In Roald Dahl’s children’s book Danny the Champion of the World, five-year old Danny describes his father, stern and serious-looking on the outside, as an “eye-smiler” — a very desirable quality, in Danny’s opinion:
[My father] never smiled with his mouth . . . . He did it all with his eyes. . . . When he thought of something funny, his eyes would flash and, if you looked carefully, you could actually see a tiny little golden spark dancing in the middle of each eye. But the mouth never moved.
I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself. A mouth-smile is different. You can fake a mouth-smile any time you want, simply by moving your lips. I’ve also learned that a real mouth-smile always has an eye-smile to go with it. So watch out, I say, when someone smiles at you with his mouth but his eyes stay the same. It’s sure to be a phony.
Good advice for life, I’d say. Avoid phony people and treasure those who are genuine in their interactions with others. Surround yourself with eye-smilers, and I’ll bet your eyes will smile, too.