Why is it when women put on mascara and men play computer games we both make identical strange open mouthed expressions?

Concentration on arbitrary complexities.

And I don’t like the gender split. I’d bet a lot of money that when women play computer games and men put on mascara they make roughly the same faces.

One of my favourite faces for people to make, that is unfortunately only normally done by kids because adults have it drilled out of them, is the ‘sticking a tongue out in concentration’ face.

It’s adorable, slightly absurd, and wonderful.

It’s odd, but it’s similar to watching people sleeping (not in a creepy way). When people sleep and when they are totally concentrated in something complicated and immediate they don’t have time to consciously engage with their face, and they relax in a certain way. The face takes on a different matter, somehow. The structure falls away along with the self awareness.

I love it.

There’s something about unselfconsciousness that is attractive, even though, in the concentration face, we’re normally talking about odd contortions. I could spend hours watching people’s weirdfaces.

I’ve less experience with mascara, but computer games induce a certain kind of concentration/frustration. I’ve noticed that they increase my rage levels too much these days. Apparently I scared my old housemate the last time I played MarioKart in the living room.

It’s odd how something can simultaneously increase zen/flow and make you rage. Possibly I’m just out of practice at getting into that nearly meditative concentration and the imperviousness to dismay that grants. I used to game hard, and I used to just get utterly lost in whatever I was doing. I miss that. Lately I’ve been having huge urges to play computer games on a totally generic level. I have yet to work find a game that I can throw myself into with the same sort of abandon that I used to, but the nonspecific urge is still there. I want to drown in concentration, shrink my world down to the size a computer screen that’s also a window.

But I don’t seem to have that mindset so much any more. It’s kind of sad.

And my face is too busy already for mascara to really do me any good.

Chunky framed glasses, bushy (mis-shapen currently, also on my to do list) beard and a waterfall or two of hair mean that make up would just be too much. It’s a shame, as every now and then I see a look I’d like, and think ‘if I didn’t have glasses, I could totally rock that’. But I’m not a contact lens person, so it remains a step too far.

So currently that open mouthed tension is reserved for DJing or threading needles. Reading Foucault or pondering where to put my towns in Settlers. Beard trimming and getting lost in music.

Everyone must have a list of things that they use their face to focus on. It’s like pouring that extra few inches of effort into something.

It helps. I swear.

Stick your tongue out just a tiny bit, see what it adds.


Illustration by Emma.


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Emma, Questions by Jo. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why is it when women put on mascara and men play computer games we both make identical strange open mouthed expressions?

  1. Nessa says:

    I liked this post and especially the bit about not liking the gender split. I’m female but i also have more experience with opening my mouth at videogames than at mascara.

    Also, before i saw this post I had been dooding this http://i.imgur.com/p6537.png, don’t know if that’s what you mean with the tongue sticking out part. I just wanted to convey someone very concentrated in their work whether it’d be writing or doodling.

  2. That’s precisely the tongue. And I was going to go further on the gender split thing originally, but figured I’d probably done that enough times already and didn’t want to just be seen to be being mean. Spent a lot of this week criticising the questions, which is a bit mean.

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