Resting Bitch Face. It’s an interesting phrase. An especially funny one when you’re with your friends, and joking about the confused boy who thought you were acting too “snobby” for him, or the hurt girl who seriously thought you hated her because your lips forgot to quirk into a smile. A particularly irksome one when everyone thinks you’re upset because only your eyebrows move, and your eyelashes flutter, when you’ve (yet again, apparently) taken a joke too seriously. Yet, after the jokes have passed, and the humour is settled, you take some time to think. Why is a woman, whose default expression is one of impassivity, a bitch, but the man beside her, whose impassive face could rival a stone, merely a “serious, studious, focused young man”?
We are taught from a young age that a woman is entirely her emotions, and a man is merely the sum of his ability to keep his emotions in check. We are informed by our peers, and their approving elders, that a woman whose hugs linger too long, or occur too often, is either clingy, or promiscuous. On the other side, the man whose hands remain around your shoulders for slightly longer than is necessary, or the boy whose grip around your waist is too tight, and uncomfortable, is simply “trying to be friendly”. There is no lascivious intent to his actions.
One could say, that the lack of expression is a symptom of emotional retardation. A woman who has taken her self too seriously, and has not learned that every touch, and smile, and wave, is not a bullet meant to pierce her heart. Of course then, you’d be missing all the times said woman’s face has crumpled, into a crease of lines she is still learning to erase. Lines drawn, and crafted by the sensitivity that has allowed her to see when her best-friend’s eyes are too low, or that her supposed enemy’s smile doesn’t quite crinkle at the corners the way they should. And perhaps, you’d miss the moment when she passes a stranger who looks a little too sad on the street, so she pauses to smile, and say “Good morning”.
I supposed, it could be, that we have been taught to either fear, or laugh at those things that have hidden power. A woman who has learned to master her emotions, to save them for the moments when the world will not rip her apart, is a dangerous thing. Her smiles are rare, and powerful. They love, they caress, and often they hide. They hide the scars that have taught her that it is sometimes wiser to wait, and observe before she allows the layers of her soul to be peeled away.
I rather like my “resting-bitch-face”, and for those who know me, they are well aware it is not the entirety of me. Sure, I can smile at you–in a way that let’s you know the very thought of you does light up my world. Or I can smirk wickedly, and utter a joke I’m not sure my mother would ever quite approve of. And just maybe, I am capable of picking the phone up at 3 a.m., and responding to your messages when it seems like everyone has forgotten you, and gone to bed…but what would I know? I am, after all, an emotionless, expressionless woman, with “resting-bitch face”. Or…am I? Judging is a dangerous thing.
And for the last time, me expressing my choice to not respond to some creepy male’s approach, does not a lesbian make me. How about you try being friendly first? No woman is going to respond to attention thrown at her, if it makes her feel uncomfortable.
*Originally written on my Facebook Page*