Posted at 7:15 AM Mar 30, 2010
By Andrea Grimes
It appears as though Dear Abby has never been on the receiving end of street harassment--or at least, she didn't realize she was when it happened to her. Because this week's Sad Bastard is from "Offended" in Gilroy, CA, and she certainly has a right to be Offended by the man in the supermarket who commanded her to "smile." A favorite tactic of creeps and street harassers, the "smile" command was brushed off by Abby as a lame pick-up attempt. But those of us who've been told to "smile" before by leering strangers know that it's often a much, much creepier experience than hearing a bumbling "Do these cucumbers look fresh to you?"
I was in the market the other night and a man came walking by me saying, "You dropped something," and was pointing to the floor. I looked down and said, "I don't see anything." He then told me, "You dropped your smile." Abby, I was SO not amused. I turned around going back to my business saying, "Oh, OK." The man proceeded to walk away mumbling, "Don't look so serious. It's only the grocery store."It gives me the heebie-jeebies just reading it. And if you're wondering why, and thinking surely these women must have their overreaction panties in a wad, consider this comment on a recent Sexist article about the "Smile, Baby!" phenomenon?
I hate when people do this. It happens to me a lot and has most of my life. People -- especially seniors -- say, "Don't you dare smile for me, don't you dare!" Or, "Smile! You're too cute not to smile." An old gentleman said, "Oh, she's like ice -- so cold, never smiles." What can I do if this happens again? I don't see the need to walk around the store or sit at my desk at work with a Cheshire cat grin on my face all day.
Because a woman's job is to brighten your day and make you feel better, and to be "pretty" and "sweet" and "happy"! "Smile! It can't be that bad!" Effectively informing you, because as a woman you exist in a perpetual state of ignorance until some random fuckwad comes round with an illuminating piece of homespun male wisdom, that your life is great because you're female and pretty, so don't take anything too seriously lest you harsh the temporary high he gets from harassing you, eyeing you up and down, and making it his business to tell you how lucky you are. You dumb, hysterical bitch.Abby's advice in no way addressed "Offended's" feelings, which were deeply pissed off and creeped out and, well, offended. Abby wrote:
The man who asked if you had "lost" something may have been making a clumsy attempt to pick you up. That sometimes happens in markets. As to the "older people" who comment on your expression -- or lack thereof -- they may consider themselves so "senior" that they can "coax" you into doing as they would like -- like "coochy-kooing" a baby to make it laugh on cue.Yes, those creepy old men harassing you in the store think you are so adorable, they want to treat you like a baby that they can make sexual passes at. What? Ugh.