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Number of muscles??

14 Jan 12 | Re: Facial exertion

“It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, you know!!”

This, of course, is something that simpletons say when they encounter someone who isn’t grinning and skipping around doing jazz hands quite enthusiastically enough for their liking. Sometimes they say “Don’t worry, it may never happen” or “Worse things happen at sea” instead; but the inane frowning/grinning fact is a fave.

Now you probably already realise that this stuff is idiotic. On encountering a gloomy soul, the would-be bucker-up can’t possibly know the cause of his misery. They are essentially playing Russian roulette, tempting fate until someone with genuine, terrible cause to be upset splatters the furniture with their chirpy, upbeat brains. But I have known that for years – decades! – and so have you.

What is new to me, though, is something I have found out now that I have a young baby. From day one, babies are brilliant at frowning. They can’t lift their heads, they can’t name a single member of Atomic Kitten, but frowning is no trouble. Smiling, however, takes weeks or even months. So this number-of-muscles business doesn’t even work on its own facile terms. It is clear, scientific fact that frowning is far easier than smiling. Far easier and much more natural for human faces of all ages. The number of muscles doesn’t come into it. I don’t believe, on reflection, that number-of-muscles-required is, in fact, a thing in any meaningful sense.

So next time you get the chance, frown at a hearty. Put as many muscles into it as possible. You can add a few more by shaking your fist as you frown, if you like. Why not develop a full-body frown that exerts every single muscle in the fullest possible human expression of hatred, misery and disdain. Then ask them if worse things happen at sea.

Posted by RADAGAST THE BROWN at 21:17

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