I recall my mother telling me that one of the things she disliked about Americans was how they smiled all the time. "They just can't stop smiling. It makes no sense. You can't be happy just to be happy. And when they smile at you, have to smile back. I hate that. They force me to smile." With that moment in my life in mind, let's turn to this interesting post on WaPo: "A color-coded map of the world’s most and least emotional countries." Data collected by Gallup does indeed show that North America has a more smiley culture than Southern Africa...

People in the Americas are just exuberant. Every nation on the North and South American continents ranked highly on the survey. Americans and Canadians are both among the 15 most emotional countries in the world, as well as ten Latin countries. The only non-American countries in the top 15, other than the Philippines, are the Arab nations of Oman and Bahrain, both of which rank very highly.

Africans are generally stoic, with some significant exceptions. The continent is among the world’s least emotional, though there is wide variation, which serves as a non-definitive but interesting reminder of Africa’s cultural diversity.

North Africans and Arabs tend to be unhappy.