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TELL ME TO SMILE. I dare you, bro.

Because we need all victories we can get these days
dumpster fire
Content Warning

There are no triggers in this story

2016 is trash, obviously

2016 is an enormous garbage dumpster fire. There is a debate about whether it is the literal worst, but I think we can all agree it blows huge chunkidy-chunk-chunk chunks.

So we gotta take the victories where we can, no matter how small.

Man-buns and high-fives

I was in line at my neighborhood coffee shop, waiting behind 3 white bro-dudes, including the presence of one man-bun, and they were taking fucking forever. The woman behind the counter smiled impatiently at them. She gave the polite, restrained giggle required of a woman who is in any service-industry position, trying to hide her frustration at the man-bun’s flirtatious advances.

man bun
like this dude.

After a six-minute ordering process, the cohort of douchebaggary in front of me decided they were done and turned to me and said, “Yo, we are finally done! Sorry it took forever. High five!”

Despite every single bone in my body that wanted to deny this person the glory of my high-five, I decided to engage in the ritualistic bro high-five to rush the process along and get to order my coffee.

As I high-fived them, the barista and I shared a look of relief that the endeavor was over and that these aggressively flirtatious, infuriatingly inefficient nincompoops would no longer be in either of our presences.

dog high five
the only type of high-five I’m into

And it all would have been over and I would have forgotten them and their North Face backpacks forever if one of them hadn’t said it. Yes, Mr. Man-bun touched my shoulder and said it:

“You know, you should try smiling, even for like 30 seconds, I promise it will improve your day.”

How badly do you want me to smile?

Now back-back in the day (say, 5 years ago), when I still thought bootleg jeans were a good idea, I would have smiled at these men. And back in the day, (say, a year ago), when I still thought jeggings were a good idea, I would have, without thought, shouted “KILL YOURSELF” at these men.

Neither response felt like the right one anymore. Neither my internalized bullshit that I was responsible for making a man happy, nor my homicidal rage, fit anymore. So, I found very own third way.

I looked up from the menu in my hand and stared at him with a shit-eating grin, and said loud enough for the whole coffee shop to hear:

“OH MY GOD THANK YOU. I have been waiting ALL DAY for a man to tell me to smile, and thankfully, you just did. Women, we really need it and love it when men tell us to smile, so THANK YOU. You are doing the lord’s work.”

The three human-sized scrotums then shrunk away as though they had just been through into a pool of ice water, quickly evacuating to a far corner of the cafe.

The barista grabbed my hand and screamed, “THANK YOU, YOU’RE MY HERO!”

tell me to smile broad city

Being my own hero

And you know what, I did feel like a goddamn hero. I made a big beautiful messy scene and I felt glorious. I sat down at my table and I could feel my superhero cape draping over my arms, basking in a completely revolutionary feeling. Is this what it feels like to neither hide, nor go so far that I end up feeling guilty? This is the greatest feeling in the world.

And then, as though I couldn’t get any more self-satisfied, the manager of the cafe came up to me and said, “Heard your sick burn. Here’s a gift card on us.”

I felt like a champion, and now I had the gold medal to prove it too.

gift card
my glorious gift card

If anyone else has any victories, no matter how big or small, please share with me, I’d love to start collecting them! Please email me through my contact page!