I am smiling

A smile can do so much and say so much. There are many different kinds of smile. The brave smile when something awful has happened but you have to face the world. The sarcastic smile when you want to convey that you don’t agree with someone. The false smile – you know – the one that doesn’t reach your eyes. Sometimes it is hard to tell if people are smiling. Reminds me of the story about John Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, when he was at a news conference. The photographer shouted out “Can you smile please, Mr Prime Minister”. Vorster looked at him and said “I am smiling!” Maybe he just came across a bit like the Mona Lisa??

I am a smiley person – not sure why but it feels the most comfortable on my face. A couple of years ago I was on an Insight Tour of India and one of the other passengers remarked to me “You are always smiling!”. It made me think. What’s not to smile about? Apparently not everybody loves my smile. On my Saturday interview on Global Morning News with Tracy Nagai I talked about how more countries are requiring proof of vaccination and that is why it is now being suggested that we have a Canada wide platform for proving vaccination for those who wish to travel. Someone said “smack that smile off her face”. LOL. Maybe I should start smiling less. If I can!

An article I read in the BBC looked more deeply into smiling –  “Of 19 different types of smile, only six occur when we’re having a good time. The rest happen when we’re in pain, embarrassed, uncomfortable, horrified or even miserable. A smile may mean contempt, anger or incredulity, that we’re lying or that we’ve lost.”

Miserable smile (from the same BBC article)

“We now know that smiling is indeed instinctive, but not just when we’re happy. The ‘miserable smile’ is a stoical grin-and-bear-it expression – a slight, asymmetric smile with an expression of deep sadness pasted over the top.”

And did you know that there is such a thing as an angry enjoyment smile?

“Translating roughly as ‘malicious joy’, schadenfreude is the thrill of discovering another’s misfortune.

For obvious reasons, this deliciously mischievous emotion is best concealed from others. But that’s not always easy. “If individuals are alone and feel unobserved, they usually express feelings of schadenfreude by so-called ‘Duchenne smiles’ and ‘Duchenne laughs’,” says Jennifer Hofmann, a psychologist at the University of Zurich.

When we know someone’s watching, the best we can do is plaster an expression of anger over the top, resulting in the fixed, creepy grin which has become a staple of horror movie villains. ” (BBC)

Now if I saw that face above there is no way I would suggest that I would like to smack that smile off his face. I would be running in the opposite direction!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. I certainly love how smiles can mean different things. My favourite smile fact is blind people naturally know how to smile, even if they have never seen someone smile. I have seen it myself!


  2. The person who said ‘smack the smile off’ should practice their own medicine 🤣🤣. You have a lovely smile Lesley, I am guessing the majority enjoy it.


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