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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 02:22 PM

"I stopped telling women to smile (and you should, too)." [View all]

http://www.ebony.com/news-views/when-i-stopped-asking-women-to-smile-981

I never quite understood it when women---relatives, friends, co-workers, etc---complained about men asking them to smile. "You can't have it both ways," I'd argue. "You can't complain about men not approaching you, but also be annoyed with men suggesting that you should try and look more pleasant." Plus, what the hell is wrong with smiling? I guess it could be slightly annoying to hear a request like that all of the time, but how effed up do you have to be to be consistently mad at someone asking you to smile? It's not like these dudes are asking for women to tap dance nude, or even for phone numbers. A smile is a simple, natural, positive act, and I was annoyed with them for being annoyed by the request.

This all changed one day when, well, just let me tell the story.

(snip)

After hearing Nicki tell me the details of her awful week, watching her take a phone call that somehow made things even worse, and seeing her wait for a bus, clearly upset, it angered me knowing there was a good chance some guy would notice this beautiful woman---depressed for various reasons---and politely (but insistently) demand that she put a smile on her face. Despite the fact that he'd had absolutely no idea why she was down---for all he knew, she could have just found out a family member died (which she did, btw)---he might even pepper his request with an annoyingly familiar "Come on, sis. Things can't be that bad." Basically, since they obviously can't or don't experience the range of emotions that any other human (well, any other man) can and do experience, they should be able to smile on demand.

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