Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

Smile, Black Women, SMIIIIIIILE!!!

I bet you’re frowning at me right now, just because you like being obstinate, aren’t you? Or, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Silly B! I’ll smile when I have something to smile about.” Alrighty then. Enjoy the rest of your life as a single person.

Mikhail Lyubansky, a blogger for Psychology Today and professor at the University of Illinois, asked my opinion about a recent study suggesting men were deemed more attractive when they brooded, and women were voted less attractive for looking like they were trying to look like brooding men. His focus area and research is race relations, so it wasn’t really surprising that he wanted to know the implications this study might have regarding interracial dating and mating.

Here’s what I told him:

Black people don’t go around with big cheesy grins on their faces all day long. From a body language perspective, smiling is a form of submissiveness, which is probably why men are hotter when they don’t do it, and women are hotter when they do. Black women especially have problems with smiling, and there’s a variety of reasons for this, mostly stemming from self-preservation.

Truth be told, no one walks around the black community smiling like the mayor, unless that person is Harry the Homeless Dude, who’s homeless because the state stopped paying for his room at the mental institution.

Black women especially don’t smile. Unless you’re in church, smiling at the wrong person might get you cussed out, beat up, groped, raped, or killed. AND! you don’t even have to live in the hood to be a victim of assault by a black man who thinks he’s entitled to touch your body just because he has the same level of melanin as you. I have had my breasts fondled and ass grabbed by complete strangers because I smiled politely while rebuffing their pathetic come-ons.

In some countries a man would have to change his name to ‘Stumpy, ‘ because he wouldn’t have hands after such an affront. Here in the U.S., this behavior is grounds to call the PO-lice and Guido and ’em by other races, but is accepted by blacks as the order of the day.

But the threat can be just as great from black girls spoiling for a fight. Smile at the wrong girl and you might need to have your dentist on speed dial.

This is a for-real, for really-real issue, and every black American girl knows this. I would even go so far as to guesstimate that 90% of black girls have been commanded to smile by some random black man on a corner. Hasn’t happened to you yet? Keep living.

Smiling is a sign of weakness on rough streets–it’s a sign of compliance and submission, which is probably why some black women have akward entrances into interracial dating. All men, especially white men, are socialized to positively respond with more confidence about themselves when women smile at them. One guy on Dr. Lyubansky’s facebook page said, “Constant smiling makes a man a moron while if it is a woman it tells about a happy character. Serious women make a man to feel uneasy.”

Of course, there were mixed feelings on the BB&W fan page about the article and the study. Most responders called bulldonkey on it. One poster said, “I love when a man smiles. I am more likely to speak “first” to a smling man than one who has a neutral mug.”

But I think Ray Engvaldsen, a white guy married to a black woman nailed it. “Maybe it’s the act of smiling at you. “turning a frown upside down” ) that does it. I love when I smile at a woman and she breaks into a big cheesy smile,” he said.

Here’s what I think. If some hawt guy with the jawbone of a Greek god is stone faced, but then we he looks AT ME and breaks into a brilliant smile like that one dude in The Odessey , me like-y. Me like-y that more than some dude who smiles at ants, ant hills, trees, worms and trees.

Bottom line: Not smiling is a non-starter in rainbeau dating. You can’t apply the same rules of dating that you might have been conditioned to expect. No smile, no dates.

What say you?

Facial Expressions 101

For the poster who asked “what kind of smile” here’s a couple of examples:

This woman is beautiful, but not necessarily approachable.



This woman has a mysterious, alluring smile. Not cheezy at all. I'd date her.

Great closed-mouth smile from blogger, "A Crush a Day"

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