I just read about that woman who didn’t smile or laugh for forty years in an attempt to hold off wrinkles. And from her photo, the trick seems to have worked. But I just can’t imagine a day—much less decades—without smiling.
How could I not smile on my wedding day? How could I not smile in joy and relief at the birth of my healthy, beautiful daughters? I could I not laugh out loud when my four-year-old spilled the not-yet-set red Jell-O all over the fridge and cried, “Oh, shit!” Or when I first held my precious granddaughter?
Simply not possible. Or worth it.
Experts agree that while wrinkles may be kept at bay, friends and family may be confused or put off by our lack of expression. Reading facial cues allows other humans to know how to respond to us. Even with expression it’s sometimes hard to know. Why would we deprive those closest to us of clues to our mood? What’s the point?
Besides, smiling is good for you. It releases endorphins, the hormones that make us feel better.
I know my smile has opened doors. It’s masked my own unease and fear. It’s put a new acquaintance at ease and perhaps charmed an adversary or two. Moreover, it’s the most easily deployed tool in my arsenal of social skills.
Sure, at sixty-five, it’s a little late for me to try the no-smiling therapy. The wrinkles, crinkles and creases on my face show signs of a happy lifetime habit of much smiling.
How long could you go without smiling?
Here’s a video clip of “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile” from the 1982 film adaptation of “Annie.” I hope it makes you smile.