Faces and heels

In the world of professional wrestling, each performer is either a Face or a Heel.

A Face is virtuous, loyal, honest, hard-working, resilient.

A Heel is cocky, cowardly, dishonest, underhanded, cruel.

The success of a wrestler’s character isn’t always about the effort the worker puts in. The performers themselves, the human beings behind the characters, sometimes seep through the act: a kind glint in the eye, a smile that naturally settles into a smirk, a softness in the voice. Wrestlers who are ‘natural’ Faces are miscast as Heels that no one fears; wrestlers who are ‘natural’ Heels are miscast as Faces no one likes.

The more that the character pushes against the betrayal of their body language, the more the audience tunes out.

We are all performers in public spaces: at work, at parties, on Facebook. Most of us try to be Faces while we’re out there: earn smiles, appear virtuous, play by the rules. Behave.

Remember, body language always seeps through. Insincere Faces are sometimes liked, though rarely cheered.

But everyone loves a great Heel.