Due to the fact that this blog is usually a mostly G-rated blog, a disclaimer: I will be using some words… possibly just the one word… that could be considered inappropriate in polite conversation. It’s one of those words that I would not dare to use in front of my grandmother. And so, Mamaw, I apologize…
Kids, I have an affliction. It’s something I’ve been aware of most of my life. Except that popular culture didn’t really have a name for it until recent years. It’s called Resting Bitch Face, or RBF.
According to media giant Wikipedia, the term Resting Bitch Face came to prominence in 2013, though one historian from the New York Times claims it had been around for at least a decade by that point. Personally, I don’t remember hearing about the name of this affliction until probably the last two years or so, but I’ve always been fairly slow when it comes to jumping onto bandwagons or being hip to the latest trends.
And it’s something that has swept America by storm. Not because it’s anything new. It’s just that we have something convenient and clever to call something that’s been around since the dawn of man.
Several of our most beloved celebrities suffer from this affliction: Anna Kendrick, Kristen Stewart, Kanye West… Okay, Anna Kendrick may be beloved (I mean, who doesn’t love a Pitch Perfect, am I right?), but the other two? And Kristen Stewart, I’m pretty sure, has one expression for everything, emotion and non-emotion alike.
Some would argue that, since I’m a guy, I can’t really say I suffer from RBF. As if RBF is something that only affects the ladies. However, studies of facial expressions have shown that the condition is just as common in men as it is in women. So, there you go.
As I said, it’s something I’ve had to deal with my entire life. My facial expression, at rest, is one that just looks stressed out, upset, or just plain pissed off. I promise, unless you’re catching a glimpse of my face while I’m driving on I-81, I’m not pissed off. I’m probably not feeling anything in particular at that moment. It’s just my RBF in full swing.
When I was a kid, I would hang out with my cousin and he would make note of my facial expression and take particular offense to it. His assumption was that, if I wasn’t smiling, I was obviously not having a good time hanging out with him. This was in the mid 1980s, so we had no idea that I was dealing with RBF. Now we know. And I think I’m owed a bit of an apology. I was having a good time. I just don’t emote!
I once had coworkers asking who had the worst RBF. The consensus was that it was me. Some thought I would be offended by that general opinion. But, no, that’s a fair assessment.
Sometimes, the RBF can draw undue concern from people.
“Are you okay?”
“You look stressed.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Why don’t you like having fun?”
People, please. I’m fine. I’m very rarely stressed about anything in this life. Nothing is wrong with me that a good night’s sleep couldn’t cure. I like having fun… in moderation.
If you suffer from Resting Bitch Face, take heart. You’re not alone. And if you don’t suffer from it, there’s a good chance you know someone who does. Try and stay on their good side. Because one day, that expression on their face may not be a resting one. It may be one of real emotion. And it may be aimed at you.