The Magazine

Bodies in Emotion

'What does she mean by that?' The mystery is solved.

Feb 18, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 22 • By JOE QUEENAN
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Reiman also contends that an upper lip raised in a sneer may be a sign of contempt, and maintains that upbeat people are better liked than mopers. As she puts it, in her deceptively authoritative way: "Numerous studies have found that people who smile are believed to be more warm, honest, polite, kind, sociable, happy, flirtatious, successful and attractive."

Not one study, mind you, not two studies, but numerous studies.

Those who do not feel like wading through an intensely technical, occasionally abstruse volume filled with discussions of such exotic constructs as the "Pinocchio Effect" should turn to the back of the book, where Reiman answers a number of "frequently asked" questions that have perplexed mankind since we first emerged from the caves.

"Is it true that men who put their thumbs in their belt loops are more prone to be perverts?" she asks, rhetorically. No, is the answer--though regrettably she does not address the corollary: "Is it true that men who put their thumbs in your belt loops are more prone to be perverts?"

Yet by far the most intriguing subject is broached by the anonymous social leper who queries: "I have a problem. In general, people take an immediate dislike to me before I have even spoken. I can sense the atmosphere. Please don't say it's my imagination. I often think maybe I give off bad vibrations, and they detect it."

How Reiman got Hillary to participate in this book is beyond me.

Joe Queenan is the author, most recently, of Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country.