Give Him The Finger & 8 Other Responses For The Guy Who Told You To Smile

November 14, 2012  |  
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Ladies, I already know that you know where I’m coming from with this one. You’re walking out of your apartment, thinking about all of the things you have to do today, when a man, a man you don’t know from Adam, instructs you to smile. *Sigh* There are so many things wrong with this lame azz pick up line. First, you don’t know me or what I may be going through in life right now. Second, a simple hello will do. And third, what real person, aside from a cartoon character, or a member of the Brady Bunch family walks around smiling all day long?!? As terrible as this pick up line is, it can catch you so off guard that your first instinct may be to do just what homeboy asked you to do in the first place. No! Don’t let stranger man win! Instead, hit him with one of the following responses, so he knows that the “smile” line is all the way played out.

Blank Stare

This is my personal favorite, so I decided to put it first on the list. Chances are when he, (it’s almost always a he isn’t it?) told you to smile, you weren’t exactly angry, you were just preoccupied in your own thoughts. Since he decided to interrupt them with his demands, stare him down with a look of apathetic emptiness. Surely, that will let him know that not only do you have no intention of smiling, you will not be interacting with him on any other level either.

Just Say No

I could get really deep and say that strange men ask us to smile on the street because historically women have been relegated to a position of service, and not just service, but service with a smile. I can almost hear the generations of pre-feminist, maternal coaching. Fix him his dinner! Bring him his plate! Just lay there! And do it with a smile, baby. It sounds ridiculous, but we all well know that there are men who yearn to have those days back; and any woman who is not walking around with a smile plastered on her face, is a woman who is a threat to the system, the good ole days. We can’t have that, now can we, tell her to smile! When he does that, tell him NO! Flat out. That’ll teach him. (By the way, I’m just kidding about the feminist/patriarchal system thing…or am I?)


If being ladylike is the furthest thing from your mind, go straight primal and snarl at him. Not only will you shock him right back, he’ll probably think “This chick is crazy!” and lose all interest in pursuing you.

Roll Your Eyes

Aside from the blank stare, this is my next go-to response. Honestly, a lot of these men just don’t know how annoying it is to be told to smile, because no one’s told them to smile since they were little boys posing for their elementary school pictures. If he only knew that you were thinking of a master plan that ain’t nothing nice, he would understand why your brow is furrowed in deep concentration. Too bad, you’re too busy to explain all of that to him; so instead give him an eye-roll to let him know, his request is ludicrous.


Fake Smile… and then release

You know what I mean right?! When you give the person the cheesiest smile ever and then snatch it back real quick. Grin…and close, real fast like. Still can’t quite picture what I mean? Ok, I didn’t want to have to do this but allow Ms. Minaj to demonstrate…again.

*Note: The Itchbay at the end is completely optional*

Say your dog just died, fake sob and run in the other direction

The thing about telling people, you don’t know, to smile is that you don’t know what life event might be causing them to walk around with a scowl on their face. If you’re in the mood to teach someone this very valuable lesson, just burst into tears and run the other way. Not only will you have avoided further conversation, maybe next time ole dude will consider that it’s real out here in these streets and people go through thangs.

Say, “You Smile!”

Just this past Saturday, before my foot had even crossed the threshold onto the street, this man, who just so happened to be walking past my building, said “Why you looking so mean for?” Several things ran through my mind, in quick succession: “Why did you end that sentence in a preposition?”, “To protect myself from losers like you.”  and “Ugh!” When I calmed down and replayed the incident in my head, I realized that homeboy wasn’t exactly smiling either. I hit him with the blank stare that time; but the next time someone comes at me with the smile line, I’ll be sure to tell them to do the same and see how he likes it.

Tell him you are smiling

This will work if you’re into leaving people standing dazed and confused in the shadows. The key to this pointer, is that once you say it, you hit him with maybe a full second of your straightest face, and then dash off. By the time, you’ve made it down the street, he’ll have just figured out that you probably dissed him.

Smile…for real this time

Up until now, I’ve talked a lot of trash. And while we ladies know the response when it comes to street hollerers, is to ignore, dismiss, insult avoid, we also recognize that when our curiosity is piqued, or the man is foine, then there’s nothing wrong with engaging. So if you see potential in this man, despite his wack approach, then by all means, go ahead and indulge.

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