Patti Reveals What is Behind Their "Cry Cover" Smiles

This is an expression I call the cry cover smile. Yes, most people who give this expression believe they are covering their true emotions with a smile.
This expression is typically found in men and I think comes from the need to keep a “stiff upper lip.” Many times this expression is an attempt to hide many intense emotions of sadness, fear and anger. I see it in men who typically have very strong egos and power and are caught and brought down. There are several photos of this expression in former Governor Blagojevich.

Congressman Wiener’s expression is a suppressed fear, disgust and anger (If you cover up his mouth and look at just his eyes you will see the whites around his eyes and his sideways glance, and disgust. Notice the wrinkled nose that is a unique movement of the face given in disgust.)
If I knew exactly when he gave that expression I could tell you whether he was disgusted with himself for what he did or disgusted with the media at a particular question or bringing his behavior to light. The wrinkled, upraised chin and tight lips show the suppression of fear and also of anger.

Spitzer also has a cry cover smile. His chin is more raised and more defiant and proud and more of the bottom lip is raised and held inside the mouth. The corners of the mouth come down significantly in a way that is more common to this expression showing his need to smile through the pain. Cover his mouth and you see his eyes are more hooded downwards at the corners and sad. This combination reminds me of the classic sad clown painted face.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at