Between the botoxed foreheads and the scrawny giveaway necks, the denizens of these exclusive suburbs radiate a brilliance that is totally unrelated to any life achievement beyond having sufficient capacity on their credit cards. Sporting pearly whites of a shade and, frequently, size that could do adequate service as a sight screen at the MCG, surrounded by them at social gatherings you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d turned up on cracker night.

Clive James once observed that to be smiled at by Ernest Borgnine’s lawyer was to incur flash-burns. I am not sure what is the most off-putting, the sudden parting of the lips presaging a volcanic eruption of light, or the permanently displayed enamel reminiscent of the 40-1 shot winner of the Queen of the Turf Stakes.

Appearance plays a role in careers. Tall people are more likely to get promoted. “Better looking people” are more likely to get recruited, and beautiful people are typically rated as more trust-worthy and capable. However, I have yet to see any research on bleached smiles.

A bit like oncoming full beam headlights on a dark night, it is almost impossible to see anything other than the glare of the bright light. Under such circumstances the prudent course of action is to step on the brakes. I am afraid I cannot trust anyone with try-hard teeth. If all the light is being reflected back at me, I begin to wonder whether the lights are on indoors. I will resist the temptation to beam, even if it means putting off adulthood for a while longer.

Jim Bright, FAPS is professor of career education and development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a career management consultancy. Email to opinion@jimbright.com. Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright

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