My mother could look severe. Very severe; especially when she suspected me of upsetting her domestic apple cart around the house. Which was most of the time.
My ex-wife could also look extremely ominous when she was displeased with me. She scowled at me for 15 years before taking her glare elsewhere.
I thought I was just unlucky with the females in my life — they all had apocalyptic features, most likely due to my obvious male shortcomings.
But leave it to the New York Times to set my mind at ease, with a perceptive article on RBF (Resting B*tch Face). Yes, that is the name of a real condition. And apparently it’s not that rare, especially among career women.
“So do I think my RBF holds me back in my career? Perhaps.” confesses writer Emily Bader to NJBiz.com: “But the thought of plastering on a pleased look in the morning is mentally exhausting, and actually, gets on my nerves. Am I supposed to put on a fake smile just to please everyone else? Sure, if I start doing cartwheels around the office, people might like me more, but then I’ll be the one doing cartwheels instead of her job. I’m tough and I know exactly what I want for my career — it’s fine if those are the qualities that read upon my face more often. If being ambitious means looking like a b*tch, well, then I’m totally okay with that.”
Emily, I gotta say that despite your openness about this problem — you still scare the snot out of me!
This is such a serious issue with women that Cosmopolitan magazine has weighed in on it, with an article entitled “13 Struggles Only Women with Resting B*tch Face Understand“. Among those struggles are:
“People tell you to smile more. You just wanna be like, “Hey, you don’t find me telling you what to do with your face! SO SHUT UP.”
“People think you’re bossy or a snob when you give instructions. You might have to say eve-ry word care-ful-ly, like so. Which sucks ’cause who’s going to take you seriously now?”
Of course, women are not taking this thing sitting down (or smiling, either). Country singer Kacey Musgraves told BuzzFeed recently that there were at least 17 more accurate terms for RBF, such as (and I quote):
Resting “This Is Just How I Look” Face
Resting “Please Stop Asking What’s Wrong” Face
Resting “This Wouldn’t Bother You If I Was a Guy” Face
RBF has been a girl problem for over ten years now. My research indicates that the very first RBF was displayed in the Maxwell Atoms cartoon series The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, which began airing in 2003. Take a good look at that kisser of Mandy’s. As my grandmother used to say, it would stop a clock.
Men are neither affected by nor concerned about displaying this facial pattern. In fact, we seek for it. Any man worth his salt would dearly love to be known as having a ‘poker face’.
Besides, one of the greatest stars of the silent cinema was stone-faced Buster Keaton. Now THERE was a man who could stare down a whole passel of RBFs!
RBF has now become a plague upon the land.
Frankly, I think all those Botox shots must have a hand.
No one likes a frowny face, especially at work.
(I guess with Equal Rights, I’ll call my lady boss a jerk.)