Monday, March 17, 2014

The Final Accessory

I went to the mall yesterday.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining the magic of spring on shiny new clothes, accessories, and all accoutrements.  Workers were quick and friendly (special shout-out to Nordstrom’s scent department for letting me take home three sample bottles to test out in different situations since I couldn’t make a decision), and shoppers were decked out in varying combinations of skinny jeans, artfully placed scarves, and statement necklaces.  Things smelled good, the lightness of the day seemed to put an extra spring in people’s steps, and life at the mall seemed good.

Except not everyone appeared like life was good.  That woman just bought her self a gift, a fabulous Michael Kors bag, is she unhappy?  Those kids coming out of the Lego store look happy, and the people in the Apple store look like they are headed to a party.  But that lady just smiled and ordered a latte and now she looks like her dog died.  The girl at the jewelry stand is trying to decide between two sparkling babbles but from her expression you would think she was contemplating peaceful negotiations in Crimea.  Maybe she was contemplating the situation in the Ukraine, but for so many people enjoying living the consumerism dream something else was happening at the mall yesterday.  That something was “sad resting face.”

You have surely heard of sad resting face.  You are not unhappy, you are just relaxed, and happen to look sad.  If you haven’t heard about it just check out YouTube.  There are plenty of examples.  No time for YouTube? Here are some stills:

Warning: The following photos are graphic in nature and may be upsetting to some viewers.

"I just lost a puppy." Sad resting face

"Hey, there might be a puppy over there." Interested or happy resting face.

While this affliction can be brushed off in jest, should it be?  Agreed, not everyone needs to look happy all the time, and no judgment if you don’t.  At home, or hanging out with your best friends, go ahead and relax.  Tired, feeling sick in line at the pharmacy, and just wanting to be left alone; perfect situation for a sad resting face.  Displeased with a conversation or bad service but not quite worth a glare; express your dissatisfaction with a sad resting face.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons for a sad resting face.

However, if you are dressing your best, out on the town, and set to impress, let me urge you to take a moment to put on your best face.  You took the time to artfully drape that scarf.  You pulled out the statement necklace and did squats at the gym to rock those jeans.  What if the famous Tommy Ton snapped your fashion creation from afar?  Would you want that sad face causing his Vogue or Instagram followers to send you condolence cards?  Yes it takes some effort but it is worth it.  Be the total package and put on an un-sad face.

Combating sad resting face, as with any other posture takes time. This is a controversial point.  Some say, “This is my face, this is what it looks like.” Sure some people may not be able to avoid looking sad, some prefer to look fierce, or may wear sad better than others, but the vast majority of people don't need or want to look sad and practice can bring improvement.  During an episode of America’s next top model Tyra Banks drilled the importance of smiling with your eyes and demonstrated, “Now I’m not smiling with my eyes.  And now I’m about to smile with my eyes.” Honestly not much is different on the pre and post “smiling of the eyes” but if Tyra cared to read this blog she would agree.  There are things you can do to combat sad resting face.

Sit up straight and flex your face.   Start by smiling in the mirror.  Look at each part of your face and what changes.  It is not just your mouth that moves.  Your brow lifts, your eyes move.  Try wiggling your ears and flexing your scalp.  Practice the feeling of a slight upturn of your lips.  Not a full smile, just a slight flex.  Find the expression that says, “relaxed but interested.”  Maybe even find the look that says, “I’ve got a secret” if you’re feeling sassy.  Remember what that look feels like and flex from your sad resting face to that expression.  Start small to avoid headaches but practice often.  In extreme circumstances if you feel you may be facially impaired or have gone too long in a sad expression Suzanne Somers may have a solution to help you flex that face to an interested yet un-sad expression with her Face Master Regardless of how you get there, once you learn to sit up straight it hurts to slouch.  Likewise, once you have experienced happy resting face, you won’t want to do the sad resting face again. 

You are living the dream, look like it.  You are buying yourself a present raise a brow.  Contemplating something interesting look interested.  If you are dressing deliberately to put style into the world remember to accessorize.  Your facial expression is an accessory and it can make or break your whole look.

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