And the survey said

Lucas Gonze lucas@gonze.com
Sat, 1 Dec 2001 17:35:29 -0500


In my area the smiling rules are different for each demographic.  Older italians
have a conspicuously beaten expression, younger italians give you a little nod
if they know you.  Bohemian girls are smiley when they rise above narcissism,
bohemian guys mostly look vain.  Hassidics' field of vision doesn't seem to
register non-Hassidics.  Latinos give you big grins.  Young blacks work hard to
give the appearance of not noticing me, a middle class white male.  Older blacks
have about the same smiling rules I do -- don't initiate but do reciprocate --
very tit for tat.  Since the WTC, I notice that cops have started meeting my
eyes and generally being less defensive in their body language.  (A lot of cops
live around here.)

New Yorkers in general smile more than Bostonians, I think because there are a
lot southern and western transplants in NYC.

Males 15-30, all ethnicities (except maybe latinos) get and give the fewest
smiles, because they are the most dangerous people.  One thing I notice is that
as I age I get more smiles, and in general it's easier to talk to people.  This
is a really good thing.  Just now I got in a good conversation on the street
with an old guy on my block, Duffy, who was out walking his daughter's dog and
drinking a beer in a paper bag.  In my 20's that would never happened.

- Lucas