“Why Don’t You Smile, Beautiful?” An Open Letter

Dear Male Stranger,

Hi. You don’t actually know me. I think that you may be confused about this fact. I know that we see each other every day, but do not mistake this quasi-interaction for an actual one. I am, of course, assuming that you’re confused by this. I’m assuming that you’re confused because that’s the only logical reason I can think of that you could feel the need to speak to me.

You seem to be under the impression that I want or need you to address me daily. I’m sure it’s me though, right? I’m definitely giving off the vibes that I’m only here for you. I long for you to compliment my legs when I wear a dress. I purposefully wear shirts that aren’t 12 sizes too large, and that show off my shape so that you can stare at me, as I walk by. That’s just for you. I live for the days when you remind me to “smile baby, you’re beautiful.” I truly don’t know where I would be without that little reminder. And when you see me walking your way and then wait until I’m within earshot and you creepily whisper “God bless you, Mami” I do feel a little closer to the Lord.

Maybe I am being ungrateful for these compliments that you bestow upon me on a day-to-day basis. Welp, be that as it may, I need to you to stop. Honestly, I need you to leave me the fuck alone. I need you to understand that I am a woman and that a woman is a human being, not an object for you to ogle. I need you to understand that these “compliments” that you say so lovingly every day are not compliments. I need you to understand that that’s considered sexual harassment. I need you to understand that it’s not wanted and that it’s not OK. I need you to, somehow, grasp that idea that I dress the way I do and fix my hair and put makeup on for myself, not for you. Not. For. You.

So, the next time I walk past you on the street, I ask that you keep you eyes and your words to yourself. I promise to do the same. Because I don’t know if I can roll my eyes any further to the back of my head to let you know that I want nothing to do with you. I don’t know how to let you know that this is not how you speak to another human being. I don’t know how to tell you that you make my skin crawl and that I’d rather eat a live subway rat than acknowledge whatever bullshit that has just come out of your mouth.

So, the next time we pass each other on the street, do your part in making the world a better place and please, for the love of humanity, just shut the fuck up.


Thank you,

Concerned Female Citizen






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