embracing my bitchy resting face

It was brought to my attention recently that I sometimes intimidate people. Just by the look on my face.

Oh, I’ve actually heard this many times over the years, but I always chalked it up to the fact that I was over stressed, go-go-go, and [lets not kid anyone], often angry.

But lately…lately I’ve been Zen Mama, at one with nature, at peace with my life.

I’ve been climbing mountains [literally], digging trenches in the deepest part of my being [metaphorically], and spending time doing things I love. All of which have resulted in me being ridiculously happy.

So, imagine my surprise when I heard that I still give off an angry vibe just via my facial expression, even though I’m not feeling that way.

My son recently started dating a close friend of his. I was actually very happy to hear it because I like her a lot. She is a smart girl with a good head on her shoulders, and someone I’ve had some excellent conversations with.

The day after my first encounter with her as ‘girlfriend’ and not ‘just friend’, my son asked me if I was good with them dating. I said, of course. Why wouldn’t I be? He responded, she thinks you don’t like her because you didn’t say much to her yesterday and you had a mean look on your face.


I didn’t say much because I didn’t want to crowd you two and have it be all awkward. And I have no idea what you mean about my face. Honestly.

Now, fast forward a couple of days.

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live. His guest was actress Anna Paquin. He remarked about how she gets tons of photos taken by the paparazzi, and how she often looks angry in them. She then launched into a story that had me hyperventilating from laughter. The good stuff starts at the 2:12 mark.

But since I know that no one like to click on links, I’ll summarize it for you.

Paquin launches into the story of how she discovered a “condition”, known as Bitchy Resting Face. Explaining it to Jimmy, she notes that it basically means “You look really angry all the time; or like you want to kill people; or like you’re a giant bitch. And that’s pretty much how I come across all the time.”

She goes on to tell Jimmy that she’s actually very happy, that everything is wonderful in her life, and she’s not bitchy or angry – but her face tells the world she is. And what cheeses her off the most is that her husband, actor Stephen Moyer, actually has Happy Resting Face, which makes her look even bitchier, by comparison!

I had to view this PSA for myself.

Do not skip this! WATCH IT!

After I composed myself and wiped my tears,  I took a moment to reflect. Okay, so yeah, Anna Paquin has Bitchy Resting Face. So do I. But hey, neither of hold a candle to the real Queen of BRF…

queen brf

So while I may be beyond happy and loving life, my default expression will read as Bitchy Resting Face.

In the past, this condition served me well. It helped convey ‘tread with caution’ to anyone who was foolish enough to approach me with nonsense on a day that I was in a no-nonsense mood.

But these days, I’m pretty happy-go-lucky, and I have a lot more patience for stupidity.

So I realize that I actually do need to work on this. I really should make myself more approachable and way less scary. Because I’m not. Scary, that is.

They say that admitting you have a problem is half the journey towards fixing it. So, here goes:

Hi, I’m Nancy, and I suffer from Bitchy Resting Face.

I now “check in” with myself several times a day to see if I’m smiling or, at the very least, that I’m not in bitch-face. I’m working hard on trying to adopt Happy Resting Face, but I’m a work in progress. Thank you for your patience.

But, in the meantime, if you’re trying to sell me duct cleaning/insurance/long-distance phone service, or if you disturb my quiet Sunday by knocking on my door and inviting me to join your religion or even if you just generally waste my time with nonsense, please know that Bitchy Resting Face isn’t always just a harmless facial expression. Sometimes it reflects a brewing pot of bitch-stew.

Get moving!

xoxo nancy


53 thoughts on “embracing my bitchy resting face

  1. Wow Nancy! I never new that existed. I suffer from a different problem called “angry tone of voice”….I guess we could give it the acronym of “ATOV”. I get accuses of “yelling” or being “angry” when all I’m doing is making a statement. Inside I’m just fine. But like you, there are times when ATOV is really there…mainly when I get solicitors when there is a sigh above the doorbell button that says “No Soliciting”. So I guess I have to admit my problems.

    Hi, I’m Patrick. I suffer from ATOV. 🙂 <- but I'm really happy! I also suffer from being a gearhead.

  2. hehehe 🙂
    I have this condition…I have to maintain vague smile at all times in order to not look angry. especially when you couple this with default aggressive communication style.

  3. Hahaha. This is brilliant. And so me as well. At least it was. I’ve noticed over the last couple of years an unpleasant gravitational pull on my face and if I smile just slightly I can lift those nasty jowly things above the chin line. Unfortunately I’ve now developed a half smile, moron look. I may go back to the resting bitchy face. Love the picture of the Queen! Doesn’t she look a delight? 😀 😆

    • Yeah, that’s a tough call. Jowls or look moronic? The jury’s out for me in that one.

      As for Her Majesty…she is the original gangsta. My bitch face bows in honour of hers. I can only aspire to such greatness. …One day.

  4. That is hysterical…LOVE the PSA 🙂 I cannot imagine you with a bitchy face at all. Maybe I also have one…i used to get the “smile, its ok” ir “don’t look so glum” sarcastic remarks when I worked customer service in college. I got it alot! maybe that’s why I get so irked when people say stuff about my kids. haha

    • HA! See, you have it too!
      And I totally do, no question. It’s just my default look, unless I’m actively laughing at or smiling about something specific. 🙂

      Comes in handy as I’m rarely approached by strangers. 🙂

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  7. You are such a good humor writer, Nance. This was hilarious. When I started doing presentations I would write “pleasant resting face” in my notes – no kidding. When you are standing in front of a room full of people who never take their eyes off you, it’s a crucial thing to remember. But now, after doing them for so long, I just kick in to “happy face mode” without thinking much about it. Just like your word, “Farch,” I love BRF now, too 🙂

  8. Haha… love it. My kids have informed me I ‘have a look’. Still not sure what they’re talking about but it does intimidate them and they make sure they are on their best behavior whenever I’m sporting said ‘look’. FYI… I like the new header.

    • Hahaha! Now you have a name for it! Welcome to the BRF club, Ingrid! You are in good company with Anna Paquin, Carol Lee and I. 🙂

      p.s. thanks for noticing! I was playing with Canva and it was super quick and easy. 🙂

  9. Bwahahahaha!!! Just last week I was at the gym for a session with my personal trainer. Our relationship is relatively new. Early in the workout he asked me if I was ok. Of course I was.
    About 10 minutes later he stopped me and said – Seriously. Talk to me. I need to know what’s wrong.
    I nearly burst out laughing. BRF.

    Now I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to have to be chirpy and bubbly every time I go to gym :/

  10. I suffer from the male version of this so I know how you feel. I’m constantly being asked what’s wrong or why I look so serious. It’s my face dammit! I’m just made that way.
    I find do the one’s who bring it up most are usually the insecure types who fret constantly about what others think of them.
    Most people who get to know me learn pretty quick that I’m an easygoing goofball most of the time. If I do have a problem with someone, they don’t need to look at my face as much as listen to my words, because I have no problem letting someone know when they’ve pissed me off.

    • Amen brotha. When I’m pissed, there really is no question, so why obsess over a look on my face when you know I’ll let ‘er rip if I’m really angry. 🙂

  11. Oh man – I have always suffered from BRF. I was so happy when I “discovered” that it wasn’t just me that looked so peed off with the world when I was actually just thinking about things and minding my own business. Thank you for that Queen pic – I’d never thought of it, but of course, she is the poster for Bitchy Resting Face, ha ha ha ha!! Now I feel much better, because I’m in royal company 😉 x

  12. I’m so glad you reposted this!!! Oh my goodness, I’m a sufferer, too! In fact, Mr. T and I were talking the other day/week/year and he goes “You think you have a bitchy resting face, you have nothing on hers, it’s bad.” And I just smiled, happy to know someone looks angrier than I do out there! 🙂

  13. Reblogged this on Did That Just Happen Blog and commented:
    I know I owe you Day 5 of my photo challenge, but I am so struggling to narrow it down… and that literally has consumed my thoughts when I sat down to blog – so I am giving you NancyTex and her lesson on BRF, from which I, too, suffer.
    You can send your compassion in the form of Starbucks gift cards, or just go leave her a comment.

  14. While I am aware of the BRF issue, it still scares me when I see it, just a little. I have “I’m moderately happy and totally interested in hearing all about you even though I have no idea who you are” face (IMHATIHAAYIETIHNOIWYA). Strangers really like to start conversations with me and I’m thinking that I need to develop a BRF when out and about.

    • Oh dear. IMHATIHAAYIETIHNOIWYA is literally the polar opposite of BRF.

      Years ago when we would travel to the Caribbean or Mexico, my young kids would often comment that the people selling crap (or just begging for money) would only ever approach my husband (who has Happy Resting Face), and never approach me. I explained that this is because mommy has a “don’t mess with me” face. 🙂

      BRF has saved me countless unnecessary interactions.

  15. I have been told many times that my face clearly says, are you a fucking idiot a lot so I feel you! I have missed reading your blog and just love how you write!! I am so glad you keep at it!

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