lot of my attention) and not engaging in either happy or sad thoughts. I’m just sitting here, minding my own business. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to tell me to not frown; I should smile, life is good!

Well…fark you, Random Dude. This is my face, like it or not. My mouth has a slight natural downturn to it, so no; I’m not always sitting here with a perpetual smile on my face. I’m not sad, I’m not angry; this is what I look like. Insinuating I must be upset is akin to telling me I’ve hit a couple of branches while swinging around the ugly tree.

This isn’t the first time this has happened; off the top of my head I can think of two other times in the last year alone someone has come up to me and told me to smile. Hey, nothing is that bad. When I was younger I used to plaster on a fake smile for the hell of it; now I either shrug or tell them life might be good, but yeah, it can suck sometimes.

Random Guy today, though? Something about him irritated the snot out of me, and without thinking I grumbled, “Yeah, my mom died recently.”

[For the record, I apologize to my weeks-dead mother for using her, but being that she had the same set of her mouth and surely got the same crap once in a while, she’d appreciate it.

Granted, she would suck in a sharp breath and blurt, “You didn’t!” but then she would laugh her asterisk off.]

It caught Random Guy off guard, in any case. His eyes went wide, he mumbled an apology, and couldn’t grab his drink and get out of there fast enough.

So, yeah. Don’t tell someone to smile. Chances are they’re neither unhappy nor sad; it’s just their face. And if they are sad, telling them to smile is discounting their feelings. If they’re not, telling them to smile is discounting their appearance.

Don’t be Random Guy.


Derby, Ducky said...

Agreed, no one has to go around with a smile or silly grin on their face all the time. People do have serious things on their minds and it may not be happy stuff.

angelgypsy said...

I'll bet you a thousand to one, that guy NEVER does that to a male. In fact, I bet NO one ever does that to males. It's fucking rude and I hate it. I don't appreciate being told how to look or feel. FUCK OFF.

You're so dead on. It's not harmless.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

I'm laughing with you and your Mum about his reaction.

Angel and Kirby said...

Good for you! He needed a hard lesson!

Sleepypete said...

I have the opposite thing with my mouth - I have a natural grin ...

I'm with you with the "don't tell people to smile" - that can lead to violence ... People who do that forget that other people have problems that they're trying to cope with.

I never tell people to smile but I hope that natural grin pulls smiles out of people and brightens their day when they see it. It definitely brightens my day when I see them smile.

I wonder if me grinning is a non-verbal way of telling people to smile ? Never thought of it like that before.

caircair said...

Based on your picture, I'd say you look like you were concentrating on something. Besides, an upturned mouth doesn't necessarily mean a happy person - it's the eye crinkles that sell it.

But you're right. It's nobody's business if I'm smiling or not - and if I'm not, why I'm not.

Mighty Kitty said...

LOL A great response might be "I am really thinking hard about what I am doing. Try it sometime... with a grin on your face!" LOL I wonder if that would cause a collision in their head!

Stacie said...

I agree 100%! I have frown lines between my eyes, and unless I'm grinning like an idiot, I look kind of mad. I hate it when "Random Guy" tells me to smile. Random Guy needs to mind his own damn business! ;-)

Chel said...

My husband introduced me to this video: "Resting Bitchy Face Syndrome" because he has the male equivalent.

Roses said...

First of all, high five to you!
(That's for all the times people have told me - with the best of intentions - "You look tired!" Different statement; same effect.)

Second, I was Random Guy. Just once. The guy's wife had just died.
Never again...