Too Much Smiling Hurts Your Face

Why are there so many words for frowngrimace, and the like, but so few for smile and grin? According to, synonyms for smile include: “grin,” “beam,” “twinkle,” “smirk,” “simper,” and “leer.” Grin lists: “smirk.” That’s it. And most of those don’t really indicate happiness. If one feels compelled to include a happy scene in one’s novel, it can be tediously irritating to come up with description that is not repetitive. By the time I’m done writing one, the last thing I am is happy.

I just read about a study done by the University of Maryland
indicating that happy people watch less T.V., preferring to read or socialize. This brings to mind the Great Depression, when everyone was so stressed that the public flocked to “happy” movies, with stars like Shirley Temple, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Now the hopeless watch T.V. (Dancing with the Stars, anyone?)

Conversely, if people who read are already happy, do they like more depressing fare? Hence the lack of need for “smile” and “grin.” Hmmm.

Maybe I’ll flip on the T.V. I’m still feeling a little down from writing that happy scene.



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2 responses to “Too Much Smiling Hurts Your Face

  1. This made me smile! That’s good…. isn’t it?? 🙂

  2. Layinda,

    I love this post! How true it is to find ways to express our joy in the written language. So many of them are tedious or cliched to the point where it becomes tiresome and irritating to read about.

    You’re very right: it is easier (and more satisfying) to write grumpy scenes.

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