I am one of these people.
Of course, I didn't know I had 'the look' until I was in my late high school years. Even then, I didn't realize what kind of power 'the look' gave me.
It was a high school friend who clued me in to the fact that I had 'the look'. She admitted that when I first visited our school--in first grade--she thought to herself, "I do not want to be that girl's friend. She looks mean," and she avoided me for our second grade year for fear that I would beat her down.
Hearing that made me chuckle. As I got older, I learned to talk the talk to match 'the look', but ultimately I've always been the type of person who gets punched in the face for trying to stop a fight, not start one.
My father has 'the look'. But anyone who knows my father knows that he is a stand up guy; someone who is slow to anger, someone who will spread himself thin in order to help others, and someone who is certainly not to be feared.
Regardless of dad's laid-back nature, his occasional corny joke, and track record of kindness, when we were dating my husband was terrified of my dad. Every time he confided this to me I would laugh at him. My dad was the dad who out of nowhere blurted out the word "Boogers" loud as a fog horn to make my brothers and me laugh. He was the dad who spanked me with a flip flop when my mother couldn't deal with me anymore. He was the dad who hid Game Boy games in his shirt pockets when he came home from work.
There was nothing terrifying about him.
I eventually learned to find the realistic side to my boyfriend's feelings. After I'd had a laugh about it, I realized it was the most respectful feeling my boyfriend could have for my father, even if it made no sense based on how my father treated him.
When we were married for a few years, Hubby told me that he was still afraid of my dad, and that he would probably always be. I knew then that it wasn't 'the look' that had intimidated him. Sure, maybe on their first hello it had been, but 'the look' couldn't put that type of undying fear in a man.
It wasn't a matter of what dad did or didn't do. It was a healthy fear that all men should have of their father-in-law. A realization that though they may now be family, should that husband do anything to that father's little girl he quickly will discover why a father is to be feared above all men.