The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

2016 Week Thirty-Six: Turn that frown upside-down!

1 Comment



Did you guys know that American frowns and British frowns are NOT THE SAME?

Me neither, until I saw a link to this on Twitter.

Turns out that Americans call this a frown:

Joseph Gordon Levitt with his eyebrows furrowed and mouth downturned


Whereas in the UK we call that NOTHING AT ALL because SERIOUSLY WHAT EVEN IS THAT.

I mean.

Do you guys KNOW how many times I’ve written characters frowning?

It’s a lot.

Because, like most British people, 90% of my face-to-face communication is done via my eyebrows.


The frown of concentration:

me performing a frown of concentration

“I am concentrating, kindly do not disturb me with frivolities.”

The frown of confusion:

a frown of confusion

“I am confused, most likely by your tomfoolery.”

The quizzical frown:

quizzical frown

“I have questions regarding your horseplay.”

The frown of irritation:

frown of irritation

“I am greatly displeased by your foolishness.”

The scowl (a specifically angry subset of frown):


“I will f***ing end you.”

Over about a decade of putting my writing online, for an overwhelmingly American audience, I have almost certainly described all these frowns and many more.

And now I find out that, every time, you guys thought the mouth was getting involved??

I’m pretty upset about this.

But also, I have questions (about your horseplay, as my frown indicates).

Like, why has no one ever said anything about the frequency of frowns in British writing?

Do you actually all make the 😡 face as often as we frown?

And actually, speaking of emoticons (or emojis, as the kids are calling them these days)

Every time I bashed out a 😦 on MSN

You were like “Aha, a frown!”

Instead of “Oho, a sad face”?

Were we ever speaking the same language, American friends of the noughties?

This makes me sad (or maybe angry, or quizzical).

I sort of wish I’d never found this out.

At least now I understand the phrase “turn that frown upside down”

And this joke from The Simpsons

dance teacher to lisa simpson: "that's a smile, not an upside down frown!"

I guess that kind of makes up for not knowing how to face.


One thought on “2016 Week Thirty-Six: Turn that frown upside-down!

  1. Some British people do have a bit more enthesis on the downturned mouth in their frown, and some Americans do have less enthesis. I think it’s more that the Americans are more open about letting their faces show their emotions, so they frown more deeply, and smile more widely, and you can see it in their mouth more clearly. That’s just my opinion on the matter though.

    Liked by 1 person

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