I was never one of those people who walked down the street smiling for no apparent reason. It’s not that I’m not happy or a miscreant, I’m just not a smug asshole. I’m not necessarily saying that smiling is for assholes, it’s just a little bete noire for me. Proudly boasting self-satisfaction in public just irks me. I also don’t like to attract the unwanted attention of strangers on the street, so I’d rather look away and avoid eye contact. If I walked down the street smiling at people, I feel like they’d be more inclined to believe that I had something to say or offer to them, which I most certainly do not.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve walked down the street and have been told by men and women vociferously, “Smile!” Usually I ignore them, but sometimes I like to respond, “Why would I walk down the street smiling? Don’t you think thats weird?” And then they feel awkward and I carry on, perhaps even with a smile and gaining my own sense of self-satisfaction.
People tend to mistake my apparent cynicism for depression, so I also often hear, “Cheer up! You’re too cute to be sad!” I’m not competing in the beauty portion of Miss America on the street or escaping from Belleveue, I’m simply competing for a cab at rush hour without a smile.
One time I was walking down the street listening to music, and I felt someone pat me on the shoulder. I turned around to see a guy bending down and said, “Excuse me, miss, you dropped your smile on the street,” (and ‘picked up’ an invisible smile on the street and tried to hand it to me). I turned back around, and ignored him, although I thought it was pretty clever. But what wasn’t funny was the fact he continued to keep tapping me to get my attention, and then I ran away as fast as I could when the light turned green.
The truth is, I probably just don’t like smiling because I’m Russian.
“A smile of a Russian person should have a sufficient reason, which is evident to others. It gives a person the right to smile from others’ point of view. The Russian language has got the unique proverb missing in other languages, ‘Laughter without reasons is the sign of foolishness’. Western thinking people are unable to understand the logic’s of this proverb.” — http://lastochka-fromrussiawithlove.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-do-russians-smile-so-seldom.html