notice, gentlemen...she's not smiling, and they're even
harassing her in italian, while wearing well-tailored suits.
which scenario do i hate more?
i cannot decide...
walking down the nyc street, minding my own damn business, i walk past a young or old or smart or dumb or successful or homeless man (because disrespect for women, apparently, crosses all color, class and education barriers) who is, as the young folks say, checking me out. i do not make eye contact. i have learned, after being here for 7 years, to never make eye contact, but i can feel his eyes graze my body...if eyes could nibble and sting, they would...reducing me to nothing so much as human, just a series of objects or (ahem) orifices for him to critique and appraise...
slimily, man in scenario #1 says:
yo, baby. look it that...hmhmmm, that's how i like it. nice and tight. what's yo digits? nice headlights. oh yeah...
blah di blah di blah...sadly, if you are a woman, you know the drill.
i bristle. i want to scream. i want to shout. i want to throw my backpack at their smug little misogynistic faces and demand that they give me their mother's telephone number so i can call her immediately and ask:
did you mean to raise a heathen with zero respect for women?
i do not do this, of course. i ignore. i proceed...seemingly unmiffed. i am an actress, after all. i am Queen and they, are not worthy of my attention. (deep down, of course, i am a ruffian peasant girl who would love nothing more than to hurl expletives at them and grind their faces into N.Y.P.D. equine dung, but i mustn't muss the hair nor disturb the crown, and the cape is on loan from Phantom.)
or, man in scenario #2 says, suavely (is suavely an actual adverb? i dunno, but you get my drift.):
hey, where's the smile? why don't you smile? i'll bet you've got such a pretty smile. oh, c'mon. why don't you give me a little smile?
see. i get it. i'm not supposed to be as upset by this little come on because he's referring to something innocent; my smile. nothing taboo, like my bosom or bottom or whoozywhatzit, but puhleezz....maybe i'm getting a little Feminazi on you, but it's just another form of objectification, and it ticks me off.
just because our female bodies are visible...yes, we have breasts. yes, we have a butts. yes, we have a smiles that can melt the hearts of men, and yessireebobster, these jewels are foreign to you. you do not possess these miraculous female tresors, poor dear, and i understand that this makes them evermore intriguing, appealing, and all the more difficult to ignore, but...this does not make them open to public scrutiny and/or harassment. our bodies do not take requests for dates, smiles, or (ahem) otherwise from strange men on the street, in a bar, or whizzing by in their environmentally-incorrect, gas-guzzling, overcompensating-for-lack-of-something-else Hummer vehicles.
ok, ok...stepping off soapbox now. sorry.
please. just be human, and say something novel like...
hello. how are you? disgustingly humid day we're having, eh?
and try, please try, not to talk at our breasts. much as they would like to, they cannot respond.
so in my little fantasy...here's what i'd say...to mr. scenario #2:
what? am i not allowed to have a bad day? do you think life is one perpetual Crest Whitestrips commercial, and that God painted this miraculous smile on my face simply to brighten your sad, pitiful day? no, sir, i do not have a smile for you. what i do have is a Jennifer Garner-esque round-the-world-kick that will dislocate your nose from your face if you tell me to smile one more time . perhaps, i do not feel like smiling. perhaps, my dog died. perhaps, i just lost my job. perhaps, i am wearing a thong that is chafing so badly i'm rushing home to slip into some white cotton granny drawers. perhaps, i do not care that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. perhaps, i like to think of it as a little bonus workout, burning off excess calories by scowling as i walk down the street...ignoring you . i do not have to be happy. i do not have to smile. i have the right to have a fucking bad day without an endless litany of sappy requests from you to put on my eyelet lace Pollyanna panties and bake you happy-face cupcakes, so back the fuck off!
i feel like smiling.