Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's written all over my face

The center of my brow is permanently furrowed. Now that I'm in my thirties, I've started looking a little closer at the lines I see in the mirror. Out of curiosity, I called about Botox for my forehead, but then I started to think about what hiding my facial expressions really meant.

First of all, I've only recently started thinking about the lines in my brow, even though I've had them for as long as I can remember. I showed my mother the face I would have to be making to create such a landscape and she told me that it was the exact expression that I had on my face when I was born. A little research taught me that the expression in question is associated with worry, anxiety and controlled fear. Not a big surprise. That's the undersong of my life. Apparently, my face does accurately represent who I am.

I find it amazing how well we can infer fundamental bits of one's character by looking at his or her face. When we start changing the cues to our emotions with injections and surgery, how do we change the way people interact with us? I suppose the depth of the concern over this would depend on how comfortable you are with showing emotions in the first place. Our faces, unfettered with pins or potions, can't help but give away telltale signs of what we try to hide. Take some of these famous faces for example...

Barack Obama's deep vertical eyebrow creases indicate masked anger.

George Bush's tight lips and wrinkled full brow indicate contempt and confusion.

Conan O'Brien's laugh lines and crow feet indicate a jovial personality.

So, even though I can't promise that I'm going to age gracefully, I *can* promise that I'll think twice before I paralyze the muscles that are responsible for advertising who I am. My lines may not be beautiful, but they're honest...and my mom taught me that honesty is a good thing.

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