How can you tell if someone’s natural facial expression is a queasy grimace, commonly known as resting bitch face (RBF), or they are simply downright ornery?
As someone who’s often accused of looking like Jack the Ripper on his worst day – even while happily folding my laundry, I know what it’s like to be constantly asked, “Are you okay? Is everything alright?”
It’s precisely because of my sometime – okay, all the time – less-than-sunny facial expression that I give every angry, moping, sullen, surly face I encounter a free pass. Cutting a few ill-tempered characters some slack is a small price to pay for showing a little empathy for every RBF I encounter.
I’ll absorb an icy glance from any might-be psychopath on the off chance they are actually a wonderful person who was voted Most Unapproachable in high school.
As someone who is regularly misjudged as a threat to society or, at the very least, a threat to my book club, who am I to judge folks who don’t say “Hi” while attempting to break into my car?
So your constant look of oncoming nausea regularly causes family and friends to dial 911. Big deal. It still beats trying to force a smile whenever a sales clerk says “Have a nice day.” (Note: According to many studies, so I’ve heard, more crimes are committed by smiling sales clerks than scowling proof readers.)
Will the world ever be more accepting of sullen facial expressions? Probably not. But here’s one thing you can count on: If your angry puss ever encounters my resting bitch face, it will be met with an accepting and non-judgmental frown.
Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”