“Excuse me, Miss… you dropped something.”
Me stopping my busy day to look behind me, slight panic creeping in– what did I drop?!
“You dropped your smile.”
This line is usually reserved for someone pushing 70, but even if it’s the friendliest grandpa in the world, please, I repeat, PLEASE don’t tell me to smile, or to do anything else. Especially if I don’t know you.
Being told to smile is annoying and can make you feel a little self-conscious, perhaps you didn’t know you were wearing a permanent resting B face. Or maybe you prefer that over looking all sunny and inviting (DON’T TALK TO ME!).
Here are some brilliant ways to respond to that annoying guy who tells you to smile, because who gave him the right?!
1. Give him the ugliest smile you’ve got
Then say: “See dude, this is why I don’t smile,” then burst into tears… there’s nothing worse than getting trapped with a crying stranger, jokes on him muhaha
walking downtown at midnight and a guy stops me to tell me to “smile” so this is what he got pic.twitter.com/UGUtzg7vKw
— Lauren Rutherglen (@traderloes) May 6, 2019
So, why do women get so upset when they are told to smile? Perhaps you’re a nice man who doesn’t understand why a woman would care. After all, you’re only trying to make her smile, and isn’t smiling good for your health?
For one, it’s sexist, even if you don’t mean for it to come across that way.
“Even in the most benign scenarios, it equates to asking a woman to change her behavior or appearance in order to fit what you think is most pleasant,” Karen Fratti writes on Hello Giggles.
Besides, women aren’t running around telling men to smile. When is the last time you heard a woman tell a man she doesn’t know to smile? I honestly can’t think of one instance.
Just like you wouldn’t tell a woman you don’t know what to wear or what to say, you shouldn’t try and dictate the facial expressions she makes.
2. Need this dog in my life
when someone says 'you should smile more'
(soybraco IG) pic.twitter.com/Upj4kFuRFo
— Humor And Animals (@humorandanimals) January 14, 2019
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh wanted to make people think about this form of “street harassment,” which is more common than one might think, and so she started a public art series called Stop Telling Women to Smile.
Fazlalizadeh designs street art posters based on real interviews with women around the world who have experienced street harassment – from being told to smile to being cat called.
The project originated in Brooklyn in 2012 and has been an ongoing work of art ever since.
“Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street – creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe,” writes Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
3. Don’t you dare smile, just pull this stunt instead…
I just had a man at my hotel tell me to smile… pic.twitter.com/xsoWVXVX9c
— Hollie Annie (@hollieanniee) May 4, 2019
Back when Hillary Clinton was sweeping the Midwest in the primaries, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough published a tweet telling Mrs. Clinton to smile. He didn’t tell Trump to smile, or any other man for that matter. The tweet sparked a conversation that remains ongoing today.
4. Ain’t nothing wrong with a resting face
My face every single time a man tells me to smile which is often because coincidently this is also my resting face. pic.twitter.com/saAxixA2e3
— emily ward (@malee_ward) May 6, 2019
Smiling doesn’t mean the same thing in every culture. In fact, a man in New Zealand assaulted a woman after she smiled at him because, as he explained to the authorities, in Malaysia “women who smile are inviting men to follow them.”
The next time some random dude tells me to smile I will turn to him and demand: pic.twitter.com/QalgTLTWhe
— KANtext (@KANtext) May 5, 2019
6. Excuse me while I resist the urge to punch you in the face
If a man tells me to smile, there’s 100% chance I’ve imagined myself punching him in the face
— Haley Piscitello (@HaleyPiscitello) May 6, 2019
7. Just go “full Stuart”
Scott Hall telling a woman to smile.
Why do most men not get how infuriating that can be for women?
— Slick Ricochet (@JaimsVanDerBeek) May 1, 2019
8. $1 banana slicer coming your way!
To the next guy who tells me to smile when I didn't ask pic.twitter.com/MwrFWr8cFz
— lets rip (@karysssaleigh) July 13, 2017
9. This doggo gets it
My face when people tell me, “you have a nice smile you should smile more” pic.twitter.com/0nKKNKFH3F
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@Naomi_Osaka_) April 29, 2019
10. You want to see the opposite of smile?
me casually minding my own business vs me 5 seconds later when a man tells me to smile pic.twitter.com/2cRto9ia6v
— 🥀 (@umemadonna) March 20, 2019
11. What’s there to smile about?! Game of Thrones has gone of its rocker!
When people tell me to smile more pic.twitter.com/1uOBrWTtvS
— Lily Gazaille (@Lily_Gazaille) April 29, 2019
12. The most perfect grill for people who deal with this problem on the regular (and don’t have a day job)
OMFG I NEED THIS FOR WHEN CREEPY OLD MEN TELL ME TO SMILE SomeonePLEASE BUY THIS FOR MEEEEEHHH! pic.twitter.com/RdIafETHOa
— .•°Jenevie Marie°•. (@wildflowerxcr) March 24, 2015
13. No means no, but start with an almost-smile, trick him a little
When people say, “You should smile more…” pic.twitter.com/hnm6cLqwTP
— Karla Souza (@KarlaSouza7) December 3, 2018
14. Into oncoming traffic you go, that’ll give me something to smile about (insert evil grin)
if another man I cross on the street tells me to smile I’m gonna shove him into oncoming traffic
— mica | every day is chuuya day (@micalovesbucky) May 3, 2019
15. You could always resort to traumatizing him
thinkin' about carrying a fake razorblade full of fake blood so the next guy who tells me to smile I can Joker myself & just stare at him
— Jonni Paloona (@lycrashampoo) June 11, 2017
16. Jack face for you, and you!
Any guy who tells me to smile is going to get my Jack face pic.twitter.com/9lRxSoBZCA
— Katie Dunneback (@younglibrarian) January 5, 2016
17. Don’t remove your teeth, just get those terrible fake teeth at the Halloween store
If I have one more random man at church tell me to smile, I’m going to remove all my teeth out of spite.
— Prudence (@PBickhaus) May 5, 2019
There is actually a medical condition that prevents people from being able to smile. It’s a rare neurological condition called Moebius syndrome that causes weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles.
So while we should all appreciate our ability to smile (when we want to), it’s a little insensitive for someone to assume you can smile, don’t ya think?
18. I can’t, I just can’t
When the old creepy guy at work tells me to smile or say good morning pic.twitter.com/L3Cte1kE9c
— Cass Thee Pony (@cvss_) May 3, 2019
19. The blood capsule is the perfect solution – easy to find on Amazon too
Keeping a blood capsule in my mouth for the next guy who tells me to smile.
— summer goth 🦇 (@NicCageMatch) October 29, 2013
20. If looks could kill
“you should smile more”
— femme fatale (@eliesaaab) January 31, 2019