Two Faces

How do you assess the quality of the candidates for the US Presidency? Naturally, you listen to what each one says, and listen between the lines for what is not being said. Same goes for what they do and don’t do. And you look for character: for empathy, courage and general decency. I’ve done all that, and I’m super happy that Joe Biden is President-Elect.

I also look at faces. I see things there. I don’t care about bone structure that may produce what many people label as “handsome”. I don’t care about hairstyle or a waddle under the chin. I do look for softness, a sense of the skin gently moving rather than looking like a rigid mask. I think we all need to be moved by life while remaining strong, much like well-rooted grasses waving in the wind.

I look for balance, a general verticality and symmetry. A head askew must put a lot of pressure on the neck … and the soul.

I look for soft eyes, open to give and receive – eyes that seem large and blend into the rest of the face. Eyes that are open rather than enlarged slits.

I look for a face that is alive as opposed to dead, one that breathes and leans toward the future, rather than to the past. A dead face is so sad to behold … no joy and no sorrow.

I watch the lips. Do they sweetly lie above and below each other or press tight for victory? Is the mouth languidly horizontal or curled up on one end? Do the words sound like a melody or a dog barking?

Smiles are nice. Do they ever happen on this face? If so, is it a smile of union or divide, of brother and sisterhood or conquest? And … if benign, does the smile linger past the immediate thought?


Faces can change over time, and I don’t mean the inevitability of aging. Faces can mellow. Faces can rediscover the joyous lines of childhood. Faces can turn toward other faces and see who’s there.

May it be so.