“Give us a smile, love.” “You’d be so much prettier if you smiled.” “Smile! It can’t be that bad!”
If you’re a woman with a face, and you’ve taken that face out in public, chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of one of these remarks.
We all appreciate the power of a grin but when you’re having a shitty day, you’re just trying to go about your business, or you just so happen to have a not-so-sunny resting face, having strangers implore you to just smile! can be infuriating. Even if it’s said with the most innocent of intentions.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, body positive activist, author and dancer Whitney Way Thore articulated exactly why this situation is so problematic.
As she recounted, Thore had stopped in at a service station after a long day to pick up some pain relief pills and gum when the store attendant — who addressed her as “sweetheart” — decided to hold her purchases hostage.
“When I went to the counter to pay, he said, ‘You gotta give me a smile if you want this,’ and hid my gum away in his hand. ‘No thanks,’ I told him. ‘I’ll just have the gum.’ He didn’t ring up my gum and instead grumbled under his breath and lectured me about having a bad attitude,” the My Big Fat Fabulous Life star wrote.
Watch: Speaking of well-meaning but irritating phrases, here are the ones single women are sick of hearing. (Post continues after video.)