Great news for those of us whose mouths are not constantly in a state of upturned bliss: finally, there is a cure for chronic bitchy resting face. It costs $2,000 and involves severing your jaw muscles, but details, people, details.
The Lipt (that’s lip + lift) is being touted as the latest plastic surgery craze in plastic surgery-crazed South Korea. The procedure pulls the corners of your lips upward by slicing and rearranging the muscles that want to pull them down, leaving you with a permanent "smiling impression." As with all plastic surgeries, internal happiness is not guaranteed.
Originally touted as a means to combat the gravity of age, the Wall Street Journal reports that the procedure is increasingly being sought out by younger and younger people who are "concerned about facing criticism at work because of their expressionless miens."
Faced with hurtful remarks about sagging mouth corners, the impetus behind getting this surgery – especially in notoriously appearance-conscious South Korea – isn't entirely incomprehensible. An informational video created by South Korean clinic Aone Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery deftly explains that the Lipt is important because frowny faces make us look mean and are likely to scare away small children, while smiley faces make us look "bright and gentle," and, therefore, appealing regardless of the inner existential turmoil we constantly face as sentient human beings (is that just me?).
Nearly all of the patients shown in Aone's video are female, which is unsurprising given that women frequently have to deal with comments about our perceived level of happiness based on mouth orientation. "Show me a smile" is a pretty standard commandment of street harrassers, and the cultural expectation that women should be nice, agreeable, or friendly is well-established; if we're not perennial rays of sunshine in public, we're likely to be branded as bitchy or stuck up (remember that New York Times profile that basically called January Jones a stone cold ice queen?). This surgery is just another reminder that our presence must always be a pleasant one, lest we forget we are not emotional beings ourselves but rather incidental characters in others' lives.
Personally, I'd rather retain the ability to express a full range of emotions than project a false air of serenity, but to each his or her own. And don’t worry if you can’t afford the Lipt. There is one other way to get a permanent smile: