Life can prove eternally interesting and problematic at times when you unwittingly have a resting bitch face (RBF), aka Bitchy Resting Face (BRF). I’m talking about a puckered-up, cats-bum facial expression you regularly adopt when relaxed, which is often misinterpreted as rage, contempt and sadness.
Think Hollywood RBF-aficionados such as actors Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Jeremy Renner; singer Avril Lavigne and rapper Kanye West; fashion designer Victoria Beckham and arguably the most famous one of all, US editrix Anna Wintour of Vogue, second only to the original RBF: her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Of course, for these A-list celebrities (and fashion/British royalty), it must get a tad wearing having paparazzi follow you around 24/7, but their famed surly facial expressions as a consequence of resting bitch face syndrome are a true joy to behold.
Sadly, in real life you can’t make like fashion icon Anna Wintour and scowl your way through the day without offending someone. I should know – I too have a serious resting bitch face myself, which has landed me in a lot of hot water over the years.
At 41, I’ve gotten much better at adopting a poker face, but it’s taken many years and patience to perfect. My involuntary RBF has offended everyone from high school teachers through to newsroom bosses over the years – there have been some seriously awkward moments when I’ve had to explain myself.
And what can you really say? “Sorry, my face just does this on its own?” Or what about: “I was just born this way – sorry.” Once, I felt compelled to explain away my RBF to a close work colleague, a fellow journo I’m still friends with to this day, by saying: “Look, when I concentrate, I look really cranky, sorry in advance.”
You see, unfortunately I frown a lot when I’m working – it’s just what I do, I can’t help it. It doesn’t mean I’m remotely unhappy, sad, angry or being judgmental. Hell, maybe I should get a face full of Botox so no one can ever accuse me of having any facial expression!
And so I really relate to and empathise with Twilight actor Kristen Stewart’s RBF trauma in particular, which always seems to get her into trouble. I mean, why should she have to smile all the time – wouldn’t that look even weirder?!
Recently, when asked about her RBF, she told ELLE UK: “The whole smiling thing is weird because I actually smile a lot. I literally want to be like: ‘Dude, you would think I was cool if you got to know me’.” I’m feeling you, K-Stew.
What do you think? Do you have a RBF?
Images via bustle.com, defamer.gawker.com, croissantbouffant.com, linkedin.com
Nicole is a Queensland-based writer and bona fide word nerd whose first love (apart from heels) is feature writing. Follow Nicole on Twitter.