Doctor Dash says I’m a smiler. I don’t do it intentionally and it’s not necessarily because I have anything approaching a sunny disposition. I think it’s kind of a default setting for my face. And I can’t help but look askance at this particular default setting because, at 40, I’ve started to think about smile lines and such. I’ve got ‘em. Oh baby, I’ve got ‘em. Sometimes I actually force my face out of a smile when I’m driving because why on earth do I need to be smiling when I’m by myself in the car? Just because I like the music? Ridiculous. And think of the wear and tear on my face! Actually, I don’t mind crows feet on people – I think they are kind of sexy, a sign of good livin’, big laughs and high times. Those marionette lines around the mouth, though – oof, not such a fan and unfortunately smiles bring those babies on too. But this wasn’t meant to be a post about wrinkles and Botox.
No, the other thing I’ve noticed about smiling is that I respond really strongly to smiles. On two occasions over the past few years, women whom I had presumed to be unfriendly turned out to be fabulous, wonderful, sweet-as-pie mamas once I got to know them. They just aren’t smilers. Hell, my very own husband isn’t a huge smiler. In fact, that’s why the Babe-o’s and I referred to him as The Asshole until we got to know and love him. Never in a million years would I have thought myself primitive enough to require the baring of chimp teeth in order to recognize someone as friend, not foe. But there you go. I guess I need those chimp teeth. I am nothing but a primitive smiling chimp. Not that chimps are primitive. They are AWESOME.
This article in the NY Times about the states of mind that produce smiles and what allows people to parse the meaning behind smiles is fascinating. To me, anyway. And if you see me grinning to myself in the car, do me a favor and just give me a honk to remind me to cut that shit out.