Read of the Day: “Memoirs of an Un-Smiling Woman”
6:00 pm, June 21st | by Colette McIntyre
I have thick, dark eyebrows that tend to knit together when I’m lost in thought. My eyes, naturally almond-shaped, can look as if I’m narrowing them in suspicion. My mouth, when not actively smiling, settles into a rather grim line.
In short, I look like I’d rather eat you than talk to you.
When I was growing up in the South, strange men on the street used to holler one of the following:
“It can’t be that bad!”
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?”
I’d ignore them, setting my face into an even deeper scowl. Previously all I’d been thinking about was my pre-cal homework or what I was going to eat for lunch. Now I was genuinely pissed.
More distressing was the fact that I seemed to have to work twice as hard to make friends with my classmates. (Years out of high school, some of these same people confessed that they found me “scary” or “intimidating,” a common experience for BRF sufferers).
It didn’t help that my closest friend had the kind of round doe eyes that made strangers on buses spill their entire life stories. When we went out together, boys would flirt with her while edging warily around me. Mutual acquaintances would hug her as if they were great friends, while barely glancing in my direction.
At one of my first jobs, a more senior co-worker pulled me aside to ask why I looked so unhappy. “If you’re having an issue, this office is a safe space for you to talk,” he said.
I wasn’t having an issue. I was just thinking about getting a cup of coffee.
To read “Memoirs of an Un-Smiling Woman” in full, click here.