Real men don’t smile.

Yesterday, I received an email informing me that my yahoo! and twitter accounts may have been compromised. Apparently, this was news at the beginning of the month and I glanced it over and disregarded it. There’s no way my account was one of the only 450,000 or so to be hacked. There are millions of users on these networks. What are the odds, really? Apparently, quite favorable.

After reading the message carefully and doing due diligence in validating the email’s source, I realized that my entire online presence could now be in the hands of someone other than myself. No es bueno. So I handled the business of changing my passwords and securing (as best I could) every online account that I thought might be affected. Amazon, Yahoo!, Flickr…the list goes on. I don’t want someone else determining how I present myself online to the world.

Which brings me to the title of this post: Why am I not smiling in the majority of my profile pictures? Is it bad to be happy? I see women with far more pictures than the 10 -15 I have up of myself, and yet they have far less incidences of them not smiling than I do (a lot more duck-face though). Searching through friends profiles I find the same patterns. After some careful reflection I came to the conclusion that somewhere along the way in life, I formed the opinion or was led to believe that smiling or indicating happiness in a picture is somehow a sign of weakness or in the eyes of peers, “gay”. What gives?

Where does this come from? Is it such a blow to the straight male ego to look approachable in a picture? Do we think that people will think we are homosexual because we look happy and satisfied with our lives? Since when did happy mean gay? Why is smiling in pictures a decidedly non-hetero male trait? It makes no sense. Maybe just something leftover from adolescence…

In any case, it’s immature and stupid. I don’t need to project an image of toughness to my friends and family. They know my resolve. I don’t need to hide the fact that I enjoy a good time… it’s part of who I am. So today, I’m putting away childish insecurity and updating my online profile picture with a smile. If this somehow makes me less of a man or makes you think less of me, I guess you’ll just have to grin and bear it.