A British woman has expressed her anger at being given a note by a complete stranger which asked her to smile more.
The Metro reports that a British woman was handed a note on a morning commute which read, “Even if the world’s getting you down. A face as pretty as yours was not meant to frown.”
In a different age and different place, the lady in question might have been flattered by what could be perceived as a chivalrous little note from an admiring gentleman with poetic sensibilities.
But we don’t live in that world. We live in this one. And in this world the recipient of the note wasted no time in telling everyone on social media how “uneasy” the note made her feel.
The woman known only as Jane told viewers of BBC The Social that during her morning commute to work, she noticed a man sitting opposite her. From time to time she said the man would glance in her direction.
When he left the carriage she noticed he had left a shot note behind. On the envelope, it read “Count to ten then open.”
Jane did exactly that and found the peculiar, and some would say, harmless message inside.
But to Jane, the note was a “strange” thing to do and she explains how it made her feel “uneasy.”
“Some people might think that this guy was just trying to be nice to me but there are so many ways he could’ve expressed concern for me rather than handing me a note telling me what I should do with my face and then running off the train before I could even respond.”
It’s said that a warm smile is the universal language of kindness but by the same token, no one wants to be told they’re miserable and that’s exactly what happened Jane in a roundabout way.
Jane claims such notes are not innocent and add to the “cumulative effect” of women feeling “vulnerable” about their appearance.
On a video which was broadcast to thousands, Jane explained, “When you look at this incident in isolation you might think that I am overreacting a little bit. You might even think that I should’ve taken this as a compliment but that’s missing the cumulative effect that incidents like this have on women every day.”
Jane then finished the clip by warning any would-be letter writers out there “Just don’t do it.”
The response on social media to Jane’s anonymous note grief has been mixed. One user said, “I think the note writer was being very sweet and un-creepy by doing it the way he did. A stranger showing kindness to another stranger.”
And another added, “I don’t appreciate being told to smile, especially when you don’t know what someone might be going through.This is different. He was actually being kinda sweet saying, even if the world gets you down still smile. I think that’s lovely and uplifting.”
Yet some agreed with Jane and one narky Londoner snarled in a tweet, “FFS just BUTT OUT of other people’s space and stop telling people what to do.”