Please Don't Tell Me To Smile

Please Don't Tell Me To Smile

Unless you're taking my picture, of course.

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Air travel has always been an exhausting exhibition. For me, at least. After a splendid week vacationing on an Alaskan cruise, I was due back at home in Florida. The airport's security line was going out into the parking garage (literally) and my family and I stood there for hours.

I was relieved when we finally boarded the aircraft. I greeted the pilot and he exclaimed "Come on, smile for me. Give me that smile. I want to see that smile!" My mother and the flight attendant standing next to the pilot softly laughed. I was thoroughly unamused by these witty commands, given the current state of my petty wellbeing. I wrinkled my forehead, scrunched my nose and stretched my lips, resembling a countenance of unfortunate chronic constipation. Depicting this expression for the honorable pilot felt like an hour long, although it was only two seconds. The pilot awkwardly chuckled and greeted the next passenger in line. After the plane safely landed, the pilot asked me again to smile for him on the way out. I did not entertain this foolish bit and I was fed up. I politely thanked him for the flight and scurried out. "She's hiding behind her hair! Look at that!" He laughed and clapped his hands. My head was on fire.

This exchange instantly brought me back to the first time an old man told me to smile for him. I was 10 years old. It was Christmas Time and my father was in search of vintage lights to hang on our Christmas tree. My father went inside a music store to test out some drum kits and I was standing outside looking at antique dolls. An old man passed by paused and walked up to me. "Excuse me," he said. I looked up. "Smile for me." Confused, I did what I was told. The stranger smiled back, said thank you and left. I was a bit "weirded out" and told my friends, who was instantly frightened when I told the tale. They advised me to never talk to old men alone.

From that memory, I always disliked it when a man tells me to smile for them. It's uncomfortable, awkward and rather smutty. What is the intention of men telling women to smile for them? Do they think they are trying to cheer them up? It's a wholesome idea but something more suggestive keeps creeping in. It's those strange undertones that derive from a man asking a woman to do something for him, given if he is a friend, relative or stranger. I know the pilot was making an innocent joke as an attempt to livin up the overall mood of the aircraft, however, he picked the wrong girl.

If you would like to see a woman smile, you can purchase a beautiful Barbie doll to carry around in your pocket.

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