No, I’m not sad or frustrated or hormonal. There isn’t anything wrong. But that doesn’t stop friends, family, and even total strangers from constantly asking me if I’m okay.
You see, I have a condition commonly known as Resting Bitch Face (RBF). This is when your face appears judgmental, mean, or emotionless when it’s just your normal face.
Here’s how to know if you, too, suffer from Resting Bitch Face:
– You’ve been told you’re prettier when you smile, or that you need to smile more.
– Your significant other lives in constant fear that they’ve done something wrong.
– Some have said that you remind them of Kristen Stewart.
– People noticeably avoid approaching you because they think you’re upset.
That last part is actually my favorite perk of having RBF: Strangers are more likely to leave me the hell alone. It’s my first line of defense against making awkward small talk with others.
It’s almost as if I can see other people react to my bitch face in real time. They see me, smile, notice I’m not smiling, and shift to avoid me altogether. I guess I don’t seem warm or inviting when my face says “I’m busy plotting someone’s murder right now.” But my RBF is a blessing because it has saved me from a lot of uncomfortable situations and conversations I don’t want to be in.
For example, at the PTA meeting, when Becky asks for volunteers and homemade baked goods, she knows better than to ask me. She doesn’t know me well, but she probably gets the impression that I don’t want to be there because I’m standing in the corner deadpanning everyone like Wednesday Addams. Likewise, when I eventually show up to the bake sale with store-bought cookies, she won’t give me any hassle.
Moms don’t approach me at the park. People don’t talk to me on the street. And no one bothers me when I take public transportation because my face says “I might be a normal person, but could also be a sociopath with pepper spray.” (There’s just no way to know for sure, and I’ve found that people typically err on the side of caution.)
My RBF has saved me when I’m in line at the grocery store. I seem to be one of the lucky few who doesn’t give off a “please talk to me for no reason other than we’re stuck next to one another in this godforsaken line” vibe. Something about my perma-stank-face tells people I don’t give a shit that the apples are on sale.
Another great thing about RBF is that it keeps expectations low, so that once people do get to know me, they’re pleasantly surprised by how not terrible I am. Surprise, I am actually quite nice.
But I’d be lying if I said the underlying assumption here doesn’t bother me. If I’m not smiling, that means I’m a bitch? Who decided women had to be cheery all the damn time? That’s some real bullshit.
It’s definitely a standard that doesn’t apply to men — unless Resting Dick Face is a thing. (On second thought, maybe that particular name isn’t the best example.)
The bottom line is that I don’t owe it to anyone else to smile if I don’t feel like it. Full stop. I’m not sorry that some people see me as unfriendly just because of the way my face looks, and I’m certainly not going to plaster on a fake smile just to make some stranger feel more comfortable.
If anything, I’ve learned to make the most of the situation and appreciate that some people see me as unapproachable. They say it takes more muscles to smile than frown, but I bet it doesn’t take any when you don’t have a single fuck to give.