Seriously? I glare at the beaming dorkguard at Hilltopia Pool. I’ve just finished my swim and I’m tired and cold. It’d been an okay swim till the end when some spaz got in the lane with me and I had to dodge his wave slapping stroke.
Dorkgaurd Smile Commander approaches the women’s locker room door, repeating his smile command and then even goes so far as to make a smile upward shape on his own mug with his index fingers. Grinning widely in pantomime.
"SMILE!!!" he commands again.
“Why?” I growl as he holds the door open for me.
“Because life is good?” he exclaims. “Because it’s a beautiful day?”
I sigh, shake my head. All my life I’ve had men, and it’s always men, telling me to smile. It really pisses me off and normally I’d just let this go but today, well…he got me on a short fuse day.
“You know,” I say, “that’s a really Sexist Thing to say.”
His own smile takes a downturn.
“Do you ever tell men to smile?” I ask.
He pauses for a moment. I can see that he’s thinking about this. “No…” he admits, slowly. “I’ve never told a man to smile.”
Triumphant, I push past him into the locker room, “Well, there you go,” I quip, not looking back as the door slams behind me.
Was I a bit too harsh with him? I mean, he was just joking around right?
Well, from his point of view, he was. But the underlying subtext is that women should always be walking around with a big hearty grin on their faces no matter how they’re feeling. That if they’re not smiling and cheerful, then something is wrong with them. They’re not feminine. They’re not submissive. They’re not some man’s baby doll!
So, when SmileGaurd told me to 'Smile!', this movie was fresh in my mind. Plus! I just had had enough.
A week later, walking in the parking lot to the pool, Smile Guard spies me and stops to wait for me. Oh, damn, I think to myself. Why is he in my Sphere?
“I owe you an apology,” he says, stepping beside me as we make our way toward the Y.
“Yeah, well, it’s an Education,” I say, smiling. “Apology accepted.”
“I’ve been looking for you all week, wanting to say I’m sorry.”
I grin. This is fantastic! I hope he’s lost some sleep over it too!
But I don’t say this, I am in a gracious mood today. Besides, he got it. He’s apologizing. Maybe he’ll think about it next time he tells a woman to “Smile”
Or even better, maybe he’ll never make this sexist command to a woman again. I wish he could go into that French film, shave his legs, wear high heels, be someone’s assistant.
Okay, okay.... I admit, there are a few things I like about sexist behavior. At least he didn’t tell me to smile as I scan my card at the desk and head down the stairs for the pool.