A heartwarming story of perpetually sour grapes, a lifetime of terrible first impressions and, ultimately, begrudging acceptance.
By Jessinta Smith, Suffolk Community College
I have a disorder.
Many women in my family suffer from it and it is severe. It causes my face to distort and be stuck in one position, and it happens whenever I relax my facial muscles. I’ve tried to counteract it with makeup, clothing and by holding my face in other ways, but nothing works.
My problem causes babies to cry, grown men to shake in their boots and people to generally avoid talking to me. It makes the people I love ask how I feel and strangers ask how my day has gone. It causes onlookers to find me rude before I open my mouth and write me off as a dick before I’ve even said a word.
I have Resting Bitch Face.
My affliction began when I hit puberty. In the beginning it was just small things, my dad asking if I had a bad day. But as I grew, my bitch face grew with me. Suddenly I would go to after-school activities and everyone would ask what was wrong. I was confused at first because there was never anything wrong. Nothing had happened to make my day particularly great, but nothing had ruined it either.
Little old ladies would say I looked like Scarlett O’Hara, who I later learned is the queen of RBF. This continued until I was sixteen and met my best friend, who is now my boyfriend. He was the first one to tell me, the first one to point out my problem, the one to open my unknowing eyes.
“Your face,” he said, “it’s intimidating. You look like a bitch all the time.”
What? I did? My mind was *Blown*. I had never realized that I had a bitchy face. This revelation explained the constant questioning of my mood and the comparisons to a beautiful-but-angry-looking woman. I looked mean and uninterested whenever I left my face in its natural position–how had I never noticed?!
When I first figured out about my RBF I tried to counteract it. I wore pink lipstick and pink hats and tried to make myself like skirts. It didn’t work. I just looked like a pink, preppy bitch, like Regina from Mean Girls, and by that point I was so unhappy with how I was dressing that I would have looked sour even without the RBF. After a while I decided to dress the way I wanted and just accept my mean face, but unfortunately my love for black eyeliner and leather moto jackets only accentuated my salty expression.
It was too tiring trying to look nice all the time. Plus I was never happy, so I went with what I wanted to wear. One day, a friend approached me and said, “You constantly look like you want to cut someone’s throat.” And if you suffer from RBF, then you would have said the same thing I did. “Because I do.”
RBF isn’t all bad, though. Sure kids are scared of me, petite women skirt around me and people think I’m a bitch before they meet me, but my affliction has its perks. Since kids fear me, I’ve found that when they’re annoying I just have to give them a face and they stop whatever they’re doing. This also works for teenagers, which comes in handy in movie theaters.
I don’t have as many sales associates coming up to me and asking me to buy things, and when I answer the door to strangers selling things it doesn’t take long for them to leave. Plus I look fucking great when I wear black moto jackets and the eyeliner makes me look like a badass villain. Who would ever want to look like a princess when you can look like a comic book villain? Not me.
The best thing about RBF is that you get taken seriously. Even when I’m happy I look mad, so people have a hard time judging my emotions. I don’t look like someone who can be taken advantage of, because the “I’ll cut you” vibes my face gives off usually discourage extortionists.
I also come off as independent, and people don’t really worry about me because I look like I can handle myself. I can get away with a lot of shit due to my RBF, and very few people realize that I actually have no idea what I’m doing eighty-five percent of the time.
There are cons to my perpetually sour grapes.
I don’t think I’ll ever get a free drink. And I probably won’t ever get out of a ticket by looking cute.
I will never be able to be the girl who can wear all black and still look approachable, and one day I’ll have to explain to my sister that RBF is okay, and that you don’t have to look little pixie-flower-child.
I’ll never be the girl whose cussing shocks anyone. I won’t be a Southern Belle. My smudged eyeliner will always make me look like an addict of some sort, and never just cute and messy. When I wear my hair up it will always give me a stone-cold-bitch look, and never a put-together-kind-yet-stern one. And when I bring people home to meet my family, I always have to warn them: “Hey, they look like assholes, but that’s just their faces.”
But I can’t change my face, and I’m at a point in my life where looking like a bitch (and being one sometimes) is getting me places. I can happily look like I want to cut people’s throats and it’s a great way to look.
Though RBF can have its ups and downs, looking irritated 24/7 has gotten me to where I am today. I wouldn’t change it and you shouldn’t either, because it’s the only face you have and people tend to be oddly attracted to aloofness anyway.
And if all else fails, us RBFs will always take some badass selfies.