Victoria Lennox

Today I was walking along the road, just finished work, lost in thought considering what to make for my tea and what I had to do when I got home. Out of nowhere a dude who was crossing my path demands that I ‘give him a smile…’ – I was a little taken aback because I didn’t recognise this guy so it took me a moment to understand he was coming at me semi-aggressively to submit to him with a smile because clearly my thinking face was offensive to him – so when I just looked at him blankly and, of course, did not ‘give him a smile’ he continued walking but made sure I heard him call me miserable and that I ought to ‘cheer up.’ I stopped for a second, watched him walk away and seriously considered going after him to ask how did he know me? If he didn’t know me – then why was he talking to me in so demanding and aggressive a fashion, how did he know that I hadn’t jiust been diagnosed with a serious illness/threatened with eviction/a myriad of other things that women/people must deal with in life, also – do most other people bounce down the road with a smile painted across their faces lovingly gazing on their fellow humans for no apparent reason and – the most obvious – does he become deeply offended when men (especially men physically bigger than him) are making their way through the street without smiling? Would he challenge them to ‘give him a smile’ and to ‘cheer up’…I highly doubt it. In a blatant display of his privilege and power, I allowed him to continue unchallenged but angry – I felt (fleetingly) verbally assaulted by a (male) stranger in a way which surprised and disturbed me in it’s covertness. I stood still in the middle of Morrisons before telling myself he was only projecting, was mostly a miserable, lonely t*at himself and that he had given me his anger – I didn’t want it so came here to write this and now feel much better. To other women who have/do experience this – smile not, but bear your teeth.