I am not about to talk about how it is not in fact a woman’s job to look pretty for you, she doesn’t owe you a smile, and how she doesn’t care how much prettier she’d look if she were smiling (though I adamantly agree with and support those statements).
No, I’m just going to talk about the last time it happened to me.
Here’s the thing. I went to a Starbucks. I used the mobile ap to order a drink and a ‘snack box.’ When I got there, the barista said, “I’ve got bad news – we’re out of the snack box you wanted. The good news is you can have anything else you want.” Important note – I wasn’t upset by this. I didn’t have my heart set on the specific snack box I’d wanted (boiled eggs, some fruit, some peanut butter), I just wanted a snack. So I grabbed a cheese and fruit snack box instead and was perfectly happy with that.
We went over to the register so he could make the exchange and then he offered me a $4 ‘recovery card’ off my next visit. Cool! Now I’m actually pretty happy about the whole situation.
I noticed a tray of bite sized portions of some chocolate baked good and asked about it. He told me (double chocolate pound cake) and said they were offering samples and I could have one. Super cool!
At this exact moment, if you had asked me, I would have said I was smiling. At any rate, I felt confident I had perfectly pleasant expression on my face. I wasn’t sad or mad. Nothing I had said or done would have indicated I was unhappy in any way.
Important note – I could have been this kid’s mom. Important follow up note – I am not what most people would call conventionally attractive. I mention this because I’m pretty confident he was not flirting with me. I mean, anything’s possible, but… probably not.
And then he said, “The only price is a smile.” And I reflexively smiled (dammit).
Then I went to my table, watched some Netflix, ate my snackbox (cheese and fruit and crackers. Yum), drank my tea, and nibbled on the sample of cake (super tasty!).
And instead of enjoying my Netflix, all I could think about was why he asked me to smile.
When I got to my friend’s, I asked them “Do I look like I’m pissed off all the time?” I mean, I know I have resting bitch face. It’s a chronic, long term condition for me, but still. (the answers were “no, yes, and ‘only when you look at me,’).
Two days later, I’m still bothered by it. I mean… seriously… resting bitch face. I have it. But he asked me to smile at a moment that I thought I was smiling. Dammit.
So just don’t do that. Don’t do it for all the feminist reasons you’ve ever heard, but also don’t do it because it made me feel bad for at least two days because I wish I had a happy smiley face and I don’t and thanks for reminding me that I look mad all the time and that probably drives people away.
… shit, I wonder if that’s part of why do many people say I’m intimidating.
Anyway, please don’t ask a woman a smile, ok?