I’ve always wondered about this expression, tongue-in-cheek. It’s a face someone makes when he thinks he’s been clever, to put the tip of the tongue in the cheek, between your molars, like you’re cleaning your teeth.
I wonder why we do that. It seems to be an involuntary gesture. I think people do it unintentionally. I know I do. I’ll say something I feel self-conscious about, but that’s meant to be funny, but I’m embarrassed that maybe it’s not actually funny to anyone one but me, and there goes my tongue, into my cheek.
Tongue-in-cheek the expression means to joke, to not be serious, so I’m guessing that’s where the expression came from, that when someone is feeling clever they put their tongue in their cheek. I’d like to look it up though, to see if it means something more. Maybe it’s a way to bite your tongue so you don’t give away the joke. Or a face you make to keep from laughing. Tongue-in-cheek seems to be a nuanced form of humor, where people hear it and wonder, “Is that a joke?” and the joker thinks, “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
For the month of November, I am participating in NaBloPoMo and plan to publish every day of the month. Usually, I will publish a 10-minute free write, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Follow along with the tag #NovemberDaily.