You would all be shocked how many people on the streets of Santa Monica and Venice tell me to smile. I know they think they’re helping me out in life, but that’s not how I see it.
One man with a “Feed the Children” tee shirt on the Third Street Promenade said to me “Hey, smile! Life is good.” I wasn’t perturbed by him but I responded,
“I’m sorry. I have resting bitch face.”
He laughed. The irony was that I made him smile and he failed to make me smile. But really, have you ever wondered why people say that?
Here are the reasons I’ve come up with.
1. Smiling, at its core, is the most basic way of telling if a person is happy. But if you ask someone to smile when they’re sad or just stagnant, are you promoting a false association with smiling and a different emotion? And how does that effect your emotion association when you tell someone to do that? Are you the joker? Are you going to tell me how you got those scars? *wink* *wink*
2. People think that they’re reminding you that you’re lucky or that even if you’re having a bad day, there’s a better one to come. These people are well-intentioned and easily singled out.
3. A lot of the people who’ve said this to me are men. And after I grin they always say, “you’re prettier when you smile.” This does bother me. It feels like being sized up, like a rotisserie chicken someone is looking at taking home for dinner. To these people I’d like to say “Fu** you.” Now, I’m not one to take on large issues like feminism or cat calling. I prefer to take on smaller issues, like the individual, the self, because isn’t that easier?
That’s all I’ve come up with thus far on the morality of asking someone to smile. Questions, comments, concerns? You can take it up with either my customer service link, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR just leave it in the comments section. below like a normal reader.
Take it easy.