Smirk Rehab

Someone recently told me that my face at rest looks a little angry, mean or possibly snarkish. Since I rarely see my face when it’s truly at rest, I had no idea that I was possibly sending people a rageful vibe.

This has troubled me and I’ve begun practicing my neutral face. I want to look happy but I don’t want to sit around with a goofy grin on my face, my eyes popping open with inexplicable joy at the thought of the traffic I’m sitting in or the produce I’m squeezing.

I also don’t want to be one of those people who walks around with a secret smirk on their face, a look says, “Sh-yeah. I am so much cooler than you. You don’t even know that your fly is undone.” Do you know those people, people who make you self-conscious by the simple fact that they always seem to by laughing on the inside, not in a nice way?*

So, I’m trying to cultivate a look of friendly, happy, effortless contentment. It sounds easy, but oh no it is not.

I want to keep my mouth closed to avoid what my dad refers to as “looking like an idiot” and I want the corners of my lips to turn up ever so slightly but not enough to make me look demented or promote wrinkles or other facial decay.

I spent 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym today sweating away my troubles and trying out various relaxed facial expressions in the equipment video screen which is quite reflective and conveniently placed.

I’ll tell you, I’m not making a lot of progress in this mission. I end up looking like someone who’s trying to look relaxed, friendly and effortlessly at peace while bouncing up and down with a heart rate of 160. It’s very strange and when I’m practicing facial expressions, I always end up doing the fake laugh like I’ve just thought of something mildly hilarious from earlier in the day. One corner of my mouth twitches to the side, I wrinkle my nose and make a mild “hmph” sound while nodding my head ever-so-slightly. Trust me — I look really cool and nonchalant while I do that.

In the end I decided that perhaps I should work on learning to make a face that does not inform everyone that on my MP3 player I’m listening to Vanilla Ice, Paula Abdul and Shakira in Spanish (which I don’t understand) and I’m grooving so hard on the inside that it would be embarrassing to the other gym patrons if they knew what was happening inside my head.

Hola Isabel! I feel you dawg. Move to my town. Iron something on for me!

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17 Responses to Smirk Rehab

  1. seven says:

    Dude… I have the same problem. I have this really deep indent between my lower lip and my chin that makes me look like I’m angry all the time… and one side of my upper lip is a little taller than the other, so if I don’t have any expression on my face, I look like I’m sneering disdainfully at you. I feel your pain. 🙂

  2. Slawebb says:

    Try just lifting your eyebrows slightly. Not too much or it will look like you are always surprised. It’s interesting, I was reading the book BLINK and it talked about how your facial muscles directly effect your mood. Just by making a certain face you will begin to feel that way. I have a very not so happy face naturally, too. I wonder why I get so stressed. Humm..

  3. kirida says:

    Sometimes I furrow my brow when I read and I’ve been told I look I’m about to whoop someone’s ***. I can’t help it! And what is a Shakira in Spanish face? Because I may have been doing that, too, only because Shakira en Espanol > Shakira in Spanish.

  4. allysha says:

    Someone I was really fond of had a problem with a smirk…his name was Leo, so I think you’re in pretty good company.

  5. i’ve been told the same thing about myself…don’t know what to do about it. I like to think my natural expression is one of someone contemplating brilliant thought after brilliant thought.

  6. ZaCarrie says:

    Wow. I have the same problem. If you find a solution, let me know. I’ve tried all that stuff. I’m resigning myself to always looking slightly mean, annoyed and intimidating. And I’m used to hearing friends tell me “I thought you didn’t like me when we first met…”

  7. Karen says:

    Um, am I the only one who thinks that it is horribly rude that someone said that to you?

  8. Marian says:

    Same thing here. My face naturally frowns a bit (big cheeks??), In high school, one of my friends looked at me one day and said, “I’m glad MY face doesn’t frown naturally.” And that’s when I realized my defect. High School’s good for that sort of thing.

  9. Nicole says:

    I have the opposite problem. Once when I was mad someone told me that I looked like I was smiling. I can’t even make a mad face right.

  10. I can’t imagine who would say something like that in the first place . . . unless it was your mom and they feel entitled because of the whole birth thing. My mom told me yesterday, my hair was a beautiful shade of GRAY.

  11. Wendy says:

    I dunno about all these faces, but I just want to work out next to you when you’re trying all these expressions. THAT would put a smile on my face.

  12. I think I have a cranky looking neutral face, too. Doesn’t everyone?!
    Sometimes I tell my husband when his mouth is hanging open that he’s looking simple. Don’t worry he laughs and jokes about it too. I’ve already warned him that I will do that to our children as well because I don’t want them going through life looking simple!

  13. kittyhox says:

    In high school people used to always think I was mean. I can’t even articulate how un-mean I am. I am like, the opposite of mean.

    I couldn’t figure it out!

    I finally discovered that it was because I never wore my glasses so I was always squinting at people.

    Also, I know have a gigantic between-the-brows wrinkle, thanks to all the squinting.

    Try smiling with your EYES. It works on America’s Next Top Model. 😉

  14. I think the ungrumpy, angry or snarkish face needs to come from the inside. Just try to get this out of your head after you sing the whole song, “If your happy and you know then your face will surely show it…”
    Good luck

  15. Heidi says:

    Who on earth is voicing their opinion that you look a little angry, mean or possibly snarkish? I’ll smack ’em for ya.

  16. the nerve! says:

    I’m totally in the same boat and I can’t believe someone would tell you that! I look back at pictures of me when i didn’t know someone was taking my pic, and I look umm, not so happy! You look great and I think you should ignore the person who said this to you! She’s just insucure with talking in front of people!

  17. Christy says:

    I thought this might help your rehab ….

    LOVE your blog…your so real!

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