Have you got the look?

When we meet some­one for the first time, we of­ten judge them by their ap­pear­ance.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

THE other day, while walk­ing through a shop­ping mall, a good-look­ing man stepped out from be­hind a pro­mo­tional counter, smiled warmly and wished me good morn­ing. Lured in by his at­trac­tive smile, this shal­low fe­male stopped to lis­ten to what he had to say. Of course, even be­fore he be­gan talk­ing, I knew he wasn’t in­ter­ested in the charms of an older woman – he just wanted to sell me some­thing.

Less than a minute into his talk about the virtues of his won­der prod­uct, he paused and said, “Do you know what I thought when I first saw you?”

“Here comes another sucker?” I wanted to say, but didn’t.

“I thought you looked like an in­tel­li­gent woman. And I think I’m not wrong.”

It was one of those rare mo­ments when I didn’t know how to re­spond. This man didn’t have any idea if I was as smart as Ein­stein or as thick as a brick, but some­where in his train­ing man­ual, it must have said that some prospec­tive cus­tomers like it when you tell them they look in­tel­li­gent.

“You mean to say there is an in­tel­li­gent look?” I said, with­out both­er­ing to hide my chal­leng­ing tone.

“Of course, there is,” said the con­sum­mate sales­man. “I can spot an in­tel­li­gent per­son with just one glance. And you’d be sur­prised by the num­ber of stupid peo­ple I’ve seen to­day.”

“Are you try­ing to tell me there is a stupid look, too?”

“Oh yes.”

“And can you also spot it with just one glance?”

“Yep, ev­ery time.”

I don’t like to hear how stupid other peo­ple ap­pear, es­pe­cially when the speaker thinks he is flat­ter­ing me by com­par­ing me with them. So, I quickly ex­cused my­self and headed on my way.

When we meet some­one for the first time, we of­ten judge them by the way they look. We have evolved with the abil­ity to make a split-se­cond de­ci­sion about a stranger: is he a friend or a foe. Our safety of­ten de­pends on it.

For ex­am­ple, if you see a huge hulk of a man lum­ber­ing to­wards you with a grim look on his face, you might con­sider keep­ing out of his way, es­pe­cially if he has a large axe in his hand. And if you see an old lady hob­bling down the street with her knit­ting bag in her hand, you might dis­miss her as be­ing harm­less. You might be wrong on both counts. The man might just be on the way to chop fire­wood to keep some old peo­ple warm, and the old woman might just have killed some­one with a poi­son–tipped knit­ting nee­dle. None­the­less, we still stick to our gen­eral stereo­types when meet­ing strangers; other­wise, we would be­come para­noid and sus­pi­cious of ev­ery­one.

When I got home af­ter my trip to the mall that day, I de­cided to do a lit­tle re­search with the help of Mr Google and came up with the fol­low­ing: re­search shows that the in­tel­li­gence level of men can be re­li­ably judged by their fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

How­ever, the same re­search found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween a woman’s fa­cial ex­pres­sions and her IQ. I guess if you’ve got a ton of Bo­tox in your face, or you’ve trained your­self to con­trol those ex­pres­sions that might cause wrin­kles or make you ap­pear less at­trac­tive, you won’t be able to re­act out­wardly in a way that would be con­sid­ered nor­mal for an in­tel­li­gent per­son.

I mean to say, if your un­nat­u­rally in­flated lips are the size of scat­ter cush­ions and make you look as if you’re pout­ing all the time, no one is go­ing to look at you and think, “She looks like a clever woman. I won­der if she is work­ing with NASA.”

But if you’re a man, here are a few point­ers (culled from my re­search) that prom­ise to make you look more in­tel­li­gent.

Firstly: try not to squint. Open your eyes wide. But please avoid the “star­tled deer caught in the head­lights” ex­pres­sion.

Sec­ondly: re­lax your jaw. No teeth clench­ing or grind­ing.

Thirdly: make sure you keep your chin up. The ex­pla­na­tion for this one is too long. Just do it!

Fi­nally, a smile will make you ap­pear more like­able and there­fore more in­tel­li­gent.

Warn­ing: don’t overdo it! If you spend too much time try­ing to adopt these fa­cial ex­pres­sions, your brain will liq­uefy and be­gin trick­ling out your nose. And that’s not a clever look for any­one.

Check out Mary on Face­book at www.face­book.com/mary.sch­nei­der.writer

— 123rf.com

When all else fails, smile. It will make you ap­pear more like­able and there­fore more in­tel­li­gent.

star2@thes­tar.com.my Mary Sch­nei­der But Then Again

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