June 21, 2013

"Outside the United States (and certainly outside the South), the tyranny of the smile is considerably weaker."

"In France, even women with the most naturally perky of faces seem to purposely cultivate BRF to enhance their je ne sais quoi."

64 comments:

Moose said...

So it's OK for men to look like bad mutha' fuckers all the time now too?

Cool!

bagoh20 said...

It seems unbelievable to me that women are really mystified about the effects of their main and most commonly deployed power play - dissatisfaction. It's how they push others around, get what they want and grab an upper hand all day long 24/7, yet they claim to have no idea why people care when they are doing at any given moment.

Because you have trained us to care. You can't smack people with a newspaper to get your way, and then act surprised when they keep asking you why you have the newspaper today.

bagoh20 said...

What does Althouse do when she's not happy about the direction of the comments? She throws out a big verbal frown, and we are expected to feel like bad children. I bet she even has that BRF on when she's typing it, except it's not resting.

Now right now I'm bitching here, but I have a big smile on my face, and you know it.

Paco Wové said...

I recall reading somewhere that, in France, smiling at strangers on the street is often taken as a sign of mental retardation.

FWBuff said...

BRF is its own reward.

wyo sis said...

It's so nice when a syndrome is identified. Now I can just say I suffer from BRF and get all kinds of sympathy and good advice. Or, I could if people weren't scared to talk to me.

Nomennovum said...

The problem isn't BRF. It's bitchiness. It's rampant.

Rabel said...

"I was in my early twenties when I discovered my problem..."

"I finally get it," I told my mother. "It's my face!"

I have a different theory.

wyo sis said...

I wonder if there's a syndrome called Improper Use of Commas Derangement.

Titus said...

In Boston if you smile on the street with someone they will think you are crazy or are after something.

Or maybe even a 'what you lookin at".

YoungHegelian said...

Be very careful when some American chattering class person uses the phrase "the rest of the world", because what they often mean is Europe.

In the Far East & in most of Africa, if you want to keep your job in a service industry, you sure as hell better smile when you deal with customers or you're going to be out of a job very soon.

This idea that only stupid Americans smile as an expected public face to the world is simply Eurocentric bullshit.

Titus said...

In Boston if you smile on the street with someone they will think you are crazy or are after something.

Or maybe even a 'what you lookin at".

Patrick said...

She seems to mostly smile for Google.

YoungHegelian said...

@Titus,

In Boston if you smile on the street with someone they will think you are crazy or are after something.

Ah, modern New England! Lose the Puritan moral rectitude but keep the Puritan pole up the ass.

traditionalguy said...

When doing an armed Neighborhood watch at night, it is suggested you use your Eiensatzgruppen face. If that face asserting the group is behind you fails to conquer an individual, then shoot the individual and tell the group you had to do it for them.

But poor Zimmerman ened up being prosecuted by a larger Neuremberg like tribunal and will have to hide that face from these jurors. Can he do it? I doubt he can stay in character that long for that many days.

Patrick said...

I doubt he can stay in character that long for that many days.

Of course you know all about his character. MSNBC told you he's a big racist! Also, he killed the President's son!

Portia said...

BRF is important, somehow?

bagoh20 said...

" in France, smiling at strangers on the street is often taken as a sign of mental retardation."

When you consider the French common attitude toward strangers who they aren't hoping to fuck, it makes sense that smiling at them means you actually are retarded.

I speak from complete ignorance, but enjoy attacking that whole country, because they are all French.

Saint Croix said...

Might also call it the "porn face," since women in porn are never perky, smiling or happy.

Saint Croix said...

Might also call it the "porn face," since women in porn are never perky, smiling or happy.

Bob Ellison said...

It's not a disease, but it is real. Some people (Magic Johnson) just naturally radiate happiness, and people respond to that. Others (Steve Buscemi) naturally radiate bitchiness, and people respond to that.

Most people, I think, realize this at a fairly early age, and take the measure of their resting faces. Saying "I'm OK!" or "I don't actually think that's funny!" all the time is a tip-off.

The disease is incapability of realizing how you appear to other people. I wear shorts, for example, and I know how that would seem to the Professor. I'd have to have a disease to both (1) read this blog and (2) not realize that.

Matthew Sablan said...

This bothered me, then I realized I should smile more.

Dr Weevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyle said...

I've got a non-naturally smiling face and I'm a man.

I'll always remember being asked by someone in high school if I was sad or something, when I was in fact giddy.

I have to be motivated to smile and I'm Southern, but I'm still very friendly and kind I think.






Dr Weevil said...

Maybe not so much New England as just Boston. My sister lived there for years, and traveled on business a lot. Once she was on a crowded street and had her foot stepped on by some guy who then profusely apologized. She thought he was trying to pick her up or pick her pocket or scam her in some way until she remembered she wasn't in Boston, she was in Salt Lake City, and he was just being polite like a normal non-Boston American.

Nonapod said...

Portia said...

BRF is important, somehow?


It's a grave First World problem, similar to the horrors of dealing with slower iPhone apps and receiving poor service at Starbucks.

Inga said...

The French Paradox. Drink wine, frown and be healthy.

Astro said...

Maybe this explains Montreal.
I used to travel to Ottawa on business a few times per year, and often had to change planes in Montreal. I noticed the women there all seemed to have sour, leave-me-the-hell-alone looks on their faces. I figured it was that French model wannabe look -- which it was, but I think now it specifically was that bitch-face French model wannabe look.

Inga said...

And eat lots of butter.

Mitchell the Bat said...

A woman's face can be attractive even though she's not smiling.

For example, with her mouth formed into an "O" with my balls bouncing off her chin.

JPS said...

I'm remembering a passage in The Winds of War, where Pug Henry writes his wife from the USSR in 1941:

"Russians smile only when they're amused, never to be pleasant. It makes them seem distant and surly. I guess we strike them as grinning monkeys."

Also, in Final Flight, by Stephen Coonts, a terrorist commander tells his subordinates, who are wondering how they'll "pass" among Americans when they don't speak English: Just smile.

"A smile was an American's passport, his signal to the world that his heart was pure and his intentions good."

Nomennovum said...

Let's no forget the effects of botox, collagen, and other forms of plastic surgery on cultivating this unhappy look.

edutcher said...

Sounds like it might have something to do with living under Socialism.

Nathan Alexander said...

BRF is a learned behavior that comes from women finding it keeps them from having to deal with "undesirable" males.

They only complain about it when it inadvertantly drives away a man they actually want.

Then it is the fault of the Patriarchy, as is pretty much anything that doesn't comport with what women want.

Nathan Alexander said...

Based on the pictures of the author, she looks bitchy even when trying to smile.

But still pretty.

Paradox, I guess. In any case, looks say nothing about character or ability.

Nomennovum said...

Sounds like it might have something to do with living under Socialism.

Maybe, but, more particularly, I think its feminism. Contrast Westerners with eastern Europeans and most Asians. However, maybe I'm confusing BRF with actual bitchiness.

Hagar said...

Being Norwegian born and raised, I have never understood why American women can't just act natural.

It is extremely annoying when the newscaster lady on TV, with a bright smile on her face, tells us 60 people were killed in Baghdad yesterday.

Hagar said...

Shannon Bream on Fox News: Is she a real woman or a computer simulation? A female android?

YoungHegelian said...

In the Episode "Remember" from the World at War series, there is an interesting interview with a German woman who was in her late teens when the war ended.

She spoke of how hard it was in the post-war time, but that she lucked out and got a job as a waitress (near food, lots of it) at an American Officers' Club. But then she says something strange:

Woman: "[The American officers] were very mean to me."

And I'm thinking did they sexually abuse her?

Interviewer: "What did they do?"

Woman: "They all the time told me to 'Smile', and I didn't feel like smiling."

Cross cultural confusion, I guess. Just like sending corn to the Germans as post-war food relief didn't go over too well either.

Thorley Winston said...

Be very careful when some American chattering class person uses the phrase "the rest of the world", because what they often mean is Europe.

In the Far East & in most of Africa, if you want to keep your job in a service industry, you sure as hell better smile when you deal with customers or you're going to be out of a job very soon.

This idea that only stupid Americans smile as an expected public face to the world is simply Eurocentric bullshit.


Agreed although the first clue that the article was bulls**t should have been that it was from the Atlantic.

creeley23 said...

I recall reading somewhere that, in France, smiling at strangers on the street is often taken as a sign of mental retardation.

A European friend with family in France, Italy and Ireland tells me that Europeans, especially women, don't smile at strangers. That many Americans do is something he enjoys about our country.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

edutcher said... Sounds like it might have something to do with living under Socialism.

6/21/13, 11:02 AM

I think you might be onto something here. I've never heard if BRF before. I always called it the "Russian smile"

creeley23 said...

Whatever happened to "Japanese Smiling Disease"?

Jay said...

In Boston if you smile on the street with someone they will think you are crazy or are after something.

Reason 4,213 why Boston sucks.

I Callahan said...

but keep the Puritan pole up the ass.

Especially in Titus' case...

Hagar said...

The ubiqitous apologetic smile is equally annoying.
I bet the IRS Nazi who told the Illinois politician she would let his case go if he would just promise never to run for office again, wore an apologetic smile on her face the whole time. And the guy was not even there; she was just talking into the telephone receiver.

I Callahan said...

I was in Boston last year for a Tigers/Red Sox game. I noticed that most of the women (the ones who were not at the ball game) suffered from BRF. I also noticed that if there were couples with kids, the women looked like the stereotype of a lib feminist: small reading glasses, no makeup, short hair, a book in one hand, and the husband/boyfriend BEHIND her pushing the baby. And his look was like the Bill Cosby impression of a husband from his "Himself" stand-up gig.

Men and women must be miserable in that town.

Crunchy Frog said...

"It is extremely annoying when the newscaster lady on TV, with a bright smile on her face, tells us 60 people were killed in Baghdad yesterday."

We got the bubble-headed bleach blonde
Comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash
With a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry

I Callahan said...

Paradox, I guess. In any case, looks say nothing about character or ability.

I saw your comment over there. And I tried to reply to the knee-jerk one just after yours, and it got eaten.

The moderators must be out, purging any logic from that thread.

Paddy O said...

I lived for a while in the mountains of SoCal. It was considered a resort town, with more than half the homes vacation homes. You could always tell locals from occasionals/visitors. Locals would smile, say hi. Occasionals and visitors, very rarely even eye contact and more rude. I experienced the same thing moving from Pasadena (no eye contact, walk by strangers) to eastern edges of LA county suburbs, where people say hi as they pass.

My experience in Europe has been fairly limited, but if I remember right it's very much the same sort of thing. Cities are aloof, the country/rural areas are friendly. There's a lot of supposedly sophisticated travelers that never really make it out of urban areas, so they think that's what the country is like.

In both Ireland and France, where I've spent a couple weeks in each, I definitely found a difference. That's why while I liked Paris and Dublin as cities, I am happy in the future to only spend time in other parts of those countries.

bagoh20 said...

"... it is suggested you use your Eiensatzgruppen face."

Is that the face with the busted nose, and the bleeding skull? You're right that didn't stop his assailant, so luckily for Zimmerman, he had one more option, and only one. As is often the case with young men, the dead guy insisted on being dead.

Nathan Alexander said...

I saw your comment over there. And I tried to reply to the knee-jerk one just after yours, and it got eaten.

Yeah, I was having fun for a while there. I got in some good shots, I think, and they seemed be getting through, but we'll have to wait and see if they are allowed to remain in contrast to The Narrative.

I guess I should feel embarrassed to put the same comment here as I did over there, but I'm trying to get better at recycling to Save The Earth.

Valentine Smith said...

I tried for years to get rid of my I'll-kill-you-mutha-fucka resting face. Thing is, I couldn't rid myself of the notion that, if necessary, I WILL kill you mutha fucka.

Same with her, she's a bitch but won't cop to it.

Nichevo said...

I don't know if people understand this, but the intent is probably kindly. People may think that this advice, these exhortations will help people to feel better...in telling people to smile, there is a belief that smiling will actually make you feel happier. Not sure why but perhaps PoB treats this in AM1/MC in the interchange between Dr Maturin and Dr Ramis after the Sophie is captured ("Zeno, followed by all his school...").

So the idea is not so much to demand that the BRF "victim" must comport with social expectations, as trying to be constructively supportive and contribute to the happiness of another, which seems to be our highest social value these days.

Of course my mother just dismisses such people as "ungeblutz punim" and the hell with 'am, and worries no more.

ricpic said...

Charles Bukowski once wrote a poem about Paris in which he said no one smiles because they're all scared shitless. Well, it's as good a theory as any other.

Nathan Alexander said...

I think from now on, I'm going to leave a "It's not about the Nail" comment on any articles I run across with Grrl Power themes.

Google it. You won't be sorry.

Nichevo said...

Why is it so important to you that Zimmerman be a bad guy, tradguy? It's like you have money riding on it.

acm said...

Nathan, the whole article is the author complaining about things besides her BRF driving away guys she might like---it prompts strangers to call out to her and managers to worry.

Nichevo, the intent may well be kindly, but it's rude. Walking up to a slouching man and telling him to stand up straight would be well-intentioned, too, but horribly rude. I think it's probably about 50/50 well-intentioned/demanding, myself.

Seeing Red said...

...I have thick, dark eyebrows that tend to knit together when I'm lost in thought....

There are these things called "tweezers."

Nathan Alexander said...

acm,
Actually, reading through it, it is really hard to understand what her point is.

It starts with
1) the complaint that people didn't want to talk to her because of her face
2) segued to people her talking to her when she didn't want them to because of her face
3) then moved into her deciding to blame all the problems in her life on her face due to an Oprah show
4) continues with a double-standard about expectations that is probably purely within her own mind
5) then ends with a paragraph saying that her BRF is a good thing because at least she doesn't get harassed like friendly-faced women do, and how that makes her more like the rest of the world instead of the primitive Americans and especially those backward (ugh!) southerners.

Oh, the pain of being a woman in the world. She knows exactly what the rest of the world is thinking when it interacts with her even though the rest of the world can't possibly know what it is like to be her, which is why she wrote the article...except you still can't know the pain unless you've lived it yourself, and you haven't. Unless you sympathize, in which case, you go grrl!

And it's NOT about the nail.

Beach Brutus said...

I predict she will enjoy being the bitch while she enjoys the power that the years of her beauty prime bring. She will turn 40 and wonder why no one cares any more. Then she will move home to the South, start smiling at folks and finally find happiness. Oh the Tyranny of just being nice to people.

Beach Brutus said...

I predict she will enjoy being the bitch while she enjoys the power that the years of her beauty prime bring. She will turn 40 and wonder why no one cares any more. Then she will move home to the South, start smiling at folks and finally find happiness. Oh the Tyranny of just being nice to people.

Hagar said...

For friendliness, how about just meeting my eyes? Forget the smile; just recognize my existence!

In this country, for a female to meet a male's eyes for some reason is thought to mean she is "interested" in him. Hence girls are taught never to meet a man's eyes. I have never quite understood that native custom either.

Palladian said...

The reason Europeans don't smile much is because a lot of them have rotten or absent teeth.