‘Go on, give us a smile.’
Hmm. They’re just about the last words you want to hear when you’re feeling far from smiley.
In fact when you’re stuck in Glumsville without a ticket, any half-smile you do manage will both look and feel false.
Psychologists call the real thing (the one you produce when you truly mean it) a Duchenne smile, whereas the fake one is sometimes referred to as a Pan-Am one – in honour of that now defunct airline’s flight attendants’ perfunctory mouth curves.
Real smiles produce crinkly lines alongside your eyes, whereas fake ones don’t.
When you think about it, however (as I hadn’t before now) isn’t it intriguing that we refer to ‘giving’ a smile?
Giving, not ‘showing’, for instance.
When I passed a busking banjo player the other morning, I could give him no money but after catching his eye, I did give him a smile, and he gave me one in return.
A smile is a great gift to give, as it makes both recipient and giver feel better. Perfect for these economic times too, as it’s the gift that costs no money. (Sorry about that though, Banjo Man.)
OK, so I’m sending you a smile here and now (honest, I’m actually doing it).
So how about passing it on today? Perhaps even a couple of times.