Smile

            “What’s wrong with your face?” he asked.
            This was in January. I had been at the bar less than ten minutes. My hair was down and my makeup was fierce. I had walked in wearing the confidence of a vintage leather jacket. I was still waiting to order my drink from the bar. I heard this same question repeated twice when I finally realized it was being directed towards me. Once I had to look his way, he proceeded to ask me why I was wearing such a mean look on my face. The only thing I could think of to say was because he was talking to me.
            Where the hell is my tequila and soda? I thought. For a minute this man had nothing to say. I finally got my drink, drank half and ordered another.
            “I was just trying to make conversation,” he said.
             I was still standing at the bar and beginning to feel a fever building through my body. I had to wonder where his parents had gone wrong. Or was it catholic school? I wondered why he decided not to go with the standard and unoriginal invitation of letting me know that I should be smiling. Then I thought, I’m a single woman showing up at a bar alone. Of course.
            “That’s not how you start a conversation, dickhead,” I said.
            “That’s fine. Rock your own world,” he said. “Good luck dying alone.”
            I wondered if this was going to be the night I would get into my first fight. At the very least, I was being handed the opportunity to throw a drink in a deserving face. But then I decided he wasn’t worth the tequila. As I began to walk towards the back patio I saw him swivel around in his barstool, trying to get my attention.
            “I wasn’t trying to be a dick,” he said.
            I felt it everywhere. And then I turned around and said it. “Fuck you.”
            I walked away and opened the door into the hauntingly warm January air. As I began to wonder why women have to defend themselves the second they leave the house, all I wanted was a cigarette. I am hardly a smoker.
           
           

            

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