I was recently in a meeting with my boss when she said something so absolutely horrifying I felt the need to retell it to Bridie over a couple bottles of wine.
Bridie asked, “Oh my word, what did you do?”
“Nothing. I just sat there and pretended to take notes. I couldn’t look up at her for even a second. I was so afraid I couldn’t control the look of horror that was surely distorting my face.”
To which Bridie responded, “Tatiana! God gave you big hands for a reason.”
Let me explain.
My face expresses every thought I am having at the very moment I am having it. And it is almost impossible to control, because most of the time I don’t know it is doing it. Rather, I am now aware that this sometimes happens, and can even sometimes fake a blank look (that really isn’t blank so much as a cross between upset and bored). But there are other times when I have a thought that I wasn’t aware there was a face you could attach. Like the time a co-worker walked into a client meeting wearing pink pants. I thought (not out loud) “ Really, pink pants to a client meeting?”
He looked at me to say hello, but instead asked, “What is wrong with pink pants?”
Until recently, my only remedy was to look away until I thought I had it under control and even then I would often have to look away again to make adjustments.
That is until I learned my big hands were the antidote to my anti-poker face.
Oh, right, I also have abnormally large hands for a woman.
I was dating Houdini for about a month when he come over with a “surprise.” Only seeing bags and fearing the worse, I hid in my bedroom until everything was in place, trying to focus all of my strength on keeping a straight, excited face. A happy, you-are-the-best-boyfriend-in-the-whole-world face.
Houdini finally gave the all clear, I stepped out and much to my wondering eyes did appear a coffee table covered with happy holiday hoopla. Really, hokie holiday hoopla. The sort of set up you would have for a seven-year old.
And here's the thing, for me, faking an expression is worse than just having the negative one. Because the negative one is still there, underneath the "oh so happy" face, thus mixing to create a face that makes babies cry.
So I threw my hands up over my mouth, exclaimed, "oh my god," and then ran up to him and kissed him so my face would be too close to see. While we kissed I tried to compose myself. Then I looked again at the coffee table, felt my face twist up into "what the fuck" and pulled him close to me to kiss again. That went on for another fifteen minutes.
The next day I was over at Bridie's drinking more wine in an effort to kill the brain cells that harbored the memory of that coffee table. We were out on her deck, smoking, laughing and retelling the story as more and more folks joined us. Each time my hands covered more and more of my face until Bridie pointed out -- my hands can cover my whole face.
Seriously. My. Whole. Face.
Our eyes grew wide at this discovery. Never again would I have to worry about reacting to anything. I would just overreact and cover my face until I could compose myself.
See, sometimes alcohol really does make you smarter.