Just for Grins

Men ought to smile more. Maybe there was a time, in the caveman days, when we needed to look dour or vaguely threatening to strangers. Our survival was day-to-day, and threats could just as easily come from another randomly encountered male as from a wild beast. So we put on a full-time scowly face to ensure that any Y-chromosomer we might meet would know, at first glance, that we meant business. Today, when I see this look (or catch it on myself in a reflection), it merely reinforces my own nonsocial tendencies. Nobody talks to anybody. Makes for a dull morning in the coffee shop. Further (pay attention, single males), women immediately like a smiling man. Especially if he has the look of somebody who knows something funny that he can’t wait to share. Could this also be why moustaches are unpopular in advanced countries? That tuft of darkness, framing the mouth into a frown, projects unfriendliness. When our sidewalks are so safe, men don’t really need to warn each other off from the outset. Maybe not so in Third World environments, where failing to look on guard makes you a target.