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Smile, Baby. Smile for the camera. Mommy and Daddy want a nice photo of you for their Facebook page. They want to show you off to all of their friends and family. Everyone will be jealous that their little girl is so adorable. People comment about how you’ll be able to get anything you want out of life with looks like that. A real heartbreaker, they say. Smile. You have a bright future ahead. 

Smile, Little Lady. The middle aged men you’re waiting on at work just want a reason to leave you a generous tip. You feel their eyes on you as you walk away, trying not to feel self-conscious. Trying to pretend you didn’t hear the comments they think are hidden. The two have boisterous, unapologetic laughs, but you ignore their words and keep quiet. You really need the money; you can’t afford to say what you’re really thinking. Disguise it. Smile to show your appreciation. You should be flattered by their interest. Anything else would be ungrateful behavior. 

Smile, Bitch. Those college boys in the white pickup circled the block just for you! They  wanted to take a second look at you because there is no way anyone as beautiful as you would be walking around alone.  They came back around so they could give you some more compliments about your tight sweater and the way your ass fits in those jeans. Damn, you have a beautiful mouth too, they tell you. Smile with it. They wonder aloud what else you could do with that beautiful mouth of yours. 

Smile, Woman. God, you never smile anymore. Instead, you’re always bitching and moaning about how the world is taking advantage of you. You can vote, you can own property, you can get any goddamn job you want, yet you’re so sullen about ideas in the past you can never change. You have a lot to be thankful for. A lot for you to look forward to. You say you’re a strong and independent woman, but then you can’t handle a few compliments? A few comments about how attractive you are? Brush it off, babe. 

At least you’re being noticed.

Jessica Garrison is a professional writing major and women's, gender, and sexuality studies minor at Kutztown University.
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