In the time it took me to write this post, I violated Tess Christian's personal life strategy at least a dozen times. And for Christian, that's no laughing matter. The woman recently made headlines over her claim that she has not smiled or laughed for 40 years — all in an effort to prevent wrinkles.
In the odd-but-true story from the U.K.'s Daily Mail, Christian explains that she trained herself at a young age to avoid laughing and smiling, even at the birth of her daughter, so that she could preserve her good looks. There's no denying that this 50-year-old's strategy has worked — but was it worth it?
Wrinkles are caused by a number of factors, both environmental and genetic. But one of the primary causes is repeated movement of the facial muscles in the form of smiling and frowning.
Botox works in this regard by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles in the area where it's used. This makes wrinkles relax and soften. Christian sees her approach as safer and more natural than this procedure.
"Yes, I am vain and want to remain youthful," she told the Daily Mail. "My strategy is more natural than Botox and more effective than any expensive beauty cream or facial.’
Christian also claims that she learned her stony-faced ways from going to a strict Catholic school where children were often warned to "wipe that smile off of their faces." By the time she was older, the somber expression was an easy habit to keep.
She is also not the first to give up smiling to maintain a smoother appearance. Kim Kardashian has told reporters that she avoids smiling and laughing "because it causes wrinkles."
I'm not sure a comparison to Kardashian is any kind of compliment. Still, while it's easy to judge Christian for her stoic attempt to avoid a wrinkle, I have to admit that it does show an amazing dedication to her goal. And it really is no different than the woman who spends hours on the StairMaster to achieve a certain shape in her posterior or the man who stops wearing hats to avoid getting a bald spot.
We all have different standards of beauty and different means by which we achieve them. According to Christian, she's a happy, vibrant woman who loves her life — and her youthful appearance.
Sounds like she might be having the last laugh, after all.
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