Today’s Lesson: If you are content, don’t forget to tell your face.
I have been diligently trying to eliminate the serious look that is my face’s default mode. When I am neither happy nor satisfied, the “normal” look on my face is tight-lipped and eyebrows furrowed. When I pay attention, my tongue is often pressed so hard against my upper palate you would think I was trying to silently crush rocks in my mouth while trying to levitate a cannonball with my mind.
Some people seem to have a permanent scowl etched onto their faces with deep, permanent stress lines and squinted eyes. I am lucky that I just look serious (at least, I think I do–I am not sure if anyone would tell me I have a permanent “jerk” look on my face).
I like to believe I am a serious thinker and most of my pop-culture heroes are serious, logical, and generally emotionless in their expressions as well. Think Mr. Spock, John Galt, Fox Mulder, Professor Xavier, and Rick from The Walking Dead. I know what you’re thinking–with that group of personalities, ladies night dream come true, right? Hey girl… who needs Ryan Gosling when you know the Vulcan Death Grip?
Anyway, when I notice I have my “resting mean face” on, I consciously relax my eyes, cheeks, and tongue, and turn my lips up into a slight smile (not a full grin because that would look incredibly creepy if somebody walked by–“Hey Gir–” “…Gaaah! Why are you smiling at me like that?”)p
I also remind myself to relax my shoulders.
I don’t know when or where I first picked up my serious face but I know I am not always serious and I do not wish to have a scowl permanently etched on my face as I grow older. I am hoping to be the savvy, wise, friendly old man–more like Ben Kenobi than Archie Bunker–but we’ll see. I think I would accept an Alan Arkin middle ground.
If you have an unintentional severe resting face like me, remember two things. One, tell your face to relax. Two, you are going to die no matter how you look. Might as well go with a coy smile instead of looking like you were trying to poop at the worst possible time.