After having been stung one too many times by interviewers who said I didn’t come across as upbeat enough, I have decided to start doing some research to see just how big a deal it is to the world in general, and employers in particular, whether people come across as happy or sad. Dental researchers seem to have the whole smile thing down to a science, all about angles and ratios and symmetry (and something called a buccal corridor), and nothing whatever to do with actual happiness. In China, the latest elective surgery fad for women seems to be dimple implantation. Scary, though not as bad, perhaps, as foot binding or rehymenization.

I hope to examine cultural attitudes toward smiling. If this post from the “Racial Realist” blog is accurate, smiling is not as big a deal in black culture as it is in white culture, where we are told to Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella and Put All Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and smile, smile, smile.

My latest research nugget, The Grin Dividend, comes from the current Atlantic Monthly.