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?”
“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.
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