Monday, December 29, 2008

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Sneer

Pin It The other day a friend called to apologize for offending me. It was really nice of her to worry. I was kind of touched that she cared. The only problem was that I had NO IDEA what she was talking about. None.

She was sure I was just being polite, and reminded me about a minor comment she'd made the night before - a comment I'd thought was mildly amusing, and not offensive in the least.

Unfortunately, I guess the look on my face after she said it was something akin to: "You have offended me, and now we are mortal enemies, and if I find a knife, I will plunge it into your heart at the earliest possible opportunity."

I explained as best I could that I honestly wasn't offended - it was just my face, getting me in trouble again. My stupid freaking face.

See, I was cursed with a natural frown. (Actually my dentist calls it an Elvis pout, because my mouth actually turns down a little more in one corner than the other, so I really don't just have a natural frown, I have a natural sneer. (BONUS.))

When I'm relaxed, or when I'm listening to someone talk, or even just watching TV, my face settles into a frown. For as long as I can remember, people have been coming up to me and telling me to smile, or asking me what was wrong, or encouraging me to lighten up - even though I was just sitting there thinking about dandelion fuzz, feeling mellow and dreamy.

Unfortunately, when you go around lost in your thoughts a lot of the time, and your natural expression is a frown, it MIGHT sort of look like you are constantly glowering at people. You MIGHT start to get a rep for being a critical, negative person. EVEN IF YOU AREN'T. It doesn't matter if you are or aren't. You LOOK like you are, and therefore, you ARE.

I can be at a party, and I'll say, "This is a great party," and I'll mean it. But if I've forgotten about my stupid sneer when I say it, people think I'm being sarcastic and wenchy.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Then, um, why don't you just SMILE more, you moron?!" But I try! Whenever I think about it, I smile. But I can't go around thinking about my face all the time. Because who does that? ("Am I smiling now? Now? Now? How about now?" Then I'd be even more nuts.)

The other day after my friend called me, I went into the bathroom to see how bad it had gotten. I stood in front of the mirror, trying on facial expressions.
  • I made my mellow, totally relaxed daydreaming face. I looked grim.
  • I made my "that's pretty funny, not funny enough to laugh, but you know I think that's pretty hilarious anyway" face. I looked like I was smirking.
  • I made my "I'm listening in a sincere way and trying to relate to what you are saying" face. I looked condescending and rude. The girls at book club must hate me, because that is my face. THAT IS MY FACE. CRAP.
But I CANNOT HELP IT. Just as my father before me could not help it. It's genetic. My friends and family know this about me. They know I'm not as serious as I look (I hope), and they (hopefully) look past it and like me anyway. But I wonder about all of the people who don't know it's a facial anomaly - who make assumptions about who I am based on what they see.

When I was about twenty, I went out on the lake with a bunch of my friends. I was happy and relaxed, but not particularly talkative. (There were new cute boys on board, and I was feeling bashful.) At the end of the day, two of my friends completely exploded on me, saying I'd been negative and hostile all day. Because I'd been quiet and frowny. The fundamental unfairness of the comment still eats at me sometimes. Because I was happy that day. I was so happy to be there - almost overflowing with quietly affectionate feelings for my friends. But they thought I looked stuck-up and rude, and they sat there all day resenting me for my imaginary attitude.

A while back I heard that if you get enough Botox, it'll freeze your face into an unnatural smile. An unnatural smile! What more could I ask for? I'm saving my pennies, and I figure by late 2011, I'll be able to afford the first round of shots. In the interim, I'm thinking I'll just staple a post-it to my head, one that says, "This is my mellow face. I realize it looks like I'm sneering, but I'm really not. It's just my STUPID. FACE."

And if you run into me on the street, or at the store, or in the library? Just remember - I might LOOK angry, but I'm not, I swear. I like you. I like almost everyone. I just LOOK like I want to kill you.

84 comments:

  1. First? Really? You know, you can have a t-shirt made up that says what you want your post it to say.

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  2. A T-SHIRT. BRILLIANT. And I will wear it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

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  3. ...and what position was your mouth in as you thought that? ;-)

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  4. Heather2:05 AM

    I get this because my dad was the same way. He looked so mad all the time, but he was really chill inside. A lot of people never bothered to get to know him because of it. Their loss.

    The unfair thing is that even when people know logically it's a natural frown, and not a grim mood you're in, they still respond to the frown. It's an emotional response. I don't know if they can help responding to it any more than you can help the way your face settles. It's not fair, I know.

    By the way, I don't put you in the same category as my dad. Yeah you get a little frowny when you're spacing out, but you don't glower.

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  5. Anonymous2:45 AM

    FROWNY FACE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD - UNITE!

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  6. I have something similar that happens to me. Except I give dirty looks a lot. I don't even know that I'm doing it. But what I think what I'm doing is when someone looks at me or is talking to me my mind sometimes goes two places at once. Like in the present circumstance and also thinking about something else at the same time. So then I think I narrow my eyes so that I can focus harder on what they are trying to say. So basically I give dirty looks to people a lot.

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  7. I worry about this all the time! So much so that I practice my default face all the time. Serene, corners of the mouth slighly raised in mellow happiness. I look insane, but it beats the scowl.

    Back to you, I'm thinking that after you staple your post it to your head people will be more concerned than if you just out and out sneered at them. What with the blood and all.

    How's about a button instead? Then you could wear it with whatever. At home, at school, at play. Maybe something a bit more concise like "Forget my face." Nah. "I'm smiling inside. Really." Uh-uh. eh, you're the brilliant one, I'll let you work on it. :( No wait--I meant :D

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  8. So just for future reference... what does it look like when you ARE angry or offended? How will I KNOW? Oh, wait I don't know you. I hope that means it is impossible to offend you.

    Was that offensive? I guess I'll never know... whether I meet you or not.

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  9. Oh, my goodness, Larry and I had a fight during the opening part of the Mass the other week, because I ran in late with the kid we forgot on the first ride over (long story) and was trying to figure out where in our row I was going to sit and he said, "What's wrong?" And I said, "Nothing's wrong. It's just my face." And he didn't know well enough to drop it already and said, "You look upset." And I said, "No, it's just my face; maybe I should go home if it is bothering you that much."

    Really. I guess I get a little sensitive about it. But, yeah, it happens to me all the time. And smiling constantly gets very tiring...also, I tend to start looking manic that way.

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  10. I have the same problem, but it's compounded by eyebrows that prefer to relax by looking angry.

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  11. Well, I always picture you with a smile on your face! Sometimes a smirk, but usually a smile!

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  12. Excuses, excuses.

    No, really. I think you should just go with it. Let loose, start hating everything and everyone. You never know, it could be totally freeing.

    (if it makes you feel better I have a thoughtful couple of DEEP wrinkles between my eyebrows, which bring about the same reaction in people. It's hard to remember to keep my brows lifted at all times, but I try)

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  13. My solution to the same problem is to become a total spaz and laugh maniacally at all my own jokes. (Remember that one night at that one restaurant?) Because if I'm giddy, then at least I only appear stupid, and not so much hostile. The truth is, though, that if I ever get to meet you again, I hope I'll be able to shut my trap for two seconds and actually listen to something YOU have to say.

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  14. My sister has the EXACT same problem. I am sending her this link NOW, so she can empathize with you.

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  15. Well, you just described my life. I`ve been told I`m intense all my life and had people avoid me or ask me if I`m ever in a good mood because of my permafrown. Which, like you, I totally didn`t realize until I practiced in the mirror. And then it was so depressing (I seriously don`t look happy unless I`m ecstatic) that I just decided to avoid people instead. And thus began my online social life. Works much better, you know!

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  16. last week i turned 40. i wasn't looking forward to this event, but it happened nonetheless.

    so when i was sitting home and the doorbell rang, and my punks dashed off and before i could get there they'd shut the door and were returning to me bearing a plate of treats and a card, i was touched.

    it was from a woman in our ward, wishing me a happy birthday. the card and treats were lovely and thoughtful. this woman and I have had no interactions other than me writing a note to her 2 yrs ago telling her how beautiful her voice is, and how it touched me to hear her singing the hymns during church. turns out she's somewhat of a diva...former broadway star and opera performer. anyway, i didn't know any of that when i wrote the note...and that's the only real contact i've had with her.

    so when a little slip of paper falls out of the lovely card that says "my husband and i both feel we have somehow offended you and ask you to forgive us", suddenly the happy little moment was tainted.

    great!, i thought. they think they've offended me

    i honestly have NO idea what could have made them think that...but suddenly instead of being able to just enjoy the treats and thoughtful gesture, i have to worry about how i'm coming off to her and her husband...make sure i'm not giving off "you've offended me" vibes, to ensure that they don't feel hurt. instead of just assuming that i'm so self-absorbed with my own crap that i'm just oblivious to everyone around me.

    sheesh.

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  17. Holy freak, I could have written this almost verbatim.

    My profile picture looks like a pleasant smile, but when it was taken I felt like my face was being ripped in two and couldn't hold what felt like a Joker grin for long.

    And once I was on TV for a brief thingy, and I *thought* I had a happy, pleasant look on my face for the camera. When I watched it later, I was horrified to see that I looked snotty and irritated. Greeaaat.

    It's somewhat genetic--my mom's got the same thing. Ugh. If you find a solution, please share.

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  18. this is horrible. you must rid yourself of this genetic defect. Maybe the next book you put together can contribute to the botox. "Something grimish?"

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  19. Anonymous9:24 AM

    You aren't that bad. You laugh a lot which makes up for it.

    I can see how it would feel unjust, not getting the benefit of the doubt right off the bat. I have the opposite problem. My face is open and happy, and everyone automatically assumes I'm this little ray of sunshine when most of the time I would like to punch them in the face.

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  20. I frown a lot when I'm concentrating. People I don't know are often intimidated. Apparently. I'm so busy concentrating I don't notice.

    I saw a news clip once on a woman with your problem who had plastic surgery to give herself a smile. She looked freakin' ridiculous. Like the Joker. Don't do it.

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  21. OMG! I completely understand where you're coming from, I have a natural pout and it gets me in trouble all the time! It doesn't help that I'm fairly shy and don't like talking to new people that I need to impress (my husband's coworkers for example) because they all end up thinking that I'm a snot! I've just learned to repeat to myself "smile" in my head whenever I'm meeting new people, once they get to know me, they can just learn to deal but before then yeah, it really sucks and almost gives me something to pout about, lol

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  22. Julie9:57 AM

    #1: I've met you, and you looked perfectly sociable. Pleasant smile and all. Most of the time you looked amused. I don't know if that was on purpose or if you were amused at the time. (Now I sound like a stalker, all reporting on the status of your face, so I will stop it.)

    #2: This is my life, in a post. People don't get what a big deal it is. I truly believe my whole life would be a little different if I had been blessed with a more pleasant default expression. Because I'm nice (I really am!) but people don't bother to find out if I am or not. They just assume I'm not, and then I have to prove it to them. They assume I'm reacting negatively to things and I have to be overly enthusiastic about the thing later in order to counteract it. I get tired of it. It's unfair and there isn't anything you can do about it. (bitter)

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  23. My stupid freaking face gets me in trouble all the time, too.

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  24. I am always worried about my expression. I swear I wear my brain on my face, even if it's a fleeting response or a synaptic misfire or an itch on my leg...

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  25. I have the same problem when I'm concentrating and really interested in something. I guess my face goes totally blank. I'll be trying to show I'm all into whatever someone's saying, or a speech or presentation, and it comes off as bored or disinterested which is exactly opposite of how I feel. If I ever look interested in what you're saying, watch out.

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  26. This is my life to a tee. Except add to that the fact that my relaxed way to hold my hands?? Umm yeah. Clenched in fists. So my face says: "I'm pissed at you" and my clenched fists look like I want to beat the tar out of them... ONLY I am happily relaxed watching TV, minding my own happy beeswax.

    Makes for awkward situations.

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  27. AHAHAhahahahahaha!!!! Um. I have that face, too. So I feel your pain, even though I'm laughing. PLUS when I don't smile I have FROWNY JOWLS. I'M ONLY 31 FREAKIN' YEARS OLD!!!! How unfair is that? For cryin' out loud . . .

    (But I have to admit that I'm somewhat comforted by all the responses here. Apparently there are a LOT of us!)

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  28. The empathy happening here is almost overwhelming. Who knew there were so many of us?

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  29. There are a couple of people in my life (none of you here reading this) who have a perpetual scowl, and unfortunately most of my interactions with said persons have seemed to corroborate the attitude implied by their facial expressions. Also, instead of talking, they whine. My guess is that compared to that, you have a very pleasant demeanor. But after reading this post and all the comments, I will try to remember to give people the full benefit of the doubt.

    I think whenever I speak or share my testimony in church I have a distressed expression on my face, but I never remember that until I sit back down. It's just my earnest/emotional face. I keep trying to train myself to smile before I speak, but when the moment arrives, my nerves overtake me and I revert to the worried look. I actually am somewhat of a worried type, (with lots of wrinkles to prove it,) but I'd rather people not guess that about me at a glance or have it as a first impression.

    When my husband and I were newlyweds, I often thought that whatever he was reading was making him angry, until I figured out that was just his natural expression when he's concentrating.

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  30. I've been stalking..er.. "following" your blog for a few months now but for whatever reason, have had technical difficulties when I went to comment. Now I've got a blog too, so it allows me to post. Frown or no frown--you're adorable!

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  31. Sarah, you were awesome. Don't try to pretend you weren't. I just didn't have that much to say.

    Imaginary - see, but were they really unpleasant or did you just THINK they were unpleasant because they were still looking at you like that? TRICKY TRICKY.

    Thanks Shannon :>

    I love hearing about other people who suffer from this. We should start a Facebook group. "People who look like serial killers, but mostly aren't."

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  32. Add me to the perma-frown contingent. I have always furrowed my brow when reading and otherwise concentrating. Now, at 30, I have two lines between my brows from the constant furrowing. It doesn't help that I'm super shy as well, so I have always come off as stuck-up.
    Sign me up for botox, please.

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  33. See, I totally get your natural frown, but I sympathize with your friend.

    Because I have comment remorse quite often - especially if I'm trying to be funny.

    Most of the time, I don't even think of how the other person would take it, but how I would take it and then I start worrying that I've totally offended or ticked someone off.

    Yeah, the say once I have kids I won't have time for this!

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  34. Hmmm...now I'm going to have to come up with some way to contantly monitor my facial expressions...like a nanny cam!

    I have sort of the same issue, but not with my mouth, it's with my eyes. I have a lazy eye-lid, so it always looks like I am sort of sleepy. PEople are always telling me I look tired. I tell them I just have "bedroom eyes" They usually don't bother me after that.

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  35. Kristi12:01 PM

    My mouth makes me look like I smell something bad. So, what I think is a mildly amused/interested face ends up looking like I'm wondering who forgot deoderant.

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  36. wow, this is apparently a lot more chronic than anyone realized.

    as for me i just have the bad habit of staring. so maybe you and i should hang out more. you can make the faces and i'll stare. problem=solution.

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  37. Sue, they were genuinely unpleasant. I could make a pretty strong case, but I don't know how to do so without possibly giving away more than I'd like to. I usually feel pretty obscure when I say things that are well-buried in someone's comments, but I still do try to avoid having anything incriminating in print. (Or on the internet, or whatever.)

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  38. Just wait another ten years--everyone gets that frown if they live long enough. My husband is physically unable to smile anymore, so decided are the mucles on curving downwards. It didn't used to be that way. I blame age. So, yes, save those pennies--I think it is a great plan. Then you will be the one who doesn't have the frowny face whilst all your friends do (revenge is sweet).

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  39. This is so funny. I had a friend in high school whose 'resting face' was a frown... sorry for all the trouble it's caused you! :)

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  40. I tend to walk around with a blank yet somewhat surly expression, and to make matters worse, I have problems with my balance as well. So half of the people I see probably think I am moody and the other half think I'm drunk. Except for those I've really managed to impress who think I am moody AND drunk. It's eight o'clock in the morning and when I stumble, I just know they're thinking, can't you at least wait until after lunch?

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  41. P.S. Your blog was seriously hilarious, by the way. I kept snickering behind my desk in a room full of seriously ill patients who probably thought I had a lot of nerve laughing about anything.

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  42. Another person who has this problem, too. For years I absolutely hated going to church because every single week the usher would come up to me and say, "Smile! You should be happy!" when I was perfectly happy and just sitting there being peaceful. I just realized I must have never gotten over that. Maybe now I will?

    I want one of those t-shirts, too.

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  43. Sue...I seriously adore you!! You always have me LAUGHING out loud!

    I spotlighted you as one of my Fabulous Blog Picks on my blog:
    Living Somewhere Over the Rainbow at
    bowlizzlefamdizzle.blogspot.com

    Thought you'd like to know and check it out! :)

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  44. I have the same problem only my natural facial expression seems to be one of superiority and stuck-up...(uh) stuck-upsmanship (??). I've had my teachers call my mother to tell her I was pouting in class when I really wasn't, I was just thinking - try and explain that to your highly-embarrassed, overly-emotional mother!!

    So I can relate, Sue. Maybe we can save up for Botox together and do our part to make the world a happier place.

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  45. Oo, I had the same thing at dinner with some friends years ago. I was accused of glaring at my friend;s new girlfriend and she hated me forever after that.

    Luckily, they broke-up so the jokes on her. Muwahahahahaha!

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  46. Ha, i have this EXACT same problem. I hate it. It has plagued me my entire life, since I was in grade school. What do you do? My mom would tell me to smile more but honestly can you really plaster on a fake grin and walk around and not look like an idiot? I can't pull off the fake grin. So thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in this world.

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  47. I knew you stole my face. I KNEW IT!

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  48. sweet! I am like this too. Plus my eyes are either open really really wide, or else half shut, so I look like I'm really really shocked that you would do something so horrible and insulting, or I am so bored of you I am about to fall asleep. Sigh. Oh well.

    Screw Botox. I like my face the way it is, weird and everything. I do try to "smile with my eyes" more when I am at church functions... whatever that means. I think it gives me a somewhat more pleasant look. I hope.

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  49. Well, I'm afraid I can't relate to you all. As far as being betrayed by a perma-scowl. However, there have been more than a few people pass through my life that have had one look at me and taken an instant disliking. I've been told that it's because I'm intimidating. WHATEVER!!! I'm not shy. I love to laugh and be the center of attention and make people laugh. Does that mean you have to hate me? No. It does not. What it means is that I'm fun and you should want to get to know me. Or run away and leave me friendless...either way.

    Olivia- Is it just me or is it soooo not a compliment when people tell you "you look tired"? I've had people tell me that and when I'm NOT tired I tell them, "awesome! That was JUST the look I was going for!". Why are people so dumb sometimes?

    Sue, if I ever get to meet you, don't worry about trying to make your face look "presentable". I'm sure I'll be able to tell if you're wenchy or not :)

    Crap. Did I come across snotty? I'm really nice. I promise!

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  50. There was a man in my ward, when I was growing up, that publicly announced in testimony meeting that he was not nearly as grumpy as he looked - it was just gravity playing with his 65 year old face. (I kind of believed him...but I still never heard him laugh during the 10 years I was in the ward. ;-))

    I thought THIS would make you smile, though - I was at a baby shower a few weeks ago and overheard another mama talking about blogs she reads...and she said, "Oh! I read this totally hilarious blog called 'navel gazing at its finest.' The woman is hilarious...but just the name of the blog ALONE is enough!"

    Thought you'd want to know. I figure, when two people at a party have BOTH heard of you, separately, you're pretty stinkin' famous! ;-)

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  51. Holy cheerios.

    THAT. IS. AWESOME.

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  52. Don't feel bad, I'm a natural sloucher. And hey, it could be worse. I have a perpetual smile on my face and people who meet me for the first time either think I'm dingy or insincere. It's a curse, I tell you. sometimes it takes people years to realize there's substance behind it.

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  53. I'm a natural frowner too. I guess there had to ONE bad thing about me, because, seriously, the rest of me - inside and out - is perfect. Perfectly perfect. Seriously.

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  54. I have the same problem. I really hate it when someone takes a picture of me and I'm not smiling. I always look pissed.

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  55. Same problem here. You must have gotten the genetics from both sides of the family.

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  56. I'm frequently accused of my posture screaming, "go away, I don't like you." Its rare that my arms and legs aren't crossed. My excuse? I'm always cold. My ideal indoor temp? 78 degrees in the summer. Alas, people tend to blast their air conditioning closer to 65. . .

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  57. My whole life, until college, I never realized that it wasn't normal to laugh without making sound. It's just how I was. I would smile and shake and sometimes rock back and forth, but no sound would come out. Finally a roommate said, "howcome you never think anything I say is funny?" (she was very funny). And then I realized that no one knew I was laughing that whole time. Now I laugh really loudly and obnoxiously. I can't help it....it's just what happened when I tried to create a laugh at age 22. Oh, my point? I can relate to your sneer. So sorry.

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  58. Anonymous12:26 AM

    I've never seen you be anything but a totally pleasant sweetheart. Maybe I just don't know you well enough yet, ha ha ;p

    -Cam

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  59. Way clever post title!

    I sympathize with you. I don't let my mouth relax much because it's on the naturally frowny side too. It's disgusting, my husband CAN'T frown. He tries and looks like a demented frog. Then here I am, looking like I'm sulking. That's me, the sulking princess. What a pair we make.

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  60. I not only have frowny face, but apparently I give the evil eye as well. The first year of marriage came with a lot of "Why the go to hell look?" from my husband. That is why I have a blog so I can tell stories and hopefully people will imagine me with a happy smiling face, not the "I'm so tired of trying to entertain you" face. So I am with you on this.

    On a side note, I found your Cordy blog and I loved it. I really hope you get a book deal someday because I LOVE your writing style. You totally pull me into the story and you are an author that I would like to be friends with because you seem totally real.

    ANYWAY.....You rock girl...Hey, maybe that's why you have the sneer, you naturally rock. There's a T-shirt for you...."I sneer because I rock."

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  61. I never thought of that before...when sometimes people look perpetually upset.

    Well, you should come by my blog because I left you something. And don't worry, I won't think you're smirking ;)

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  62. FTR, it takes a lot to get me to comment when there are already 60+, so you need to know that you've really gotten to me that I'm even writing this.

    I completely and totally identify with this post! I too have a natural frowny face; even when I think I'm looking pleasant I still look frowny. I know that I intimidate people because of this and I hate that. I am always shocked when I see candid photos of myself at a party and my expression looks like I'm chewing nails when in reality I was having a great time. I hate it and have actually tried the purposeful smiling bit and yes it did begin to drive me nuts!

    I've actually seen a t-shirt that says, "I AM</i SMILING."

    Thanks for this. I love it when you are real.

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  63. I chuckled quietly to myself reading this post so as not to wake up my sleeping babies, but inside I was howling with laughter.

    I can't relate to your pain here, as I actually have a slight smile on my face when it's resting naturally, but I did have a choir teacher in middle school who was super self-conscious about his naturally-frowny face and told us pretty much every day that he was not mad at us, he was glad to be there, etc. I appreciated his thoughtfulness in saying that repeatedly, because he was a big guy and did look scary at times with his natural glower.

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  64. i don't believe you have a sneer, but i have almost the same problem. only my look is vacant, as in high-as-a-kite. which is usually not true! (ha)

    i know someone who always smiles. even in her sleep. very disconcerting. unnatural. CREEPY.

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  65. OK, i just read everyone's comments. maybe there is an inadvertently- looking-cross club but really when i met you you did have the pleasant serenity going on. =)

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  66. I totally have the same problem. My hubby comes home and says, Are you mad or happy? It's not so fun!

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  67. Okay, now you have just made my whole day! I'm laughing my butt off! Girl, you are a great writer! And I'm going to think before I prejudge anyone on their facial expression! hahaha! My 15 year old, darling, sweet, joyful, precious son loves you too....you can see him (Nolan) on my blog!!!

    ~Rhonda

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  68. HAHAH! Me too. If I'm not grinning like a loon, I apparently look REALLY MAD. And it's just my face! I don't feel mad or ticked off or anything! I'm constantly having to reassure people that I'm not offended.

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  69. I just discovered your blog and now I'm seriously distracted by this post. I've just spent the last few minutes cruising through your blog posts trying to find one with a picture of you and your frowny face. Seriously, you can't post something like that and leave me hanging in unknowing ignorance!!! Give me a chance to see if I concur with the current assessment, would you?

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  70. funny.. now I will be stopping to think "what is my face saying". Thanks to you I now not only have to worry about my mouth getting me in trouble but also my face.. who knew !lol

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  71. OMG. I totally have this same problem! If I had a dime for everytime I've been asked "what's wrong" I'd be rich.

    And now I've grown to be overly conscious of it so I walk around all day with a freak'n smile on my face.

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  72. My sister and I have this problem, but with our voices. For some reason we come off sounding brusque or snappish when we don't mean to, and people think we're snarky. I don't hear it, but people (including our DHs, sheesh) react as if we're bitter all the time. Is there Botox for that? ;-)

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  73. I have the same problem! I always look mad when I'm not, except sometimes I AM mad and I want to pretend that I'm not, but I can't change my face. Most people think I'm stuck up when they first meet me because I'm shy. But, I don't like many people when I first meet them, so maybe I am stuck up? My point is, I sneer all the time too, but no one ever knows if my sneer is due to positive or negative thoughts. I've found my sneer keeps people on their toes around me, and I kind-of like that power.

    What? Don't judge me. :-)

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  74. I LOOOOOVE this story! My husband talks about my mom (behind her back) all the time about her sneer. It drives me nuts because I know she can't help it. I let him read your post so he could see that this really is possible! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  75. For me, it's the furrow between my eyebrows - I look angry, or perplexed. Both?

    Loved this post. You made me feel so much better. :-)

    ...Or :-(

    Either way.

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  76. This is such a good post. I have a friend who has a naturally fierce face and it really has affected her life and relationships. I understand what she's gone through so much better after reading your story.

    You write with such humor and wit. Love it.

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  77. Maddison1:04 PM

    I am so glad I can comment now because I have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM! For some reason, my face sets into a natural frown and people basically take a wide birth around me because they think that I'm perpetually pissed or evil or something. I hate it. My husband is always commenting that I'm a crab, etc. because of my face. Like you, most of the time I am thinking of nice and normal things like making dinner, etc. It's frankly exhausting because I feel like I constantly have to pull my face up and smile so that people don't run the other way.

    This is funny to me, though, because I happen to be sensitive to people's facial expressions and since learning that my face makes me look sinister, I have had to remind myself that they may in fact be just like me - perma-frowned. *sigh*

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  78. I get similar comments "Lighten up!" "Smile". Very irritating. I try to remember to lift the corners my mouth, but too much looks truly silly and too little does no good. Someone told me recently that when I smile it lights up my whole face. I don't think it actually has anything to do with my smile, but that it's such a contrast to my "mellow face" as you call it. What does that say about my natural expression??

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  79. Okay- I was kinda hoping to see pictures of your different faces..

    let US be the judge!

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  80. I am now an official stalker of your blog - this is just too funny!

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  81. I stalk your blog all the time and this is what is finally getting me to delurk:

    Awesome post!

    I can so relate. I have the same issue. Ever since I was a little girl, adults would ask me what was wrong, why don't I smile, etc etc. I spent the first few years of marriage having my in-laws pull my hubby aside to ask why I was so upset. My resting face is a frown.

    And yeah, I'm 34 and the frowney jowls are just starting to migrate south, too, which doesn't help.

    But I have one thing to say: Botox. You mentioned it jokingly, but FOR REALS. It works. I've only had it done a few times, and it's like a commercial. For months people will tell me I look refreshed, I seem so happy, bla bla bla.

    Okay, yes I'm from Orange County, CA but I swear I'm not a plastic face. Just one shot, right between the eyes, that's all it takes, and voila, furrowed-brow-be-gone. $100 bucks, in and out the door in 30 minutes, immediate social acceptance for 4-6 months, and nobody knows why.

    I mean sure, in theory I'm injecting a poisonous toxin into my forehead. But it's so worth it!! :)

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  82. This reminded me of two things.

    1. Marley & Me: Alan Arkin's character says, "This is hilarious. I'm laughing my ass off." And he doesn't even smile, much less laugh.

    I laughed my ass off here. INSIDE.

    2. My friend Jen has the exact same problem. Her natural face doesn't just look unhappy, it can, from time to time, look angry. It's just what her face does. And she has suffered prejudice her whole life. I'm going to send her here to read this and I think it might make her happy.

    You made light of this and turned it into something funny but I'm sure this has actually made your life pretty difficult from time to time.

    xo,

    N.

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  83. Bwhahaha! I've called people to apologize and they had no idea what I was talking about too!

    I have a natural frown. And I'm not too popular b/c of it!

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  84. My word but you are FUUUUUUUNNY. As I was reading this post, I looked for your profile picture and read "My Head"... I lost it.

    You SO should have won the humor blog award - I looked at the ones that WERE nominated and I think someone slipped someone else a Franklin. Or maybe they padded their comments in exchange for a place on the ballot. You ARE worthy!

    And hey, lighten up. Turn that frown upside down.

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