Resting Bitch Face Is a Gift and a Skill

The Roman baths, Bath, EnglandI’m normally a positive person but, like any human, I have my resting bitch face moments.

The Urban Dictionary describes resting bitch face as: “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless without meaning to.”

When I’m thinking hard my face doesn’t just go blank, it becomes almost scowl-like. I may look down at the task at hand,  jaw jutted in determination. I may narrow my eyes, daring a dilemma to break me. If I catch myself I remember to soften the look so I don’t scare the people around me.

By and large I keep a hopeful or joyful attitude and allow my face to reflect that. But here’s what I like:

You don’t have to smile in the restroom.

Yep. When I’m with people, be it at work or with family, I don’t always feel smiley. That’s when it’s time to put a door between me and the stressors. I can be whoever I am , at least for the minutes I can get away with it before someone notices that I’m gone.

Down These Mean Streets was required reading somewhere in my education. I didn’t like the book but the phrase cara palo stuck with me all these years. It’s slang for an expressionless, wooden, tough face. Ha, this was actually a thing! As a young commuter, first to college and then to work, I developed “mean face,” and it  was successful. It basically said, “Do.Not. Mess.With. Me.”

Someone just posted on LinkedIn that he has been getting phone interviews for jobs. I laugh thinking about how I smile when I’m on the phone at work. I am convinced that the person on the other end can hear it in my voice, my tone, that I want to be helpful, that it’s beneficial to both of us. It’s effective. I solve problems.

I know the power and joy of a pleasant smile. And sometimes, I’m grinning inside while keeping trouble at a distance with a scowl. That may well be even more powerful.

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