the bigger the city, the fewer the smiles: how Vancouver isn’t friendly

You aren’t worth my time… nor worth moving my facial muscles.

We’re a city that boasts a broad spectrum of natural treasures–craggy evergreen, snow-dumped slopes, trails alongside glacial rivers, a picturesque coastline. Our reputation as one of the world’s best cities is constantly reaffirmed by locals and tourists alike. Even if a startling change from 9 years of 1st place, the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) still ranked us #3 out of 140 cities for livability in August last year. And yet one complaint that keeps rearing up is how stuck up we are. Especially the females.

It’s natural for girls to start fortifying emotions and their 30 cm of personal space after years of bad game and no shame–especially when Vancouver is pulling on a brand new pair of “big city” britches. Sometimes being approachable gets tiring when you’re constantly thinking that it might be mistaken for sexual interest. I remember learning in 3rd year Human Sexuality that more guys than girls misconstrue friendliness as ready-to-trot interest. But what does self-preservation do to the quality of our daily social interactions–the face-to-face kind? What do others see when we activate bitch mode?

It sure isn’t inner beauty shining through.

Whistler Blackcomb, BC

Whistler: clear skies, lush evergreen, pure snow

A friend recently remarked that “just because a random guy/girl comes up and says hi doesn’t mean anything.” Are our egos so overblown that we immediately need to be en garde at the slightest approach? This isn’t a female-only phenomenon either. Lots of men, especially the downtown breed, strut around like self-acclaimed celebrities.

We aren’t such amazingly well-rounded individuals that having a conversation with a stranger won’t enhance your life. Maybe if we smile more freely, the universe will smile on us.

Stay Pretty.

White Rock, BC

How many smiles can you count on the beach?


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