HowDareThey
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Mar 26, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
Curious though, what those smile commanders are really thinking and the response they truly expect. Do they really think the person is going to smile happily at them? Or do they know they are being asses and are trying to provoke? In any case, any such men (or occasional smile commander women) who see this blog should be doing a facepalm right now and saying "Oh my GOSH I've been stupid, I'm not telling strangers to smile again! My bad!" People don't learn that fast though, they tend to rationalize and project, but we can dream. Lol.
Mar 26, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
Is it truly unclear to anyone though, that randomly instructing a stranger to smile is nosy and bossy? Is there anything hard to understand about that? I used the simplest words I could think of.
Mar 26, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
@142 I believe 141. Men are once in awhile targeted by this sort of thing, by men and by women, and women are targeted occasionally by women. It is overwhelmingly male to female, but not exclusively.
Mar 26, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
@130 what is it about this that you perceive as a compliment? Werid!
Mar 24, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
Come to think of it, back in the day I mostly walked away in silence, avoided eye contact, or sometimes looked at the bozo like he was an odd duck. Difference is then I was more upset by it as if it had something to do with ME, whereas I now realize I am not the cause of the misguided and inappropriate behavior of strangers on the street. They are responsible for their own behavior, and once I was clear on that, it didn't bother me as much. I don't care for it, but am less upset by it.
Mar 24, 2013 HowDareThey joined My Stranger Face
Mar 24, 2013 HowDareThey joined My Stranger Face
Mar 24, 2013 HowDareThey commented on This Morning a Man Told Me to Smile....
It's clearly rude to order people to smile. No two ways about it. I used to get a lot of that crap when I was young. No idea the motivation, but whatever the meaning, it's misguided behavior. We didn't have internet blogs like these in the early 90s so I couldn't google this experience and I thought it was just me and was really creeped out by it.

Now, however, if it were to happen, I'd have fun with it. Saying things like "Huhn? What did you say? I can't hear you. You want to say that louder? " and then just walk away giving him a puzzled look like he was a really odd duck. Or scowling and obvious fake exagerrated scowl and saying "What's that you say now?" waving my fists or something. Or many, many other possible fun responses.

Obviously it's a judgment call and you have to determine a) if you feel safe enough in the situation to be a little provocative and b) if it fits your own style/sense of humor. The behavior is clearly passive aggressive and puts you in a double bind: if you comply, you are allowing them control, and if you become angry at the effort to control, they can pretend you confirmed their observation that something is wrong and they had a right to address it. So the two things to never do is never be overtly angry, and never actually smile. Puzzlement, shock and goofy fake joking anger but without a smile are best.

I haven't had repeat offenders in years, but then, I'm middle aged now (tho mistaken for younger... and luckily, with the years, get fewer and fewer comments on that too, that's another story.)

The point is, this street harassment is wrong and annoying, yes, but it's important not to internalize it or give it too much power. If there is a way to make the offender feel foolish and uncomfortable, go for it, but showing anger just sends them into ways to rationalize themselves and put you down, and learn nothing, as you see from the comments here.
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