So… As you may have noticed, I’m a writer. And that means I spend a large portion of my day wandering around in my own thoughts. If there’s an expression on my face at all–and usually, there’s not–it has nothing to do with you, or–honestly–anything else the “real” world. Is the High Priest of First War Scheming? Resting Bitch Face. Is the Lepterian insisting on eating table scraps? Resting Bitch Face. You get the picture.
Fairly recently… A guy hollered at me from the cab of an eighteen wheeler that it couldn’t be that bad. I can’t remember if he actually told me to smile or not. “It can’t be that bad.” And I shouted back. Wanna bet? (Safety Tip: Don’t do that.)
And then–within a couple of days of the first instance, a co-worker did tell me to smile. I had just walked through the door. On my way to a job that I hate–a job that all of us hate, and the frank implication was that somehow, it was my responsibility to smile, to make his day better. I gave him my best rictus grin of sarcasm. He laughed, and I kept moving. The topic of my facial expression has not come up again.
Neither one of these guys was actually scary. Both were really public places, where help was readily available.
They were… intrusive.
That’s really the way I’d put it.
After all, I was pretty happy in my imaginary world, until they dragged me back out of it. I lost my train of thought, and for what? So I could acknowledge a stranger (or near stranger)’s existence? So I could pretend to be happy, when what I really felt was vague disorientation and annoyance?
And apparently, scientists have a nifty computer program that will pick up on residual emotions…. or you know, frown lines, or whatever http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/03/health/resting-bitch-face-research-irpt/ and actually diagnose resting bitch face.
Do I believe that? No. Of course, not. Just because a computer can do something doesn’t mean a human being can. I mean, if men were picking up on actual emotions–or even believed they were– they’d steer clear when you’re in a bad mood, instead of telling you to smile. Possibly pick a good day to introduce themselves, instead of a hectic, frustrated, miserable day. Or some other miracle of mind-reading. Recognize the women who are actually into them, and go. I don’t know. Something more rational than the scatter gun approach.
Then again, if a rational person wanted someone else to a) smile or b) notice his existence… well, he might do a trick. That would be nice.