Yesterday, the memory of a chain email I received years ago came back to me for no apparent reason. The message was all about how awesome smiles are, and how the power of our zygotes would change the world while we rode on rainbow-colored sea lions.
Now that I can’t open my Facebook timeline without reading about happiness and how wonderful life is, I feel compelled to let my inner lover tell you the real reason why smiling is awesome: because it’s almost exactly like sex.
1) It’s better when it’s free.
The same is also true for your daily pound of cocaine, but then again, it takes only four muscles to smile whereas driving to your dealer still costs you a thirty minutes drive and a couple of spare septums.
The same way I’ve never really liked spending half a year of earning on that veteran *cough* escort *cough* from my local red light district, I find her post-transaction smile rather difficult to appreciate and totally not worth the 20% tip.
My grandmother, on the other hand, smiles all the time, just because she likes it. She genuinely makes me want to smile back, and I always do so provided herpes is not tearing my mouth apart.
Also yes, talking about paid sex, cocaine and my grandma in the same paragraph is disturbing.
2) There is no real alternative to it
Sometimes, however you contort your face, your smile will not show: You’re wearing a full helmet, you’re conversing via instant messenger or more realistically, Uncle Peter has once again fed you polymer glue instead of your morning cheerios…
Of course, in front of a screen, you have the choice of typing a whole range of nonsensical abbreviations… but what if you’re part of a face-to-face conversation? Do you hop in circles while singing a happy song? Do you punch a clown in the face? Do you write “LOL” on your forehead?
One can think of many ways, but, just like with sex, nothing is as good as the real deal, not even an abnormal muscle growth on your left forearm.
3) It’s a perfect way to test your oral hygiene
Whether your pearly white dentition is the pride of your lineage, or tentacles wildly spread from your unflossed interstices, all it takes is 2 seconds to know if your mouth is a sanctuary of freshness or a Chtulhu Du Jour a la Garlic.
Notice that if reactions may vary depending on where you are at, getting waterboarded with mouthwash may happen anywhere.
4) It doesn’t really help when someone forces it on you.
One of the most traumatic events in my life involves a rather large regroupment of hippies and a bald, older man greeting me with the facial equivalent of an upside down shark attack dipped in valium. Greetings went as follow:
“So very nice to meet you my friend”
-“Let go of my hand. NOW!”
His way of smiling somehow managed to unite smugness, authentic care, total contempt and years of LSD abuse in one suave feat of labial coordination.
The feeling that ensued got me picturing the man pulling my mood by the neck, trying to french kiss it while gurgling a cheesy pick-up line about making me a woman soon.
Since I have this pet peeve about avoiding castration, physical or mental, I left the place as soon as I could, regretting to have given that bald freak a shake from the hand I usually masturbate with.
5) It’s only valuable when triggered by a shared, hartfelt intent.
When the mood’s not there, the mood’s not there. Forcing it will only result in an awkward moment at best, with at worst a chance of being kicked in the privates.
Just like sex, a smile is a choice and just like sex, it’s a bilateral action enabled by a mutual agreement. Don’t believe me? Try your brightest grin during funerals.
These motivational pictures with unreadable fonts over sunset backgrounds telling you to keep smiling even if an evil djinn is keeping open your dislocated jaw to stuff you with red hot nails and arsenic?
Yeah screw them. With a smile.
This post is illustrated by the very talented illustrator Cecilia Hidayat. I am planning a unicorn barbecue next Friday and I will personally invite you if you visit her blog.
More info, more cake and still no lemon at Without a Lemon’s Facebook Page
5 ways smiling is very much like sex (text) by Danny Hefer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
5 ways smiling is very much like sex (images) by Cecilia Hidayat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.