Don’t judge a book by its cover

…or a person by their laugh. Or whatever.

I’ve been in and out of the bank where I have a car loan. The lady servicing me pissed me off the very first time with her deadpan, almost rude expression.

However, over a few phone calls and some more visits, I realised that under the layers of foundation and fake grey lens, was a smile itching to wrinkle-up her face.

There was still something warm about her, though her face seemed to have OD-ed on botox and went to deadpan hell.


But a smile or a laugh is no guarantee of bonhomie either. I had an amazing 3 hours at one of the city’s best spas recently, to do a review. The ‘therapist’ was skilled and efficient. Except that she followed up every response with a brief, practised laugh that really freaked me out.

It went something like ‘eh-ha’, and lasted precisely 2 seconds. It was her personal twitch, I think. By the second hour of the treatment, I was very careful not to say anything close to a joke, or anything that required a lengthy response from her.

No such luck.

“May I use the washroom before the next treatment?”

“Sure, eh-ha.”

Both victims of social pressure, methinks. To be someone they were not comfortable being. First was probably told she needed to cling on to her fast-disappearing youth. The other was asked to be friendly, even if just polite and efficient would have passed muster.

8 thoughts on “Don’t judge a book by its cover

  1. shyam says:

    That could definitely be a nervous tic… Pete’s ex does that too. She laughs at anything you say, even the most banal stuff, as if it’s the best joke she ever heard. It’s disconcerting, I agree 🙂

  2. PNA says:

    God! I would run a mile from ppl who fake smiles like that, but it did bring a smile the heehee kinds 🙂

    for me it’s neither the expression or the smile, it’s the vibes, u get some from them… even over chat, scarrrrrry!! I don’t want to judge ppl but I just know most of the times what’s right or wrong with them !! freaks me out!!

  3. sindhu says:

    I know of another freak laugh case..a lady who cracks a joke and laughs (not the normal haah hee kinds, but the big earth-shattery ones) and then we all start laughing with her. But she stops in mid-laugh and goes eerily silent!
    It made me stop in mid-laugh too!

  4. Indian Homemaker says:

    I have seen some people who laugh at anything we say, and the first impression, that of a pleasant easy going person lasts around ten minutes. No idea if they learn to laugh to appear pleasant or it’s their way of responding to everything(sometimes not at all funny)… yes, it is sad.

    I guess we can’t really judge a book by the cover…

  5. UmmON says:

    @pna: the overly sweet vibe also gets on my nerves.
    @sindhu: who???
    @ihm: yes, know a few like that. even their casual conversation is interjected with laughs, it starts unnerving you after a while.

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