A man came up to me in the street one day and said, ‘SMILE! It might never happen!’
What might never happen?
How did he know that ‘it’ hadn’t already happened?
Did he walk up to men and say the same thing to them?
This kind of thing happens a lot to me and there is a reason.
Resting Bitch Face
Yes, I have a serious resting face, otherwise known as ‘resting bitch face’ because if you’re not grinning like a lunatic 24/7, apparently you’re a bitch and a miserable one at that. If a man has a serious resting face, does that make him a ‘resting bastard face’?
*Googles resting bastard face*
Apparently it does!
What I want to know, is where did this expectation for women to smile come from?
When a man tells a woman to smile, is it because, at a conscious or unconscious level he believes that they are subservient and exist to please him? Some might see it as a casual remark that means nothing, but what if it’s really about control? The man wanted me to smile, regardless of how I was feeling. For all he knew, I could have been grieving the loss of a loved one. I wasn’t, but the point is that he seemingly had no regard for my feelings, only how my face affected him.
We only have to go back a mere 63 years to see how this was a way of life because women were seen to be subservient to men. Their purpose? To look after them. To keep them happy, no matter what.
Here are a few of the tips on how to be a good housewife taken from Good Housekeeping 1955.
Be a little gay and more interesting for him. His boring day might need a lift and it is one of your duties to provide it for him.
Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
Be happy to see him.
*pauses to violently retch*
Obviously, ‘gay’ has a different meaning these days. In those days, however, it meant carefree”, “happy”, or “bright and showy”.
What I want to know is this: How the hell did these women (whose days consisted of hard graft) manage to smile as they waited on their husbands hand and foot? How more men didn’t end up with arsenic in their tea, I’ll never know. Can you imagine spending the morning on your hands and knees scrubbing hard floors only to have hubs walk all over them in his dirty shoes whilst expecting you be a ‘little more gay for him’?
Can you imagine this happening whilst going through the menopause?
In contrast, I just texted my other-half to inform him that the dog’s vomited all over the kitchen floor. How’s that for gay?
1950s wife was probably knackered by tea-time. The poor cow most likely wanted to drink gin and fall into a coma, but instead she was expected to put her lippy on, smile and be entertaining. She probably had five kids to see to as well. Not to mention, ailing parents and grandparents.
Thankfully, we are no longer shackled by such chauvinist bilge – which is why I don’t appreciate random blokes walking up to me in the street and saying stuff like SMILE. It might never happen!
This also goes for the annoying wedding photographer I encountered in the 80s.
‘Are you going to give me a smile ‘shuggie’?’
Fuck off. I’m 12 years old, hormonally imbalanced to the point of murdering somebody (you, if you don’t piss off) and I’m being forced to wear a pink dress when I should be wearing my jeans and AC/DC tee shirt. Kindly take your smile and shove it in your camera-bag.
P.S Don’t call me shuggie.
Fair dos. He was a photographer. It was in his job description to make people smile, but it’s still annoying when you are a raging tomboy in the throes of adolescence and some bloke is trying to make you smile when all you really want to do is listen to heavy metal and get on with hating the world.
Goes for school photographers too. Annoying gits. I hated school with a PASSION. Why on earth would I want to smile? Do people smile in hell? DO THEY?!!
Incidentally, I didn’t say ‘cheese’ in my school photographs. I silently screamed ‘HELP!’
My high school photograph was a stunner: Greasy hair, angry looking acne and an expression that would curdle milk. Needless to say, I set fire to it at the earliest opportunity!
I don’t have to smile if I don’t want to. If I was to smile 24/7, I would expect to be carted off to the nearest secure-unit or A & E because people might assume I’ve had some kind of seizure. We are not meant to bloody well smile all the time. Smiling makes your face ache, so they have to be worth it, right?
Ironically, ‘face ache’ is a term for people who don’t smile.
‘Eh up! Here comes face-ache.’
Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness in this? Isn’t the world confusing enough?!
Of course, we could always flash people our very best Jack Nicholson (The Shining) smile..
You’ve got to show em teeth, see. Top AND bottom. It’s a predatory thing. Technically, it’s a smile, but it’s a menacing one. Makes people uneasy. They can never quite work out if you’re harmless or a serial killer. Do try it the next time some arsepuffin tells you to ‘Smile. It might never happen’ and watch how fast they leave the scene.
I wish people wouldn’t assume that just because I’m not smiling, I’m not happy, because very often, I am. I’m comfortable with my serious resting face. It’s my face. When I smile, it’s because I have reason to, not because some random walks up to me in the street and demands one. I reserve my (non-psycho) smiles for the people I love because they are worth the effort. Whether it’s a happy smile or sad. It’s real. It’s me.
Not smiling makes me smile ~ Kanye West