By Krista DeJulio – Co-Editor-in-Chief
I have a bad habit of telling really terrible jokes and sometimes find myself telling my friends to smile or to lighten up when they don’t laugh at my jokes. It doesn’t surprise me when people don’t laugh, but I surprise myself when I tell people to actually laugh at my jokes. When did I turn into my worst nightmare?
Yes, my worst nightmare consists of people telling me to smile and lighten up. Yes, I’m mis- erable, but that doesn’t mean you have any right to tell me to smile. When did I turn into one of those creepy old guys who love to tell girls to smile? There’s nothing wrong because I’m not smiling, old guy. This is just my face. There’s no reason I should be smiling at you anyway.
I like to work, I have loved nearly every job I ever had. It’s hard to be chipper and happy and not miserable though. I am naturally a miserable person so it takes a lot of energy for me to fully commit to being a smiley person at my jobs, but I do so anyway.
I worked two jobs over the summer and one job as a hostess. As one knows, a hostess can sometimes be the first impression someone has of a restaurant. They can either make or break a restaurant depending on their service. A server who worked with me told me multiple times I needed to be nicer and smile for the sake of the customers. Excuse me? Of course I’m being nice to the customers and smiling at them. The wom- an who hired me told me she did so because she thought I had a nice smile. There is no reason I have to smile every time I see your face. I do my job and move on with life.
To me, a strange man telling me to smile is the equivalent of being catcalled. Both are com- pletely unprovoked and leave me feeling dirty and more miserable than I was to begin with. What’s with the need to tell me to smile? Are you not happy with your own life?
But imagine going about your day, mind- ing your own business, you’re at the mall, you’re at work, you’re just WALKING, and a man tells you to smile. What prompted you to do that, sir? Would me smiling make you feel better about yourself? Because now I don’t feel good about myself. I will complain about you to my friends and co-workers and they’ll tell me you’re just a jerk and eventually I’ll forget about it.
But it hurts. Why should I smile to make your day better? What if I was actually having a bad day? “Why aren’t you smiling? You’re too pretty not to smile. Why are you upset?” You’re a complete stranger and, news flash, you prob- ably don’t deserve to be anything more than a stranger when you speak to me like that.
I hope one day I can walk down the street wearing a Pink Floyd shirt and not have a peer stick his entire body out of a car to yell how much he loves Pink Floyd and me. I hope one day I can walk down the street and not have an innocent looking old man who turns out to be rude tell me to smile. Both have happened to me and I would never wish it upon anyone.
So, I’m sorry to all of my lady friends who have been subjected to this weird form of catcall- ing (and I’m also sorry to anyone I’ve ever told one of my bad jokes to. You really don’t deserve that). There’s not much we can do about these most-likely misogynistic men who wonder why we aren’t smiling. For now, the best we can do is to just keep frowning and pissing off this certain breed of man.