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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