Smiles and Laughter

Have you ever looked at the smiles of other people.  Not just your mama’s, your cousin’s, or Aunt Sally, but people you work with, acquaintances, or strangers in the mall or on the street.  I’m a people watcher so I notice that kind of thing – smiles.  With some folks you have to look real hard to find a smile, it’s one of those that just barely curve up at the corners of the mouth and make you wonder if they are really smiling or just gritting their teeth.  There are sweet smiles, mostly coming from old ladies like me, big smiles coming from children who are excited, and smiles of the romantical kind.  I remember in my earlier days people used to smile at everyone they met on the street, whether they knew them or not.  Of course, I was raised in Georgia and that was pretty much southern etiquette.

Now, in the “study” of smiles, you will notice that one person can have many different kinds of smile. (Of course, that would have to be studying the people you know.  You start following somebody around in the mall trying to watch them and see their different smiles and you might find yourself in jail or, even worse, dealing with Homeland Security!)  Some of the different smiles of folks are of when they are genuinely happy to see you, when they receive a gift, when they take that first sip of coffee in the morning, or their pet decides to join them while they are just chillin’.  I think if someone a whole lot smarter than me were to watch people and take a survey, they might find some kind of connection between a person’s smile and their personality.  Just thinking over the folks I know it seems like those with great big ear to ear smiles are more extrovert than those with the smaller, sweeter type smile.  (Not to say a big ole grin is not sweet, too, but I think you get the picture.)  I did have to take my survey mostly from folks I know as you don’t see many smiles at the mall – not even from behind the counters much anymore.

Now that we have done our “cursory” study of smiles, let’s move on to laughter.  If I’m in the position of waiting for someone in the mall, I like to just sit down and watch people.  Nowadays I don’t see as much laughter as once I did, but it does break out once in awhile, particularly with girls.  Now, you have to break girls down into subcategories (we are quite complicated after all).  You have those in the 5- to 8- or 9-year-old group.  They have that sweet, little, happy giggle of friendship and comradery that leads you to believe they have so many plans for when they get back to their “land,” especially if they are holding a particular new toy in hand.  

Next we have probably my favorite group – the adolescent, or what I call those “silly,  high-pitched giggly over everything and nothing” group.  Just have a group of those young ladies walk through and you can’t help but break out in a smile and even giggles yourself, sometimes.  That is the happiest group of all.  Why, they are not even on the same planet as we are.  And believe me when I tell you, sometimes I wish I was back on that planet again because I actually can remember being their once and when you’re with your friends, why it’s euphoric!

Next, we have the teenagers.  They are quite interesting, rather secretive as when they are with a group as whenever they laugh they cover their mouths slightly most of the time.  I’m not sure why that is other than just being at that self-conscious age.  However, as they are “stalking” as in a pair, you can tell by their eyes they are laughing but there is a full cover of the mouth.  Why?  Again, I don’t know.  This coverage of the mouth phenomena came about sometime after I was a teen so I am not privy to the explanation of said coverage.

After those teen years I noticed there are no more giggles and very little laughter.  Why?  I think folks just take themselves way to serious.  Hey, this is life and you only get to live it once so you might as well laugh, be funny or even silly.  After all, in 100 years who is going to remember what stupid thing you did in the mall in 2016?

They guys, well, let’s just say most don’t laugh in public, especially from that early age of 8 or 9 until 18 or so.  It’s just not done.  Even in those middle 20’s until retirement you don’t see guys laughing much at all.  There must be some kind of “guy etiquette” here that I am not privy to, being a woman.  Of course I am talking about mall watching and most guys don’t like to shop so it would make sense that they find nothing to laugh about in the mall as they have mostly been dragged there anyway.   I know they do laugh, however, because I’ve heard them when they are playing cards, playing pool, playing football or eating something they really enjoy.  They bring out their big ole guffaw, roaring, deep laugh.  Wait a minute, hold the presses!  I may have stumbled onto something here.  Guys really only laugh when they are playing or eating.

Of course, when you reach the retirement age group we are pretty much allowed to say or do whatever we please, laugh out loud and have fun as we have lived long enough that we’ve earned that right.  Have you ever seen the smile or heard the laughter of someone who has lived to be 100-years-old?  I have only seen that and heard it from a news report on TV but even from the TV, the smile was golden and the laughter sounded like the chiming of silver bells from heaven – the most beautiful smile and wonderful sounding laugh of all.

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