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Do Tell: How Do You React When a Man Tells You to Smile

I never really dealt with this problem until I moved to New York City, where it seems men from all walks of life and ages often felt the need to stop me in my tracks by telling me to smile.

I don't think a man can understand how infuriating it can be to be asked to smile when you're in the middle of something — like thinking, daydreaming or just zoning out. Why should I smile at you, I think, just because you asked me to. Shouldn't I smile when I feel like it? It's invasive, it's sexist (women are supposed to always be happy and pay attention to men), and basically, it's just annoying.

I tended to ignore them, which sometimes then made them angry. "Bitch," they'd say. Or maybe, "Why so unhappy?" Sigh. How do you react when a man tells you to smile?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
dikke-kus dikke-kus 7 years
Yes very annoying. Hope you enjoy some of my suggested answers: "Give me a reason." "I don't take orders." "I'll smile when you disappear." "Ich spreche Englisch nicht." "Make me." "Then tell me a good joke." "I don't smile on Mondays between 2pm and 4:30pm (or whatever day it is they ask) "Why, am I on candid camera?" "I have lockjaw." "When I see something I like." "Money makes me smile. A big heap. Do you have any?" "When I feel like it I will."
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 7 years
I live in NYC and that happens to me all the time! Super annoying. Its no ones business why Im not smiling and ppl need to mind theres! lol
Jesi_Oh Jesi_Oh 7 years
I get this SO often and like other posters it's nice to know I'm not the only one! I find it invasive and somewhat sexist but will usually just smile because its easier and my lack of smile is usually because of a neutral not a bad mood. Once though, I was having a genuinely crap day and a random guy on the street said "why don't you smile for me sweetie" so I replied "why don't you dance for me monkey-boy". To be honest, the look on his face totally cheered me up ha ha!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
Usually when someone tells me to smile, I glare at them as if to say "its my freaking face so shut your pie hole"
Carrie14884290 Carrie14884290 7 years
I don't have a good answer for this, I just wanted to chime in and say how relieved I am that I'm not the only one annoyed by this!
rocketzipper rocketzipper 7 years
lol i always thought i was the only one who got this randomly in the street. always made me wonder if i had an angry face or something. good to know im not the only one. Though it doesnt bother me everytime, it is annoying to hear when you're walking down the street, and im sure people would still have something to say if you were to walk with a permanent smile on your face.
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 7 years
This has happened to me like twice in the past few weeks. I went downtown, to some bars and I was walking with friends, and I wasn't smiling and a guy would pass us and say that I wasn't smiling. But, it was in a rude and harassing way. Ugh...
sabriel2 sabriel2 7 years
This usually happens to me when I'm at work (at a coffee shop where I'm already forcefully smiling more than I would normally). I'm not really sure where men got the idea that this is a really good pick-up line. It's not charming, it's rude. I usually throw them an obviously fake smile or say "I'm sorry, I'm trying to work right now." It just makes me feel invaded.
cg130 cg130 7 years
Ugh, so annoying! I just ignore them.
cloroxcowgirl cloroxcowgirl 7 years
Oh, I have had this happen many times over the past few years - probably because I'm often lost in thought when I'm walking around by myself. Its my time to think, and it does annoy me when men try to change my mood by telling me to smile. The last time this happened to me, I just nodded at the guy and said , "No, " because I was having a bad day and didn't feel like smiling, and felt like it was none of his business.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
It makes me feel stabby. And honestly, I'd look like a fool if I walked around grinning at nothing all day.
Talldiva45 Talldiva45 7 years
People in general have always said this to me. I must have an angry look when I walk around but I am certainly not going to cheese out all day w. a big grin all the time! Lordy...just not normal. But just bc I am not smiling doesn't mean that I am unhappy - just naturally contemplative or just dazing. I DO get angry and feel uncomfortable when a man says it - something is just not right about it. I get annoyed when anyone says it in general - I just want to say mind your own business... I like the make me answer! ha - will just have to bust that one out!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
Has anyone ever read any of the Hollaback blogs? They are a great place to vent and to share stories about dealing with street harassment. This is the DC one: I know there are ones for New York and other big cities, as well.
Symphonee Symphonee 7 years
I have told hundreds of guys over the year to either "suck one" or "do something to make me" over the years because of this. I hate and I still do. Most of the time I am thinking to myself and by saying that, you just interrupted me. Leave me alone. I prefer to scowl because guys can be pushy pervs
tglynn tglynn 7 years
I've gotten this a lot. The last time I was at six flags a cashier wouldn't sell me a water bottle unless I smiled for him. UGH. I JUST WANTED WATER.
Amanda-La Amanda-La 7 years
Yep I hate it. It's usually by weird guys anyway.
J-Rabbit J-Rabbit 7 years
Nice to see I'm not the only one who has had to deal with this. I think it's interesting that you didn't have to deal with this until you moved to NYC. It's the opposite for me; I haven't heard "you should smile" since I moved to the NYC area. I always figured women not smiling was accepted more. Or strangers weren't as likely to talk to each other. idk.
Desert Desert 7 years
I've NEVER been asked to smile. I feel cheated!!!!!!! *kidding*
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