Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Smilers.

Oh the smilers.

I started noticing "the smilers" several years ago when supporting the LGBT world became "cool" and downright trendy (because it being morally right wasn't enough, you know...). The wifey and I would be walking down the sidewalk (holding hands like the majority of people in love do in this country... nothing too out of the ordinary) and someone, generally a middle-aged white woman, would stare us down making sure that we noticed the giant - borderline creepy - smile on her face. Sometimes, to really make sure we got the point, there was even a "hello there" or "good morning" with some emphatic syllable inflection to accompany it (and then an even more giant smile... we wouldn't want there to be any mistake about that smile's purpose and who it was intended for).

At first, I thought it was really kind. Straight out of Pleasantville. I would think to myself (and sometimes say to the wifey), "hey, thanks for showing us you approve, rock on!" and I would be sure to give them a big ol' smile back. In turn, they would get to feel all warm and fuzzy inside for having shown the gay ladies that they were "hip" and supported the gays. They may have even headed home, hopped up on their gay-supporting jollies, and watched Ellen (and then told all their friends about it).

Then, after a year or so, I realized how silly it was. Why does this feel validating? No one does that to straight couples walking down the street (generally). For a period of time, I actually became really annoyed with it. I felt like this person shouldn't get to feel all "sally-do-gooder" just because she used her smile muscles on the bike path one morning. Instead, why doesn't she spend more of her energy actually doing things that move us towards having equal rights in this country? I know... she could be doing both, I have no effing clue. This was not the point, in my eyes. In my mind, some straight, forty-something white woman who was likely happily married (legally and without stares) shouldn't get to profit happiness points off of just lifting her cheek muscles when crossing paths with me and my lady. You're not helping any cause, you're just smiling.

And now, truthfully, I just don't care. When an 80 year old woman does it, I find it pretty damn adorable, to be honest.

just terrifying, right?
I even do it myself sometimes. Yep. I'm a smiler. I give the big, "please notice me I'm doing this just for you," ear-to-ear smiles. No, not when I pass lesbians on the bike path (coming from me that just looks like I'm flirting or a super creeper... likely the latter). I do, do it, however, when I pass by pit bulls and whoever is walking them. With pit bulls being illegal in the city and county of Denver, but clearly one of the most lovable and loyal dogs in existence, I simply can't help myself. "Rock on you fellow pit bull lover who is laughing in the face of a very ignorant ordinance!" (see? sounds just as dumb as the thought bubble above the lesbian smilers' heads). And, the truth of it is, I probably look ridiculous when I do it - something straight off the crazy train. But, having seen how many times a person gets that terrified look in their eyes, crosses to the other side of the street, or turns in the other direction upon spotting my momma walking her pit bull (who is the kindest and most lovable dog I know, terrified of her own shadow), I do it anyway.

Who knows, maybe it's the same reason some of those crazies smile at the wifey and I.

run, fast, now.