I probably deserve to be in E-Hell for my reaction but nonetheless I am submitting this story. A few weeks ago my grandfather had two strokes, a heart attack and slipped into a coma. After being told by several specialist that my grandfather would spend the rest of his life connected to tubes my grandmother decided the best course of action would be to remove him from the ventilator. Since she wanted family members to be able to say their good byes she decided to wait for a few days. The day came and I drove to the hospital thinking I would be fine but as soon as I parked my car I began crying. I composed myself for the long walk to the ICU and just before getting to the elevators I encountered a man who said, “You need to fix your face and show me that gorgeous smile.” I responded with, “F*** off!”, and continued walking past him. I was very tired, upset and generally not in the mood to show off my “gorgeous smile” because my grandfather would no longer be around. I was very close to him and even though he has been gone almost a month still find myself wanting to ask him something. (Just this morning my mom asked me how much I though a new garage door would cost and I almost responded “Ask grandpa.”)
My face relaxes into a non-smile even when I am happy. I realize my reaction was not appropriate but why do men feel it is appropriate to ask random women to smile at them. Is it that I should be happy because they have shown an interest in me? Should I base my mood on how much male attention I receive? And yes, maybe they are trying to “be nice” but should realize that my non-smile may have good reason behind it. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging someone but too often I am acknowledged by referencing my physical appearance. I am too often told to smile by strangers. Strangers who get upset when I don’t oblige their request. All I am saying is that before you decide that the woman in front of you needs to smile think that maybe she is not in the mood to smile and your invasive request may sour her mood further. 0917-12
I think people use the “Smile!” command when they see something amiss yet have no social graces to really offer anything that addresses the root cause. Upon seeing someone in distress, and presuming one felt compelled to offer help, the proper questions to ask would be, “Is there anything I can do to help? Would you like a tissue or drink of water or coffee? Would you like prayer?” (You would be surprised how many people willingly respond to the offer of prayer.) Be willing to be a sounding board, offer a hankerchief or tissues, say only, “I am so sorry” if appropriate and know when to back off.
I’m not enamored with the use of the F bomb in response to stupidity, especially good intentioned stupidity gone wrong. Ignoring him is about as much attention as the man deserved and responding with vulgar words is reciprocal rudeness.
FYI to all commentators, I am not approving any comments which endorse, condone or high five the OP for the use of the F Bomb…I think many people need to get over their entitled right to use extreme curses in response to irritations and offenses. It’s as if those of you approving of this retaliatory rudeness cannot conceive of any better way to handle a situation and that defeats the entire purpose of this blog.