In defence of being a bit miserable.
I think it’s fair to say that there are days when you don’t feel like smiling. It was a long day, you missed the train and, you might start a revolution against whoever designed these loafers because it’s becoming more and more likely that you’ll go into hemorrhagic shock from the sheer amount of blisters that now line your heel.
And, as you stumble down another cobbled street in the damp, December drizzle, limping your way to the pub, a guy old enough to be your dad approaches you, shouting “cheer up, love”.
But, it’s not just the weird guy on the street.
There’s this silent emotional weight on women to be harbingers of positivity, to keep a stiff upper lip and exude a serene smile under immense pressure. Demonstrating patience with unruly children and useless partners. There are endless film tropes of men, losing their temper and flipping tables, whilst tranquil, smiling women placate them with endless positivity.
And, I’m not here championing cynicism. But, we still see sullen women as odd, and sullen men as professional. We still ask women to smile on the street.
And who can forget Kirsten Stewart?
Her crime was not smiling, not through intrusive and unwanted photos, or whilst she was being interviewed. Without acknowledging Stewart’s box office success in the Twilight series, the focus of every tabloid was her supposed lack of congeniality. Whilst her melancholic male colleagues were tortured artists, Stewart was rude.
Even if you’re not a celebrity, women still account for a large percentage of service roles across the UK workforce. Where endless warmth and enthusiasm are simply part of the job description, but it’s worth considering if we would have the same expectation of our male counterparts.
A quick survey on Insta showed that nearly all of the ladies that I polled had been told to ‘smile/ cheer up’
A quick survey on Insta showed that nearly all of the ladies that I polled had been told to ‘smile/ cheer up’, comparatively none of the gentlemen that answered had been posed the same request.
Flashback to me limping down Market street, I felt enraged that some pissed-up eejit had told me to smile. But, instead of stating the above, it was a lot easier to just shout ‘piss off’, and continue with my (seemingly) endless journey.
So, in 2019, we must roll our eyes at the rain, offer an icy glare at the guy that skipped the queue at the bar and (as required) stomp down the with the rage of a woman scorned by uncomfortable shoes.
That, I could smile about.