The stereotype of the British stiff upper lip has traditionally paralysed our attitude towards expressing visible emotion. Empire was built on the deadpan, the clenched jaw, the occasional polite smile. But of late, we have begun to relax our faces (those of us, at least, who have resisted the frozen allure of Botox). After all, we don’t need to bluff our way through life, poker-faced; we all know it’s a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. In fact, there now seems to be a trend for extravagant facial expressions, from the gurning, eye-widening and jaw-dropping of the TV talent competition and morning chat shows to the fake shark’s grin of the salesman.
Never forget, however, the simple power of the small facial gesture; lifting an eyebrow to express everything from contempt to conspiratorialism, pursing one’s lips to suggest disapproval – these are minute movements that can crush or uplift those around you.