Cindy with a message for bullies

Smile For Me: How Fragile Masculinity Undermines Our Society

Duncan Riach
7 min readNov 12, 2020

Cindy and I were walking along a street in Central London, her a few steps ahead of me. She passed into the view of two lads in their twenties who were standing on the steps of a house. I was still obscured by the wall of a neighboring building.

“Hey gorgeous, give us a smile,” yelled one of the boys wearing a suit and tie. He then turned to his male companion to calibrate the effectiveness of his heterosexual confirmatory signaling.

As he turned back to look at the object of his insecurity, he was surprised to find another male approaching, one who was clearly with Cindy: that was me. There I was, six-foot-three tall with muscles, a shaved head, and a giant beard, looking ultra-masculine, unintentionally obscuring the subtle blend of masculine and feminine within me.

“Oh, uh, sorry mate. Um, um, well done,” he obsequiated, as if I had managed to tame (or even tricked) this wild and scary beast into walking down the street with me. It was as if I was a conqueror who had overcome the protestations of a meeker race and colonized her against her will, bringing her railroads and writing instruments in exchange for her spices.

In Woking, UK: “I don’t even care that you’re Chinese,” he said to Cindy as she sat on a bench, waiting five minutes for me to return. The comment was strange not only because she’s Vietnamese-American, but mostly because nobody gives a shit what this creep cares about. I guess the implication was that he would have sex with her even though she’s “Chinese.” However, it’s nothing to do with Cindy what he does or doesn’t want to do with his penis.

Cindy has learned to not speak back to these people because what is initially claimed to be “boys being boys” will quickly devolve into what it really is: narcissists being narcissists. You see, women are not actually human beings in the eyes of these pricks. Women are just objects that they can use to stave off the concern about being seen as gay or at least not man enough, not masculine enough, in some other way. By inflicting their deepest, darkest psychological insecurities on those they think won’t fight back, they seem to get their needs temporarily relieved at the expense of others. It’s truly another form of bullying.



Duncan Riach

Top Writer. Self-Revealing. Mental Health. Success. Fulfillment. Flow. MS Engineering/Technology. PhD Psychology.