The other day I went to pick up my father from the senior center where he spends many of his days. As is my habit I put a smile on my face as I walked in the door. Truth be told I was not that happy. It had been a rough day. But I make it a point to great my father with a smile on my face. I do not want him to misinterpret an expression based on a rough day as being applicable to him. I don’t want him to think that I am upset, frustrated or tired of him. Because I am not.

One of the elderly women in the center saw me and remarked to no one in particular “There he is with a simple as always.” This really struck me. The smile is not something I really think about doing but is automatic. But I wonder how many people do come to pick up older relatives with a frown or other negative expression on their faces. Is it because of the current errand (picking someone up who these see as a burden) or is it just a reflection of the day? One can’t know for sure of course but you have to wonder how it looks to someone who does feel like they are a burden. This made me redouble my practice of smiling but it also made me thing of smiles more broadly.

I believe that a smile makes people more attractive. I figure it is somewhere between 30 and 100 per cent better looking depending on the person and the context. A young woman who smiles that “boy do I think you are amazing” as a young man is probably 200% more attractive to him. Someone should do a study though. I’ll bet there is a real number that could be determined on average. So people who want to be seen as attractive should work on their smile first. It’s a lot easier than dieting or working out and less expensive than fancy clothing.

People should also smile because it makes people happy. Smiles are contagious. In fact I think you can “catch” some happiness from your own smiles.

When I was teaching I used to walk though parts of the school before school starts with a big smile on my face and a happy greeting for all I ran across on my lips. I am not a morning person so this took some work for me. But it seems like I was able to cheer people up if only a little and if only for a moment or to. But by the time my walk was finished I was happier than I was as the start. See a smile makes others happy and so they smile at you. It’s sort of recursive. Or perhaps something of a bootstrap process. But no matter how you describe it I think it is a good thing.

So smile. It will make you better looking and happier. Try it for 50 years and see if I am right. Smile

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