On a recent trip to the casino, I intended to spend the night with my boyfriend, Shawn, gambling and enjoying a couple of drinks, but quickly I added a little social experiment to the mix. On a trip to the bathroom, I noticed something: I smiled at every single woman I saw on my way to the bathroom, and the only ones who smiled back were 1.) in their mid-20’s, or old enough to be my grandma 2.) by themselves, or 3.) in their minds “as pretty as I am.” By no means do I have a big ego (most of the time I would tell you that I look “ok” and someone else would say “no, you look beautiful”), so when I make the statement that another woman was “as pretty as I am,” please, please, don’t think I’ve got an ego.
Anyway, back to my social experiment… I made one trip to the bathroom, came back discouraged, and explained to Shawn that on my entire trip to the bathroom, I smiled at every single woman I saw and only one smiled back at me – a lady in her 70’s who could have easily been my grandma. He told me not to worry, and that smiling at everyone is a good trait, it shows that you’re a nice person. Yeah, whatever. I was still having grade school flashbacks where I was not one of the “cool kids,” and felt that no one liked me even though I was trying so hard. So on a trip out into the casino to refill our drinks, I thought that I’d encounter a different set of people. Wow, was I wrong. On this trip I encountered a group of girls in a pack of three, who upon smiling at them, they returned a blank stare and went back to talking with each other. Feeling totally defeated at this point, I walked back to our spot at the slots and had an epiphany: “I’m not smiling big enough at other women.” I figured other women must think that I’m fake smiling to be nice, so even though I think I’ve got a genuine smile goin’ on, they think I look like a fake biotch. Ok, I’ve got it, I’ll fix it next time.
On my second trip to the bathroom (Don’t judge me on my number of trips, we’d been there almost five hours and I’d had three beers), I put on my biggest “I’m so nice, I really like you even though I don’t know you” smile and got mixed reviews. I encountered one girl, my age and by herself, whom I chatted briefly with, another lady in her mid to late 30’s who returned my smile, and several women who in return to my bright smile, scowled at me. Ok, whatever, they were in a bad mood or must hate their lives, and my smile isn’t going to change that.
The contradiction to all of this was a lady who we sat next to at the slots, Mindy, whom I chatted with for almost an hour. We could have talked for hours, and I wouldn’t have expected that. One topic we started talking about led to several others. She wasn’t someone who I had tried to smile at while in route to the bathroom, but rather, someone I stumbled into conversation with. Which makes me wonder, does a conversation change your whole perception?
I wish I had a moral of the story for this, but sadly, I don’t. I’ve read several articles lately, none of which I could find to benefit this post, that talk about how most women don’t want to see other women succeed, nor do they care to be nice to them. I distinctly remember reading one article about Chelsea Handler, in which she talked about the importance of supporting other women, and how she strives to do that through her business ventures. She features several female comedians on her shows and tours, so I’d say she’s getting it right. But my recent experience left me asking, “Why, can’t we all just get along?” Do you think it’s because some women have lower self esteem or feel threatened by other women, or do you think that sometimes we encounter other women on a bad day when nothing could get them to smile at you?
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