I’ve got the Posh Spice pissed off face complex. I know I don’t smile often, just not so crazy about my smile. But I don’t intend to insult people by looking angry all the time. I’ve known this since high school when the alter-Allison concocted the nickname “piss head” for me. She nailed the frown on my face with that one. After my study-abroad, I would raise my head in response to my no-smiles and say “you know it’s such an American thing to smile so much.” And I knew, I was in Paris for 9 months, piss head capital of the world. (That response lasted only about 2 weeks before I noticed the rolling eyes walking away from me.)
I tend not to think about it nowadays unless a handicapped woman stops on her ramp and says “do you have a problem? You’re looking at me like you’ve never seen anyone in a wheelchair before?” Whoa, stand down gimp. Or when a colleague says, “I saw you walking on the sidewalk, you look so different outside of the office!” I just laugh nervously and mumble oh yeah, I forget to smile sometimes and walk away after flashing a grin. See? There’s my smile.
One of the reasons I look so different outside of work is because the 1 block walk from the train station to the front door is a methamphetamine 28 Days Later scene. Well, maybe not that bad, but enough to bring piss head back in a social defense. Piss Head = Leave Me Alone. And if I can’t scream it without being mistaken for a zombie and risking my head being blown off, I’ll wear it on my face.
Now to the pleasant surprise that came from wearing my frown. Occasionally as I speed walk down the sidewalk, zigzagging to avoid suspicious fluids, one of the zombies breaks away and approaches me. As I think no eye contact, no eye contact, I hear “c’mon gorgeous, how about a smile?” I know this is a ploy, but it’s enough to pull me out of my head and give a smile. And it happens maybe once a month. So now, when I see someone approach and start my no eye contact mantra, I always say “no, sorry” with a smile. Because maybe if the smile is enough for someone else it should be good enough for you too. I don’t really think this, but I’ve got no other reason for doing it. Condescending? That’s okay by me.