Poker Faces

We’ve all heard of putting on a poker face, what Google defines as “an impassive expression that hides one’s true feelings.”  However, sometimes even when gambling it’s possible to give away more than you realise.

A few of us went to the casino a few months ago and endured a nightmare on the blackjack tables.  Even our croupier was shaking his head at the luck he was getting.  The phrase that abounded most often from one of my friends was, “Well, we’ve stayed for 4 hours and it’s cost me [however much money it was] so it’s been a good night for that amount of money.”

The last time it was said I had to point out that the frequency with which I was hearing it made it sound far too much like protestation and that the only person it was trying to convince was actually the person who saying it who just so happened to have lost the most money.

Freudians call this “reaction formation” and it occurs when a person feels an urge to do or say something and then actually does or says something that is effectively the opposite of what they really want.

Of course, such sentiments aren’t only reflected from those in denial, but we can also give away more than we realise during every day activity – what we choose to talk about, how we dress, the career we enter, what we blog about… They are expressions of some things that we might struggle with and want to learn more about.

The reason, of course, is that the stuff we know already is boring and uninteresting. The game of poker wouldn’t be as fun if you know what hand each player was holding. Knowing what our blackjack dealer had up his sleeve though… That might have made our fun night just a little cheaper.

I’m starting to fashion an idea in my head
where I would impress you
with every single word I said.
Would come out insightful or brave or smooth or charming
and you’d want to call me
And I would be there every time
you’d need me
I’d be there every time…
But for now I’ll look so longingly
For you to want me, for you to need me, for you to notice me

For You To Notice… by Dashboard Confessional

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