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.

17 Comments

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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!
    ­čśÇ
    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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  4. 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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