“What? I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you,” I said.
“I said, SMILE! C’mon! Things can’t be that bad!”
Side note: I’m used to men trying to pick me up in public places, and so long as they’re polite about it I always let them down in a gentle, face-saving way; say, if a guy compliments my hat I’ll tell him, “Thank you. My boyfriend bought it for me last Christmas” (even though I actually bought it myself).
But that’s assuming the guy in question is being polite. Anyone with the gall to tell me what facial expression he thinks I should wear in a gas station doesn’t qualify. So I looked him in the eye, waited just long enough for him to get uncomfortable, then told him in my coldest tone of voice: “My father died.”
The man had the decency to look embarrassed, and started sputtering out an apology. I interrupted him to point out the obvious: “In the future, I suggest you avoid walking up to total strangers and telling them they don’t look happy enough to satisfy you.”
The embarrassed man left the store, followed soon after by the lady with the lottery tickets. When I walked up to the cashier, she said she was sorry to hear about my father. I flashed her my biggest and friendliest smile.
“No need for apologies,” I said cheerfully. “It happened many, many years ago, and I’ve long since got over it. But with any luck, next time the guy tries hitting on a woman, he won’t be such a bonehead about it.”
For some reason, the cashier found this very funny.