There is something painfully organic about Mondays. From the moment my alarm goes off, I’m anxiously waiting for 5 O’ Clock. I’m always ready to get Monday done and over with. So after a particularly trying Monday I was elated to leave work. As I made my way to the train, I heard a man trying to gain my attention, “Smile girl. You’re too pretty not to smile.”
The devil horns came out in full force. My eyes were red and I was ready to breathe fire like the dragon I suddenly morphed into. “Shut up! Don’t tell me to smile!” Shocked and scared, he scurried away.
MUST READ: 6 Steps To The Perfect Smokey Eye
What is it with men feeling the need to tell women to smile? I was beyond annoyed and angry. How dare this man give me an order on how to conduct myself!?
While on the train, still pissed, I realized this isn’t new. From birth, little girls are taught to smile. We’re taught to smile during school photos, prom, dance recitals and other social gatherings. Smiling is considered feminine, becoming and welcoming. But it isn’t the smile that’s the problem, it’s what the smile represents.
In the male dominated society we live in, women are supposed to smile through it all and leave no evidence life may be coming undone. We’re suppose to smile through the hurt. When we’ve encountered sexism at the office, or have been solicited for the umpteenth time by a guy on the street, we’re suppose to smile and mosey on about our business. Unlike men who get to proudly showcase anger, you know, that emotion on a woman that isn’t always “attractive.”
But did you hear the comment? “You’re too pretty to not smile.” So swamp donkeys get the opportunity to walk down the street regularly, but I have to be Mary Poppins 24/7?
Sometimes women don’t smile because they’re thinking. Sometimes women don’t smile because they’re confused, or need to get their bearings as they try to undo the tangled mess of their earplugs before connecting it to their smart phone while holding their caramel macchiato. That balancing act alone takes focus!
Sometimes women don’t smile because smiling is often seen as welcoming and dammit, we don’t always want to talk to people! And to be even more frank, sometimes women don’t smile because (wait for it) we’re having a bad day…and that’s okay!
But it’s the audacity that some men think they can just fire off an order to a woman and she should just snap to, that annoys me. On top of the countless male relationship experts commenting on how we should carry ourselves, men have been under the belief they now can make comments about our physical appearance, even if its as small as a smile, as if they’re doing us a favor.
A man telling a woman to smile isn’t for her benefit, it’s for his benefit! Me not smiling doesn’t mean Nationwide isn’t on my side, or I won’t save 15 percent or more on car insurance by switching to Geico. Me, or any other woman opting not to smile disturbs a man’s visual of how he wants to picture that woman walking by.
And to take it one step further the “you’re too pretty not to smile” is also the last ditch effort in trying to approach a woman. While a woman with a bright smile is beautiful, a smiling woman is also a safe woman. It’s a lot easier for a man to work his charm with a chick who’s cheesing than a woman with a straight face.
Do not tell me to smile! I am a grown woman who deals with adult issues and while 80 percent of the time my life is grand, I’m allowed the other 20 percent to be angry, sad, or any other emotion but happy and I don’t need to front about it.
What do you do when a man tells you to smile?
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Check Out This Gallery Of The Hottest Celebs Of The Week!
The Best Celeb Style Moments Of The Week [10-2 to 10-9]
1. Best Celeb Style Moments Of The Week
From Jordin to Kat, check out our favorite style stars of the week!
2. Chrissy Teigen
The newlywed was seen in the East Village this week. We're gonna assume she was shopping.
3. Shanola Hampton
Shanola and her baby bump made a cameo at the People's "Ones To Watch" party.
4. Rochelle Aytes
Rochelle Aytes attends People's "ONES To Watch Party" in an on-trend printed cocktail dress and way too cute curls.
5. Gloria Govan and Laura Govan
The sisters made their red carpet appearance at the People's "Ones To Watch" party in all black with adorb accessories in tow.
6. Kat Graham
That skirt! OMG. Loving everything about this look from Kat Graham as she slayed the red carpet during the People's "Ones To Watch" party.
7. Bria Murphy
All grown up now and looking ultra chic. Bria Murphy attends People's "ONES To Watch Party".
8. Naomi Campbell
The second season of "The Face" is filming now. You can expect to see executive producer and Supermodel at lots of photocalls and promos.
9. Toni Braxton
Legendary singer, Toni Braxton attends a ceremony honoring Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds with the 2508th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
RaVaughn visits 106 & Park with a new do! You like?
11. Seven Streeter
Seven appeared on 106 & Park this week in all camo! #LOVEIT
12. Tamera Mowry
Tamera is giving us sophicated chic on the red carpet at the Club Tacori 2013 event at Greystone Manor Supperclub.
13. Letoya Luckett
Leather is for sure the fabric to swoon over this fall. And LeToya Luckett works it on the red carpet for the ASCAP'S 5th Annual Women Behind the Music Series.
14. June Ambrose
Yep, June got that leather memo too. Or may have even sent it out. She attends the screening for "The Counselor" hosted by Emporio Armani with GQ & The Cinema Society in an army green leather curve-hugging cocktail dress.
15. Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks arrives at the 2013 Hollywood Black Film Festival in an all black frock showing that hard work pays off!
16. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson channels her Olivia Pope during the Variety's 5th Annual Power Of Women Event.
17. Ciara Renee
This dress that Ciara Renee wore to the "Big Fish" Broadway Opening Night After Party is just amazing!
Ashanti sports a blush colored uber-tight cocktail dress at the 2013 kick-off event for Songs for a Healthier America at Symphony Space.
19. Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz
Alicia Keys attends 8th Annual Children's Rights Benefit with her #1 accessory--her husband Swizz Beatz.
20. Adrienne Bailon
Adrienne Bailon attended the "Swim for Relief" Benefiting Hurricane Sandy Recovery--and yes she actually swam!
21. Christina Milian
Paris Hilton has a release party for her new single, "Good Time" and her good girlfriend Christina Milian was there to support.
22. Kerry Washington
The Variety's 5th Annual Power Of Women Event happen and you know our fave Hollywood Starlet hit the red carpet in her normal fabulous attire. #TeamKerry
23. June Ambrose
June looks stunning in creamy ivory leather at Essence's 2014 Upfront.
24. Marsha Ambrosious
We love a fierce suit moment. Marsha's tailored, Olivia Pope meets Janelle Monae-inspired look is giving us the opposite of The Blues!
25. Gabrielle Union, Bethann Hardison, Mikki Taylor, Iman & Afrobella
Look at all these beautiful, Black women on Essence's Upfront panel!
26. Vanessa Bush & Viola Davis
How stunning does Viola Davis look in this green number? We're green with envy at her amazing physique. And hey girl hey at Essence's new EIC, Vanessa Bush!
27. Michelle Ebanks With Gabrielle Union
Beautiful ladies with beautiful smiles. We're gagging over Gabrielle's graphic black & white dress!