The true Warm Smile is as rare as the gift of serendipity on a soccer pitch. Armchair aficionados might imagine that Ronaldinho’s art is easy – his style suggest as much – until they try it for themselves. Try a smile before a mirror. There are as many smiles as there are motives for smiling, but the real McCoy is the WS.
The Efficiency Smile (dispensed by the pharmacist along with your drugs, or stapled onto your restaurant experience along with the receipt for your bill) cannot be mistaken for the Warm Smile. Neither can the I’m-Being-Bloody-Well-Paid-for-This Smile, which swims in self-congratulatory shoals in the swank offices of grand corporations. Of course the thousands of Grudging-Smiles that litter dingy receptions across the land also miss the mark. – For Warmth is no fairy godmother, favouring the unfortunate at the expense of the blest. As for the bitter smile of the You-Wronged-Me-But-I-Am-Biding-My-Time-For-a-Stab variety, the less said the better.
Sooner than later, as this things go, someone will patent the course (after all laughter workshops are already a growth industry in Germany) and politicians will enroll to upgrade their tortured Look-I’m-Really-Friendly Smile to the real thing. Sooner than later, plastic surgeons will also grow up. As people realise that the crease of the Warm Smile is more attractive than the laminate effect of Botox, Smile Surgery, that sub-speciality that tweaks and loosens turgid facial muscles for a full-facial, knee-trembling flash of the old gums, will come into its own.
And although we will not get better politics, hair-dressing or junk food, the world will be a slightly better place; because although the WS is not the preserve of a warm heart, we cannot argue with the glow it leaves in us.