Monday, May 11, 2009

A Plea for Pleasantries

Most likely in line with those that know me well and perhaps in contrast to those that don't, I'm an exceedingly friendly, polite, and unassuming individual, especially to strangers. I truly believe that, by default, every human being should be treated with kindness and respect, and I almost always smile and/or say hello when passing someone on the street, in the supermarket, waiting in lines, be they a businessman or an elder couple or a parking attendant.

This behavior is met with varied reactions, from being ignored to disdainful glares and sometimes the occasional nod of recognition. Once in a great while, even, the other person will say "hello" in return.

Unfortunately, over the years I've had to curtail this instinct of mine due to some unwanted--and sometimes dangerous--attention. Because most of the rest of the world ignores the average everyman on the street, my acknowledgment is sometimes misread as romantic or sexual interest, and I've had to evade numerous advances, pick-ups, even stalking.

This pisses me off.

I don't like ignoring someone who says hello to me, but I like even less my greeting being returned by an invite to **** someone's **** in their **** ***. Ignore this request and I'm called a **** or a **** *** ******. I've had to stop frequenting particular stores or parking garages because my friendliness is returned by incessant and frightening doggedness--it's amazing how much information someone can attain by knowing your license plate number or full name, and the possibility that you can be followed home is more than a mere concern.

So please, people--just be nice. Be nice so everyone can be nice without fear of reprisal. I'm tired of making up stories about my Champion UFC boyfriend and Sheriff of a father. I'm tired of assuming the posture of unaffected bitch so I can maintain a sense of safety when buying a gallon of milk or parking downtown. Everyone DOES deserve respect; a nod and a smile can go a long way in this world.

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