Let’s talk about THE POKER FACE. You know the face I’m talkin’ about. When I hear the term “poker face” I actually do not think of poker…at least, not right away. First I think of a doctor. I’m wondering if you need proof you’ve mastered this face in order to graduate from medical school. You know…they could video tape you in an ordinary conversation with a pretend patient…and then said patient could, say…pull an intestine out of his pocket (maybe during a coughing fit…work with me on this) and they could make sure that the doctor-to-be can muster no reaction whatsoever. No grimace, no horrified step backward…it would be one of the rare occasions where nothing is actually the correct answer.
“Where else can THE POKER FACE be used?” you ask.
Well, I guess there’s poker. (Duh.)
Then there’s celebrityville…Clinton Kelly has perfected it…the man’s got it down cold. I’m sure it’s taught in this venue as well…and not because he’s dealing with fashion disasters. I’m guessing TLC wants to see him react to those…I’m talking more about his being prepared to deal with the general public on such an up-front and personal scale. I’m imagining they sat him down early in his career and said “You’ll never survive in this biz if you don’t perfect this face,” and they demonstrated the no-reaction-at-all face, which he promptly parroted…adding the cornflower-eye-stare for drop-dead emphasis. After the execs picked themselves up off the floor, they deemed him prepared for public life and sent him off to makeup.
Finally, there’s parenthood. The ultimate test for THE POKER FACE. It might not be needed early on in the process but make no mistake…you’ll need it soon enough. I personally feel it’s used twice as often on BOYS than on GIRLS but this is only a personal observation. It’ll first crop up in toddlerhood, maybe the first time your little guy pulls the drawers out on the dresser and tries to use them as his own personal stairway to access the character he sees on the 19-inch teevee, causing said dresser and teevee to crash down on top of him. This thankfully only resulted in a frantic trip to the ER and a bloody bump on the head for the toddler, but so scared the crap out of said parents that for the next ten years his teevee was mounted to a steel bracket in the wall.
Not that this really happened (it did.) to anyone I know. (It was Taylor.)
With boys, the poker face is often used in conjunction with some amount of blood. That’s the hard part…not reacting to an injury when inside your head, you’re screaming like a banshee. Trying to look only mildly interested in wiping the blood off your son’s face while you’re mentally already dialing 9-1-1 and running through the list of known allergies with the paramedics is no easy feat…but it comes with the territory. If you’re lucky, it’s simply a bloody nose and after half a roll of paper towels and a change of clothes you’re back to being golden. He never has to know that you’ve jumped at every sound for the next several hours, fearful you’ll see him come hurtling through the door…clutching a bloody wad of tissues…a look of panic on his face.
Don't even get me started on the years when they want everything from red-tinted contact lenses (Taylor does not even need glasses) to sleeping in their clothes to save time dressing for school the next day...(Connor will do anything to sleep 5 minutes longer).
The POKER FACE is your constant companion during those in-between years…when your children are no longer babies but are not quite ready to be on their own. When they still need you and your infinite wisdom but they’d never, ever admit it.
As native New Yawkers, THE POKER FACE is a part of our genetic makeup…as instinctive as dodging cars in traffic or not rolling your eyes when someone mispronounces Houston Street. We try not to blink when we see the odd person walking the pot-bellied pig down 7th Avenue.The fact that it can help us survive in other areas of our lives is just icing on the cake…or in this case, chocolate chips in the cannoli.
I do love myself a good cannoli.
Now you, my thoutful & witty readers. When have you found the best use for the POKER FACE? And what tricks do you use to keep that look plastered there? Inquiring readers (that'd be US...especially ME, FYI) wanna know! So, spill!