People watching at the airport

Brenda Cannon Henley

Writing recently about what our faces say about us led me to another topic. My daughter DeAnna, who works for an airline, has always been funny by nature. She could be a standup comedian if she wanted. Because of her personality and length of experience, she is often brought passengers with problems or questions and has diffused many serious situations. One I will never forget occurred at Jack Brooks Regional in Beaumont. A coworker brought a lovely little lady over and explained that the passenger was booked to Dallas and then on to Boston, but that she had become fearful of what the weather in Boston might have become.

DeAnna put her arm around the precious little lady, and said, “You wait right here.” With that, DeAnna ran outside of the terminal where the front is all glass, put her hand over the top of her eyes, and spent several seconds looking up into the sky. She came back inside, touched the lady on the arm, and said, “You need not worry. Boston is beautiful. It’s a little cold, but there’s sunshine. You are going to have a great trip.” With that, the lady grabbed her carry on and walked right out onto the tarmac. As soon as she cleared the door everyone in the terminal broke into a round of applause. Some passengers just need a little assurance that things will be fine.

A British researcher, Dr. Christian Jarrett, shared some interesting thoughts on the subject: “The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your face, features, and complexion give away all sorts of information about you.” Jarrett states that, “Brown-eyed men are viewed as more dominant than their blue-eyed friends, and faces that are more babyish are rated as more trustworthy.” Experts tell us that humans exhibit six basic core emotions via facial expressions: happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger and sadness. I read that the shape of a man’s face is related to his fighting ability, and that the odds are most often on the man with the wider face. The mouth and its motions help onlookers decipher the person’s emotional state.

The way we pose for a photograph often shows if we are more arty or scientific. Arts scholars and psychologists often pose with their left cheek showing while engineers, mathematicians and chemists often choose to pose with their right cheek showing. Experts in the field talk about individuals with more “lived-in” faces and those with pain showing in their expressions. Good and hard lives are often depicted right on our faces for the world to see. Our overall and current health is often registered in the face as well and clear, bright complexion is an indicator of good health for many.

I personally believe that jealousy, coveting, anger and hatred also show on faces, and particularly on those of women. Some people simply age well because of their good genes inherited from generations back, and others do the damage to themselves. I have an acquaintance that I have known about 15 years. I had not had occasion to see her for a good while, and when I did, I almost did not know her until someone else called her name and I took a second look. She had changed so drastically. There were obvious sun-deepened lines on the face that had once been rather pretty. Her eyes had a hard look to them and somehow, her mouth was shaped differently than I had remembered it. She appeared to have shriveled up and become bitter about life.

My heart was pricked. I asked a mutual friend if she were ill and what had caused the drastic changes. She explained that her husband was ill and that he had become combative, would not leave the house with her, refused food she cooked, and was rude to others. Her life had become dismal and she had become bitter and sad. I asked if we could help in any way and the friend said, “No, she doesn’t want help and she really doesn’t want anyone to know.” We did not have to be told. It was clearly written on her face.