Simpering: You swore blind it would be on her desk by the end of the week. Too busy looking out the window to do it and now you’re afraid to own up and take a slap on the wrist. Instead claim that you’re having a tough time of it at the moment – suggest an illness and simper like a demon. Simpering is best performed by retracting the lips and revealing all of your teeth and as much gum line as possible. May also be useful to dip one shoulder when performing. Often mixed with a weak smile for convenience sake. Tell her it will be on her desk by Wednesday, actually Close of Business Thursday is more realistic, at this stage.
Joyous: Your house just recently burned down with all your worldly possessions inside – that were worth sweet damn all – and now you can claim it all back on that unwanted but obligatory home insurance policy for a sizeable sum of money. You decided against telling the insurer that most of your CDs were scratched and unplayable, your clothing old and tattered, your jewelry cheap copies filled with not so precious stones. A joyous expression is performed by raising the corners of your mouth upwards. Don’t forget to do the eyes and eyebrows along with the mouth or you will end up looking deranged i.e. (No. 464 Deranged).
Bored: For this facial expression just to do nothing at all. Instead concentrate on pulling a complete blank with neither an upward or downward movement of the mouth and nothing in the eyes. Imagine you are in a work setting and a colleague is describing what they did over the weekend. Less is more when performing an expression of boredom. Remember what your mother said to you when as a teenager you complained of being bored: ‘Ah well, 99% of life is boring, actually.’
Resigned: For this facial expression it’s important to bring the shoulders forward. Try to master a look of resignation by thinking of a really disappointing moment in your life and then remind yourself that no matter how diligently you worked on it or what approach you might have taken – the same end result would have come to pass. Again, bring the corners of the mouth down and allow the lower lip to tremble, gently, gently, there you are. The eyes need to go completely dead, it’s like turning off a light switch. There you go. Spot-on.
Brian Coughlan lives in Galway City, Ireland. His first collection of short stories Wattle & Daub was published by Etruscan Press in 2018. He has published work with Litro NY; Storgy; The Galway Review; Bohemyth; Litbreak Magazine; Lunaris Review; Fictive Dream; ChangeSeven Magazine and Crack the Spine, among others.