Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Face facts

I was told I was a really engaging baby, having a sunny disposition and smiling for everyone. Even as a youngster, I would put on performances for the family and keep those around me entertained. Somewhere along the line, maybe when hormones kicked in, I guess I stopped smiling so much, or at all. You know how some people just have a naturally smiley face - well, I’m not one of them. In fact, friends who have been brave enough to tell me to my face say that my countenance can be described by another body part, a particular lady part. I have to agree with them, my face will definitely not launch a thousand ships but probably sink them all.

I have to admit that my look is decidedly dour, not pleasant, most definitely not friendly. Frankly, I don’t know why other people take offence at the way I present my face to the world. I don’t mean anything by it, I just don’t think I should be smiling inanely when there’s nothing to smile about.

Long ago, when I was riding up the elevator to work, a colleague pointed out that I didn’t smile at a newcomer to the office. “But I don’t even know him!” I sputtered in my defence when she said that I looked decidedly hostile. “Just because I didn’t smile at him doesn’t mean that I don’t like him.” She sighed and gave up. My colleagues who had gotten used to my face would reassure newcomers that "she's much nicer once you get to know her."

Over the years, I’ve learned that my face has either scared people off, or at least warned them that I wasn’t someone to trifle with. At work meetings and presentations, clients would quietly point out to my other colleagues that they could tell when I was riled up because “her face would turn all red.” Yes, my face is a dead giveaway when I am displeased. I can attempt to smile, but it probably comes off more as a grimace.

Even animals can sometimes pick up on my expression. Not too long ago, when I was sitting on a beach with friends, two dogs came bounding up. One of them, whose name I later found out was Ollie, was an exuberant pup who seemed to charge everywhere and at anyone at full speed. But just as she reached me, she took one look at my face, screeched to a halt and veered off quickly. Animals do intuit that I like them though. Ollie’s companion, a more mature dog, came and sat beside me quietly and gently placed his paw on my lap. I fell in love of course.

Little kids also don’t seem to find my face off-putting. Babies aren’t frightened when they see me and on the contrary, I get along with youngsters much better than I do with adults. Ditto animals. Perhaps it’s because children and animals aren’t into artifice and their bullshit antennas work pretty well. They know I mean well and respond accordingly.

It’s grown-ups that i usually have problems with and it shows on my face. When I meet someone I can’t stand, usually posers, my face starts to resemble my lady part (and not in a good way). I was once advised by one of my bosses that I'd look so much prettier if I smiled more. I think I grimaced back at him. Believe me, I do make the effort to school my face into what I consider a semblance of niceness and pleasantry. But I guess the act of perking up the corners of my lips when I really feel the opposite just becomes too much for me, and I revert pretty soon to my old, sour face.

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