Lesson #320: The Glasgow Smile

Today’s lessons is less about me learning what something is and more about me learning it’s not called what I’ve always known it to be called. This should give you plenty of insight as to how I spent my weekends from August to May.

I got to the Glasgow Smile by way of The Black Dahlia.* I’m not even kidding. I was reading a blurb on her that mentioned the Glasgow Smile, which included a description of what that is.

Here’s the thing: I never knew that it was actually called a Glasgow Smile; in my world, it’s called a Chelsea Grin.

If you’ve seen The Dark Knight (the second, and best, in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy) — or if you’re familiar with character actor Tommy Flanagan, who legitimately has one — you know the Glasgow Smile. It’s the effect of scarring from having the corners of your mouth slashed with something (utility knife, glass, whatever happens to be sharp and handy) and then beaten to the point that because of the way the facial muscles contract, the beating winds up tearing the small cut basically from mouth to ears in a way that scars into the shape of a smile. Evidently, victims often die of exsanguination.**

Hilariously, one of the top results on Google for Glasgow Smile appears to be a fan-written love story involving the band One Direction. (I refuse to link to that — either the story or the band — on principle. Look it up yo’ damn self!) But at least I’m not the only one. I share my ignorance with teenaged girls.*** Awesome.

Anyway, there’s not a whole lot to go on here, source-wise. If you google Chelsea Grin, you get a band (see? I’m not making it up! It’s an actual term!) If you google Glasgow Smile, it leads you first to Wikipedia. So…here you go. The Wiki page (Chelsea Grin redirects) is here. Pictures — mostly makeup for those of you who are squeamish, and mostly healed for the ones that are real — are here.

*I was going to link to something on the Black Dahlia, but the second page that comes up is Wiki, and the first is a site that looks like it was built in the late 90s on one of those free sites (minus the excessive sparkle), and it weirded me out. I get that certain things, like sensational unsolved murders that get made into terrible movies starring Josh Hartnett’s eyebrows, lend themselves to devotees, but there’s something about sites like those that just make my skin crawl.

**Because this post is rather macabre, I feel I should note that exsanguinate is one of my favourite words. It’s so evocative. Also, it makes me think of Firefly, which is never a problem.

***Presumably, other football fans as well, and we’re many! It’s nice to assume I’m not sharing my ignorance with only teenaged girls.

2 thoughts on “Lesson #320: The Glasgow Smile

  1. Bruce says:

    And to think without CSI, NCIS, Bones, and their derivatives, most people would have no clue what exsanguination is

    • disquisitive says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most of Firefly’s fans known the dual meaning of sanguine because of the episode in which it’s discussed. I knew the blood-related one (because sang is the French word for blood — hooray for Latin languages!) but not the definition in which it’s originally used. “Point of interest: it also means bloody” is an afterthought to the confidence/optimism definition.

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