September 14, 2009


A coworker was telling me that it creeps her out when some random stranger tells her to smile. I've never had this happen to me, but I have had other women tell me that it happens to them, and that they don't really enjoy being told that. I don't blame them. It's somewhat intrusive. Telling someone to smile is not the same as trying to do something for someone to make them smile. There are often legitimate reasons for not smiling, and I think people should be allowed to express whatever emotion they're feeling, not what emotion those around them would rather see.

This may not be the most civil suggestion, but I offer the following:

The next time some random stranger tells you to smile, you could punch him in the nose and then say:

"The next time you see me, you're not going to say 'smile,' you're going to say 'don't punch me in the nose.' And then I might smile."

As always, let your own conscience guide you.

Posted by James at September 14, 2009 2:23 PM
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It is extremely thoughtless and rude. It happened to me more often when I was younger. Dear nosy old men (it was almost always older men), my face doesn't exist to decorate your landscape!

Perhaps my natural scowl seems more menacing now.

Posted by: Julie at September 15, 2009 7:35 AM

The blog posts get cross-posted to Facebook; unfortunately, the comments on Facebook don't get repeated on my blog. now that would be cool.

In any case, you are far from alone in being annoyed by this behavior. And it definitely seems to be an old male/young female thing.

Posted by: James at September 15, 2009 7:50 AM

I spoke too soon. Today, my boss (an older woman) told a younger man to smile.

But she said it in a threatening tone, so that's completely different.

Posted by: Julie at September 15, 2009 8:18 PM

That's creepy!

Posted by: James at September 15, 2009 9:03 PM

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