I am sure you have heard of Bitchy Resting Face (BRF). If you haven’t, don’t worry, you probably don’t have it.
I am the proud owner of a BRF (although why NOT be proud? There is nothing I can do about it) and it is something I think about semi-regularly, mostly when I am at work, or the mall, or at something for my kids, or anywhere where there might be people judging me.
For those that who are unfamiliar with BRF, you can watch the PSA here, but it is basically a face that looks mad or judgemental when in a relaxed state. There are pros and cons to this:
It saves me money. I am NEVER approached in the mall to have my hair straightened/take a survey/try this salt scrub from the Dead Sea. Even though I may have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD and I am definitely a sucker for a great deal (of course I will buy 3 of these since I will then get 2 free even though I only NEED one), I am not pursued. My BRF makes me look unapproachable, and no one wants to get cut in the middle of the mall.
I’m not required to make small talk. Often the seat next to me at showers, on buses, and meetings, etc. is open. My BRF makes people think that I am angry and they don’t want to chance talking to an angry person. So I don’t have to waste time trying to think of something funny to say to break the ice, because my BRF has built an ice WALL around me.
I can surprise people. People are probably often surprised that I am actually a pretty nice person to talk to, and I have also been known to cause a laugh here and there. I can remember overhearing a former co-worker tell another about how much they “loved how funny” I was-and the other person who didn’t quite know me yet could not believe it. While that only hurts all the time still, it was nice that some people find my presence enjoyable.
It’s hard to find a partner. Chances are you have been put in a situation at a meeting or training or event where someone tells you to “find a partner.” Guess who can never find one? You would think I was Medusa the way people dodge eye contact with me when it is partner time. No one wants to take the chance on being stuck with crabby pants. This is why I find it best to bring a friend with me to these kinds of things, or else I have to partner with the teacher or leader or whoever’s dumb idea it was to partner up in the first place.
Co-workers might think I am bored. We have a lot of staff meetings and opportunities to work with colleagues. I pride myself in being prepared and paying attention. But guess what stands in the way of LOOKING attentive? If you said my face, you are right. I literally have to tell myself to “look engaged” and try to make my face more friendly. I have never looked at my “engaged” face in the mirror, because I am afraid of what I might find. The look I am going for says “interested” but I am afraid it might look “insane.” I guess its something I should’ve practiced in private before I took it live.
It’s either old friends or no friends. I don’t have many new friends. Okay, I don’t have any new friends. That’s not to say I don’t have a ton of acquaintances, but the people that I make plans with or hang out with on the regular are either family (so they can’t avoid it) or I met them in 1995. My husband always is telling me about these long conversations that he has with other parents during Matthew’s karate lessons. Guess how many times other parents have talked to ME at karate? If you guess never, you would be close. I think I asked someone a question once and they responded, so that was pretty good. Baby steps.
I look uninterested in EVERYTHING. I don’t always wear my emotions on my face. In fact, my friends often joke that I have no emotion when in fact the opposite is true. I’ve actually wondered if it were possible to become a professional mourner because I can get sad for days about things that happen to other people that I don’t even KNOW. I just look the same whether I just had a baby or attended a funeral.
While there are many benefits and disadvantages to having a stank face, I wouldn’t change it if I could because it has grown on me. I guess I’m just trying to do my part to spread awareness and ask people for the benefit of the doubt. Just assume I am in a good mood most of the time, unless you ask me why I “don’t smile more.” Then you will most likely get the Active Bitchy Face. You’ve been warned.