When is a smile not a smile?
When it’s a show of teeth. A snarl without sound. A completely Alpha fucking thing to do.
I realized recently I do this when I feel threatened. Usually by someone in a more powerful position than I am in. I’m pretty sure I learned this manuever either training dogs or as a nurse dealing with surgeons. But it works. This cold, steely gaze and unpleasant smile of mine.
It is the complete antithesis of the warm welcoming smile I just wrote about as the universal symbol of humanity and friendship. I found that insight totally ironic and post worthy.
It all has to do with the energy you put behind it. The very same facial expression — with just a hint of openness becomes welcoming. Or with touch of cold glare becomes a challenge.
Body language and facial expressions give us away far more than we realize. As an OR nurse, I have learned to read the eyes of the people in my room without the benefit of seeing the rest of their faces which are covered with masks. You can’t tell if they’re smiling or frowning behind there. So you have to be able to recognize from their eyes what the rest of their face might be doing to convey the emotional content of their words and actions.
You need to become nearly psychic.
Even sophisticated as humans think they are — our brains still recognize the subtle differences on a primal level every bit as much as a wolf pack sorts itself out.
Welcome to your wild side.