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Why don't you smile, baby?



Why don’t you smile, baby?


You’re so serious.


Let me see that pretty smile.


I cannot count the number of times men have said some variation of the above to me. It’s usually a random man on the street, at a bar, or at a show. A man with whom I have no relationship.


Well guess what, man. I will not smile because you think I should.


You do not make me want to smile.


Your lingering eyes make my skin crawl.


Your creepy smile makes me feel violated.


I am appalled, but also slightly jealous, by the audacity with which you approach me.


Appalled because such audacity makes me feel small and insignificant. It makes me feel like I exist for no other purpose than to be a pleasing sight to your chilling eyes. It makes me feel like you believe you have control over my body.


Jealous because I sometimes wish I had the same boldness, and zero-f*cks-given attitude as you. I wish I had the confidence to move about the world as if it must yield to me. As if everyone I meet exists for my pleasure only.


And why do you think I should be less serious? Who are you to decide what is serious to me? Who are you to decide what is playful to me? Who are you to demand a smile from me?


+++


I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking I was too serious. (My mom’s maiden name is Serio, so my seriousness and stoic-ness was written in the stars ✨).


I see bubbly, giggly women laughing at everything men say. Their bright smiles make men feel like they are THE man. I see this and I feel like I am lacking. Like I am not doing this whole woman thing the right way. For women are supposed to be bubbly and light, right?


But what if I don't want to be bubbly? Maybe I prefer to be flat like a glass of champagne that was left out on the table after a night of partying.


Maybe, sometimes, I wish for my emotions to be nestled safely into my own heart and womb. I do not wish for them to be exposed and vulnerable to your judgments and demands.


And honestly, sometimes, this life is rather serious.


Serious means: demanding careful consideration or application; acting or speaking sincerley and in earnest, rather than in a joking or halfhearted manner.


I think love demands careful consideration, and is therefore serious.


I think my work in guiding women in living more free and wild lives demands careful consideration, and is therefore serious.


I think the fact that 719 million people on our planet live on less than $2.15 per day is serious. (I’d also like to note that the global poverty rate IS decreasing… I’d say in part because organizations and individuals treat this as a serious matter!).


I think the fact that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade is serious.


I think we all should act and speak a bit more sincerely and earnestly.


So, I suppose I wonder why you aren't a little more serious. A little more thoughtful. A little more earnest.


To be serious does not mean I do not smile or laugh or play. Seriousness and playfulness can, and do, co-exist.


I smile, laugh and play when I want to. Which has never been, and will never be, when you, random man, demand it of me.


I am not sorry if my lack of smile makes you uncomfortable. I do not care if it’s a blow to your big, yet oh so fragile, ego. I do not care of my lack of smile makes your d*ck soft.


If you want to see me smile, how about you do something or be someone who is worthy of my smile?


XO,

Teresa

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