I hate it when people tell other people to "smile". I find it obnoxious. Why are we as a culture so obsessed with keeping up the facade of total bliss and happiness? Life is a mixed bag. It's tricky shit. Sometimes, gasp, a frown might actually make sense. Anyhoo, apparently I've been remiss in my annoyance.
This month's edition of Chatelaine would like us all to know that smiling will 1) help us live longer, 2) help us stay married and 3) if we aren't happy, we should just fake it. No kidding.
Apparently researchers at some Wayne State in Detroit studied pics of baseball players from the 1950s. They found that those who had bigger smiles lived longer than those who didn't. Those who smiled bigger in said pics apparently lived longer. And apparently, smiling has also been similarly linked to marriage success by other (unnamed) researchers. I can't help but think this research is a bit, well, flawed. Does one not think that it might be, you know, the actual happiness (as opposed to the physicality of smiling) that helps one live longer and remain contented in their marriage? Do we really think that a totally unhappily married person who just, you know, smiles is going to have a successful marriage? That seems goofy to me, and I am happily married. I can't help but think people who either aren't happily married, or who are happily no longer married might find this somewhat overly simplistic at best and kinda offensive at worst. (Hey - you're partner's a total bastard? JUST SMILE!)
Further though, Chatelaine informs me that faking a smile tricks our brain into being happy. Now I'm fairly certain that my brain isn't actually that stupid, but Chatelaine insists that the "scientists" say so.
Well - if the scientists say so....
C'mon girls and boys. Feeling depressed? Pissed off? Got issues in your relationship? Don't actually let yourself, you know, express what you're actually feeling. Pull out the Crest Whitestrips (who very probably sponsored the research for Wayne State University...). Throw on some lipstick or chapstick, or whatever else floats your boat. You gotta turn that frown upside down.
Just smile, close your eyes and think of England. It might save your marriage.
Hell, according to Wayne State University, it'll save your life.
And if it does - don't thank me. Thank Chatelaine.