Why smiling is more fun than bitch face.

Resting bitch face is quite common, in fact, I think most people look notably unfriendly when they're expressionless. Including myself. If you know me, then you probably think I'm a pretty happy and approachable looking person. But for those who I'm yet to interact with, I've been told that I can look like a meanie. Which, honestly, I use to my advantage when trying to deter certain types of people from talking to me, ie: weirdos on public transport, chuggers (charity muggers on street corners) and creepy men (sorry fellas).

Yesterday, however, my default bitch face wasn't bringing me a lot of joy. I was out for my daily walk, and as I passed my fellow exercisers, I found myself discontent with the usual avoid-eye-contact-and-pretend-you-don't-see-them approach. I probably only pass about 5 people on my walk each day, so it's not like I'm wading through crowds and staring at the ground here. I'm going out of my way to not be friendly to these people. And I wasn't sure why.

So, as the next old lady approached - I looked right at her and flashed a dazzling smile. What's the worst that could happen? She could throw her carton of eggs at me... She could start a conversation about what life was like before people could have teal hair... She could tsk at the young people these days with their flashy tights... Luckily, none of those things happened. Much to my joy, I was handsomely rewarded with the warmest and loveliest smile I'd seen in days. I'm not sure what the science behind this is, but I was flushed with such a sense of satisfaction that I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for ages.

Pleased with my successful experiment, I smiled at the next old lady, and the next one. Achieving much the same results. I was on fire! Then, a man approached running along in his sports gear. And I tried, I promise I tried. But as our paths crossed, I just couldn't smile at him. So we ignored each other like usual. Alas, I've been programmed not to smile at men in case they take it as in invitation to hit on me. Sad but true. It didn't feel great to discriminate with my smiles, so I mentally prepared myself to smile at the next person no matter what.

Two women about my age approached, chatting away. So I shyly smiled at them, in my wide brimmed hat with chin strap firmly planted under my chin (yes I'm a huge nerd). And unsurprisingly but disappointingly, I received no smile in return. I'm not even sure if they bothered to look at me as they passed by. Which, heck, I can hardly blame them. That's what I'd normally do. And it made me realise how many missed smile opportunities had passed me by.

So, I've resolved to always smile at the people I pass on my walk, and shake off that default bitch face. Not because I have to, or because 'the man' says I should smile all the time. But for myself, because giving and receiving a smile feels pretty darn good. And doesn't take a lot of effort :)

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