The symptoms began in high school, where wearing your emotions on your face was so uncool. This was also the time of “heroin chic” fashion — think Kate Moss on the runway. Smiles were frowned up, no pun intended. So imagine a school full of teens masking their real emotions with stone faces. Wait, I’m describing every high school in America.
But anyway, it turns out I found something I was particularly good at. Making I-don’t-give-a-damn faces came naturally to me, and when you’re young and clueless, you cling to what you know. My Resting Bitch Face soon snowballed from symptomatic to serious affliction.
High school turned to college. Smiles were back in style. Upbeat songs like “Getting Jiggy With It” and “Livin La Vida Loca ” replaced the grunge, melodramatic theme of years past on the radio. But I maintained my reticent facial expression. It became part of who I am. It also drove men crazy, never knowing if I was flirting or about to sucker punch them. Did I mention college was awesome?
My 20’s were littered with comments like, “When I first met you, I thought you were the biggest bitch.” “You are really hard to approach,” and my favorite (and the most common pick up line) from men was “Why so angry? Will a drink turn that frown upside down?” I probably heard that one a dozen times and I never came up with a retort. In fact, I usually wound up accepting the drink, but I “bitch faced” my way out of any possible conversation thereafter. So, me for the win!
Now I’m in my 30’s. Some of my closest friends still tell me that my RBF almost destroyed any chance of getting to know them better. And now that I’m a mom, I get classified in a whole new category: Momzilla. Or, as the media mercilessly referred to Charlize Theron’s recent public disciplining of her son — Monster Mom.
Then I think of all the things RBF has helped me achieve. I rarely get asked directions from strangers. Mall kiosk vendors seldom dare approach me with the “Can I ask you a question?” pitch. The grocery store clerk never litters me with fluff questions about how my day’s going and why I’m buying so much wine. Instead, I get tasks done efficiently and without dilly dally. My RBF has gotten so bad that men don’t dare flirt with me, which is great because I’m happily married but sad because I don’t have any more fun pick-up lines to share.
Yes, I suffer from RBF. But I’m in good company. Posh Spice is practically the mascot for the team. Anna Kendrick is another well-known sufferer. And I can think of a dozen more celebrities that haven’t yet come out, but it’s just a matter of time (Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kristin Stewart… show your pride, ladies!) Of course, men suffer from RBF too, but I have no sympathy for them. Just like grey hair and fine lines, the more they embrace the RBF, the hotter they look. It’s just not fair.
Life has gone on since my diagnosis, and treatment is now available. Dr. Google suggests working on smile exercises and to loosen my facial muscles to diminish the scowl. When I meet people, I’m supposed to think of warm fuzzy feelings to lighten my aura and encourage a friendly, inviting demeanor.
But my 40’s are fast approaching, and I see lines and bags under my eyes appear with just the slightest curl of my lips. I’m beginning to understand Anna Wintour’s sunglasses fetish, and Kim Kardashian’s pouty selfies. I see pictures of myself smiling and I think, “Who’s that old hag with the fake smile?” I have more incentive to embrace my RBF than ever.
So I’ve decided my RBF is here to stay. It’s just part of who I am, and as gravity continues to take over, it’s probably only going to get worse. So get used to it! Sorry, that came out sounding bitchy.
About the author – Celeste is a mom to a toddler and expecting another boy in 2016, and loves to write about the good, bad, and the “what the heck am I doing??”parts of motherhood. She is also a marketing professional, which has armed her with bountiful experience in cleaning up poop and managing temper tantrums. Follow her journey and learn about The Ultimate Mom Challenge™ on her website, Facebook and Twitter.