The tell of a genuine smile if there ever was one, is this, and look, I’m going on a whim telling you this because it’s kind of a secret to most folks, and so I’m warning you in case you don’t want to learn something you don’t want to learn and begin noticing it a everywhere. That always happens doesn’t it? Anyways if you want to value most the smiles that you’ll ever see, then stop listening right here.
I wish I’d gotten a similar warning. Instead, someone casually explained their simple heuristic to judging the authenticity of a smile and suddenly most the smiles I saw came off staged, which was disillusioning at first. But then I began to appreciate the rare genuine ones. The ones the person themselves couldn’t initiate. The ones that bubbled up to the surface on their own accord.
And now that I knew what to look for in a person’s face to judge a smile, now that I had a genuine smile detector, I began seeking it. I ended up leaving a bunch of my old friends and finding new ones. The ones who gave me that unforced smiles. And it’s not like I was consciously doing this, it was just the over-the-shoulder perspective that explained why my friend group changed so abruptly come the end of high school. But that didn’t last long. I went to college where for some reason I lost my old craving for the genuine smile. The ones where the corner of the eyes spread before the lips. Just a little bit before.