Were you taught how to smile?
Or were you born with the ability to create a captivating, friendly, approachable face?

A Smile?


I know several people who had to learn to smile and they did so by
practicing in a mirror every day.
A smile is more than just lips and teeth — a smile is delivering
brightness in the eyes, alertness in ears that are pulled back just a
bit and in rising eyebrows that wrinkle the forehead.

A face is semiotically comprehended in pieces and if some of those
parts are missing then misunderstandings are conveyed instead of intent
as the receiver wonders if there is an authenticity deficit in the
toothless half-smile tempting a sneer or in the strangely smooth and
expressionless forehead.

A Smile?

In
a business meeting those semiotic misunderstandings can mean disaster
and on the street those facial miscues can lead to death.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

17 Comments

  1. A smile can make your day. I used to model when I was young and we would practice smiling. Vaseline on teeth helps too.

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  2. Hello Simms!
    The Vaseline trick is a good one! I guess it helps the lips move more smoothly over the teeth?
    Did you not have a good smile before you started to model?

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  3. My smile was friendly but not bright enough it seems. I had to make changes in my eye expression and that helped. You have to be careful with smiles. They can get you into trouble.

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  4. I guess a “smile is a smile” isn’t quite accurate then, eh? I agree there are grins and smiles and smirks and lots of other grayer areas in-between. Yes, smiles can get you into big trouble for purposeful misunderstanding. Did something happen to you?

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  5. If you look at a man you don’t know and he catches you smiling you can be in big trouble. He’ll think you’re hot after him when you’re just being friendly. A smile can also be seen as arrogance if you aren’t careful.

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  6. Right! Men can misunderstand kindness:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/01/10/men-and-kindness/
    Sometimes it’s best to practice a “neutral face” that cannot be read instead of whipping your smile into gear!😀
    Smiles can kill you on the street — especially in big cities — because a smile means you might be happy or content or rich or above those on the street. There’s always someone around who is happy to take down your happiness a peg by a tooth or two.

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  7. It’s kind of sad when you have to keep such well-trained smiles to yourself.:grin:
    That’s the safest way to interact because you risk less trouble.

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  8. It is sad, Simms, that happiness is seen as a threat on the street when the intention is merely an external expression of an inside success. We could all wear masks, I suppose to hide our smirks and smiles and toothless wonders!:mrgreen:

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  9. Still have not learned.🙂 OMG, I just smiled!

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  10. Joe!
    You maniac!
    It’s great to see your smiling face here again!
    We’ve missed you!😀

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  11. Kathakali Chatterjee April 15, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    You can read a person like a book by seeing his smile!😀

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  12. Katha!
    Nice to hear from you today!
    You are certainly right about the ability of a smile to reveal the inner workings of the spirit!

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  13. it is really sad that we have to hide our expresions because this world is crule and thrives of others displesure

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  14. […] the chances of you paying big money out-of-pocket, in addition to your 100% coverage, is the smiling monster looming in the gloaming of Unethical American […]

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