When I first started dating my g/f here I was consistently getting the nicest smiles. These were
genuine smiles that come from the heart… It’s hard for foreigners (farang) to disguise smiles, as our smiles are in direct relationship with what we are feeling. We
cannot separate them and give a fake smile that is convincing. Most of us. Those that CAN do it in western society are very good at the game and can
fool nearly everyone because it’s such a rare trick.
Here in Thailand EVERYONE is a master of this game. The smile and feeling in your heart are not connected. In addition, there is NO cognitive dissonance within a Thai person that exhibits a smile different from what the person is thinking inside.
Lately with my girlfriend, as the relationship gets a little more “mature” – which really means, it begins to downgrade from fluff to reality… and I start farting in front of her and swearing unique combinations of words in traffic and such… I’ve noticed that she is smiling still. These are smiles that most would not detect as different… but, having known her for 2 years I can see a difference in the original smiles and these smiles.
Though the Thai smile can be said to have many, many, MANY meanings – and that they smile for EVERYTHING one might think that there are different smiles for each feeling or thought…
There are only a couple smiles in their whole repertoire (sp?). Physically only a couple. Emotionally, there is the whole gamut – maybe 100+. Physically I’m going to guess my g/f has about 4.
Here is a short list of things that I’ve see Thais’ smiling for:
Unwilling to admit mistake
If caught staring
In middle of argument
If VERY upset
I’m not sure that they smile when they’re killing someone, but if they are killing over som tam, then it’s a distinct possibility. And a very real one.