Monday, 2 February 2015

PHOTOS: This Woman Hasn't Smiled In 40 Years...To Stay Youthful

Tess is 50 and has not smiled in 40 years she sits stony-faced while her friends giggle around her. Not even a flicker of a smile, let alone a laugh, escapes her lips.Tess isn’t devoid of humour, but for nearly 40 years she has made a conscious decision not to laugh or smile — even at the birth of her daughter. This is because Tess says that maintaining a perennial poker face is a crucial way to keeping her — admittedly, impressive — youthful looks.

Tess, who works as a cooking instructor for a vegetable produce company,said

   ‘It’s not as if I’m miserable. I love life. I just don’t feel the need to show it by walking around with a rictus grin on my face.’The joyless nuns there didn’t like children to smile. I was always told to wipe the smile off my face so I learnt to smirk instead,’ says Tess. ‘If I did smile I developed big hamster cheeks that made me look deranged. I looked up to old-school Hollywood icons such as Marlene Dietrich for inspiration; she never smiled and I loved the way she smouldered glamorously.’

     When I found something funny or I was tempted to laugh — which happened on a daily basis — I learned to control my facial muscles by holding them rigid,’ explains Tess.The corners of my mouth might go up a little, but I never looked anything other than faintly amused. Friends knew I was fun to be around, so it wasn’t an issue.

By the time Tess — who divorced in 1998 — reached 40 she realised that while friends had developed lines around their mouths, her skin was wrinkle free:

     ‘It dawned on me that I looked younger because I’d spent my life not smiling.’‘My friends have nicknamed me Mona Lisa, after the da Vinci painting,’ she says. ‘Mona Lisa was said to have been quietly amused, as am I. I just won’t show it. Recently, an interior designer friend was telling me how a Spanish client kept referring to the department store John Lewis as “Juan Lewis”. I found it hilarious, but kept a straight face. I never crack.’

The men she dates, meanwhile, often ask her to smile.

     ‘I assure them it’s not because I’m not interested,’ she says. ‘My pet hate is men who call out, “Cheer up, love, it might never happen,” ’ in the street. ‘I wouldn’t dream of criticising their appearance.’

But London-based psychologist Amanda Hills says smiling is crucial to our mental health.

     ‘When you smile you release endorphins, known as “happy hormones” that make you feel good,’ she explains. ‘Not only that, but the more you do it the happier you feel, because you are telling the neural pathways in your brain you are happy — even if you aren’t.

And some experts believe that this bizarre trick might work. Dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe says:

     ‘It can be an effective anti-ageing technique. Undoubtedly, there are some actresses who have retrained their facial expressions to this end.
    Wrinkles happen because of the constant creasing of smile and forehead lines by the muscles in your face, which fold the connective tissue under the skin. If you can train yourself to minimise your facial expressions, you won’t get as many lines.
    ‘We know this because it is exactly how Botox works — by reducing muscle activity. Not smiling is a DIY option, although I would have thought it difficult to keep up, not to mention boring for your partner and confusing for your children.’

So, is a life full of laughter really worth sacrificing for the sake of a few lines?

Culled from Mailonline

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