So notagoose commented on my random facts post of yesterday–specifically on the item about me having a flat affect, and she said,

I’ve been told I look bitchy, or aloof, or snobby, because I don’t go around grinning from ear to ear like a freakin’ circus clown, and when I’m not smiling, I apparently look unfriendly.  WhatEVER. Just because I regularly want to kick people in the face does NOT make me UNFRIENDLY, GOT IT?!?!?

Which reminded me of 1) why I love notagoose, and 2) so many occasions in my own life.

Seriously, kids, PSA:  People who are not smiling have their reasons.  In my case, I just don’t smile that much.  My face doesn’t work that way.  You know how they say it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile?  I never believed that.  Smiling for me is like pulling teeth, but I can frown without breaking a sweat.  I assume that my face’s natural look constitutes a frown, since everybody and their dog feels compelled to tell me that I should change what I’m doing ’cause I’m bringin’ ’em down, man. For (what I wish were) the last time:  it’s nothing personal.  It doesn’t indicate anything in particular.  When I have a strong emotion, I’ll let you know, preferably via e-mail, where I can use ALL CAPS to convey strong emotions, rather than relying on my inadequate facial muscles.

It just never ceases to amaze me how many folks think it’s their business to tell me when I should smile.  Complete strangers will say, “Smile, it can’t be that bad!”  Seriously, complete-stranger-who’s-never-met-me-before-and-doesn’t-know-anything-about-my-life?  How do you know my whole family wasn’t just killed in a tragic accident?  They weren’t, but how do you know that?  Especially considering the look that’s on my face now?  How dare you make that assumption!

Truth be told, there’s no reason to be concerned.  Most of the time I feel perfectly fine, and in fact I may have been feeling just peachy right up until you told me that the look on my face was offensive to you.  Now I feel like scowling.  Yeah, this is what a scowl looks like–not what you saw before, but THIS.  I didn’t want to kick you in the face BEFORE, but I do NOW.  Please note the (subtle) difference!

Thus ends the PSA.

Now for an anecdote:  I used to play piano in church from time to time, and once a lady told me, “Mad, you play beautifully, but it would be so much nicer if you’d smile while you were playing.”  I dunno.  I guess she hoped that I was enjoying myself and wanted me to let everyone know the joy that I took in my own abilities.  Leave aside the fact that people occasionally need to concentrate while they’re playing a musical instrument and can’t always afford to shift their attention in the direction of their ugly mug.  Let us consider, momentarily, how this would actually look in real life.  Just picture it.

Somebody’s playing the piano.  And smiling.

What are you envisioning?  Whether it’s a big toothy grin or just a small upturn of the mouth, does it not look a little…what’s the word…stupid?  Even maybe like the person could have mental problems?  Anyway, we’re in church here.  If you want smiling, go to a Liberace concert.  Oh, but you can’t anymore, he’s dead.  Sorry!  Guess it sucks to be you.  Visit Susan’s Flat Liberace blog instead.  Guaranteed to bring a smile (unless you’re a naturally frowning crapface)!