I was always told it takes twice as many muscles to frown as it does to smile.
Everyone has probably heard the aphorism in one form or another â€“â€“ the smile-to-frown muscle ratio maybe differing slightly. If itâ€™s less physically trying to smile, then we should of course make it our default facial expression, right? But hey, what about those wanting to lose a few pounds? Is that why the thinnest models always look the angriest â€“â€“ to burn more calories?
Well, no, probably not. Stick-thin runway models have that â€œfrownyâ€ face because they only ate a single Goldfish cracker for dinner last night, and itâ€™s impossible to be happy when youâ€™re that hungry. (Thatâ€™s why professional bacon-testers are probably the happiest people on earth.)
But regardless of whether itâ€™s physically easier or not, lately, Iâ€™ve noticed something: an abundance of people taking themselves, and their facial expressions, too seriously.
This past Sunday night during the Academy Awardâ€™s Red Carpet interviews, â€œBoratâ€â€™s Sacha Baren Cohen â€“â€“ in character as dictator General Aladeen â€“â€“ spilled an entire urn of the late Kim Jon Ilâ€™s â€œashesâ€ on interviewer Ryan Seacrest. I thought it was one of the best moments of the night, but Seacrest looked like he was about to cry.
Seacrest, who is as metro-sexual as they come, was obviously shaken by Cohenâ€™s stunt. He tried to maintain his cool for the cameras, but Iâ€™m sure as soon as they stopped rolling, he ran off-stage and demanded that his $5,000 Armani suit be burned and Cohenâ€™s P.R. team be sued. But I say, donâ€™t be such a diva, Ry-Ry.
Celebrities like Seacrest are infamous for taking themselves too seriously, and Cohen has taken full advantage of this by making his livelihood mocking their inflated egos.
But itâ€™s not just celebrities. I canâ€™t count the number of times Iâ€™ve seen people, especially in college, who seemed to be offended at the slightest jab to their ego. I think it may have to with the personal transition phase weâ€™re in. Because really, if you donâ€™t know yourself, how can you make fun of yourself?
Comedian Erin Jackson recently wrote a piece for the New York Times called â€œStupidity is Funny, But Itâ€™s No Joke.â€ In it, she partially blames our tech-reliance for our diminishing ability to joke, saying, â€œOur dependence upon technology has played a huge part in our â€˜endumbeningâ€™…But beyond that, I believe itâ€™s also resulted in a collective inability to discern nuance, interpret social cues, take a joke. Somewhere in between all the LOLâ€™s and J/Kâ€™s, weâ€™ve lost our sense of humor.â€
And I agree. The way I see it, the more we â€œLOLâ€ without actually laughing our loud and â€œhahaâ€ without actually…ha ha-ing, we somewhat taint what we truly find funny.
We need to stop being self-righteous Ryan Seacrest types and realize that laughing â€“â€“ especially at ourselves â€“â€“ is the best way to be make it through life happy.
I mean, after years of falling off curbs, accidentally calling my female teachers â€œMomâ€ (until middle school, at least), running into low-hanging tree branches and falling asleep atop strangers on airplanes, Iâ€™ve learned to laugh at myself as a mode of survival.
And as it turns out, after extensive Google searching and finding the reputable source of information, straightdope.com, Iâ€™ve discovered that only one type of smiling actually requires less muscles than frowning â€“â€“ artificial â€œbeauty queen smiles.â€
The real smiles, the ones that wrinkle your eyes and leave your face sore after hours of laughing, use up more muscles than any other facial expression.
But I think most of us can agree â€“â€“ when the happiness is genuine, what else matters?
Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.