The Bard of Avon was clearly jumping to conclusions far too early when he said, “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain” in Hamlet. If he’d read the new research, he would have paused and measured how quick the aforementioned smile was before establishing that it was indicative of villainy. Just in case you’re one of those deluded souls who believe that when you smile, the world smiles with you, think again. The whole world will be watching a number of things starting from whether you have revealed your choppers too quickly to whether your mirth is reflected in your eyes.
Now this may fly in the teeth of popular wisdom but those who are slow to smile actually appear genuine and warm. And never, never grin and bare it, for all you’ll reveal is an anxiety to please. Armed with a cornucopia of knowledge of what a smile really says, we can deal with any untoward flashing of teeth in an appropriate manner from now on. But what we want to know is why the study stopped at smiles. Why not extend it to laughter? We need to know should we titter, giggle or guffaw? Should we suppress a chortle or go for the big ha ha?
This also means that such schmaltzy tomes like Mills & Boon will need to relook at their penchant to endow the brooding hero with a curl of the lip. This, we gather, doesn’t display warmth and isn’t likely to get the ladies queuing up at the door. But don’t overdo it either for the propensity to break out in a big grin is scary and overbearing. Maybe Aishwarya Rai can tell us how to not to slip on that practised smile because it shows you as a hollow soul. We would go on, but we aren’t sure that we are good for a few laughs anymore. Until we see the humour in such studies, let’s grit our teeth and say cheese.