“Cheer up love!” “Give us a smile!”
We’ve heard them all. We’ve also heard the moaning about it all, we’ve heard about the comebacks, so I’m not going to repeat it here. What I am going to do, is share a little continued experiment I’ve been doing and its results.
I tried smiling.
It was an effort. As you can probably guess (as it’s more than likely the same as your own) my face’s default pose is:
I tried walking around, lifting the corners of my mouth into what I hoped was a serene Mona Lisa smile and not a psychotic Jack Nicholson grin.
I treat it as just another way of protecting myself. Like how I try to keep my hands out of my pockets when I’m walking. (A tip I remember from self-defence classes, but in reality it’s mainly to protect my face should I fall over my feet).
Not only did it deter those fellas from interacting with me (maybe they were thinking, “Look at ‘er, she’s a fruitloop, wot she larfin’ at?” or “I won’t bother striking up conversation with a witty observation about my estimation of this lady’s demeanour with a view to engaging her in conversation that may lead to the boudoir, for she is already getting some action, by the looks of that beam”) but by pretending to be overjoyed at, say, walking to the supermarket to buy painkillers, I actually felt happier as a result.
Fake it til you make it.
Also I had a couple of small smiles back off cute guys. Win.
And most satisfying of all was making eye contact with other women on their way to their workplaces, maybe anxious at what their ambulatory commute would throw at them that day, and receiving a huge smile in return for my tentative small one. It was like a high five.
Or maybe they thought I was flirting, because after all this is Brighton and everyone’s gay innit.
So instead of sharing webcomics showing how harmful it can be when unsolicited comments are received, which are only ever seen generally by people which would never do such a thing, try protecting yourself by walking confidently and smiling?
Having said that, my favourite ever response I’ve heard to a “CHEER UP LOVE!” comment is the woman who replied by turning, lifting her middle fingers to her cheeks and raising the corners of her mouth that way. Actual hero.