It was the last straw and I’ll explain why in a bit. Only an hour previously, I had been commiserating with a single friend about our unhappy looking resting bitch faces or RBF as the defined phenomenon is called. (See I’m not Mad. That’s Just my Resting Bitch Face.)
The dilemma: Women are strolling through life with a non-smiling face. This RBF is often accompanied by a failure to interact with strangers at opportune moments.
“Why is this the case?” I wondered.
Before I get too far on this rant, let’s have an appropriately sourced recipe of grilled trout from the Angry Trout Café in Minnesota.
My theory about the origin of RBF is based on the trials and tribulations of adolescence. As a young teenager, I found RBF an effective defense mechanism against cat calling by obnoxious alpha male teens. As I matured, RBF continued to be my go-to expression in public at a time when unwanted vocal male attention was more the norm. Today you’re more likely to get a sext from a stranger…but that’s another story.
So now that I’m in the 6th decade of life – and as a single woman, seeking male attention – my RBF is unfortunately fully ingrained.
Instead of a resting expression that invites smiling and flirting, I have an expression that says, “What’s your problem?”
Which brings me back to the last straw – see lead paragraph. The Epiphany of the Last Straw happened after attending an outdoor concert with a friend and talking about our mutual affliction of RBF.
After the concert, as I walked back to the parking lot by myself, thinking about RBF and the fact that it was a dateless Friday night, I was vaguely aware of a lone tall male presence carrying his porta-chair to the same lot. We each approached side-by-side parking pay-on-foot machines. For some reason, my normally competent pay-on-foot skills failed and I fought with the machine to accept my money. During this interlude, I felt my face in full RBF. Meanwhile, the dude was processing his ticket.
Did I ask for help? Did I turn off my full RBF and smile fetchingly while asking him for help? NO.
Instead, I kept reinserting my credit card until the parking gods decided to let me win. By then, Mr. Stranger was already walking to his car and my damsel in distress moment had passed.
“Shit,” I said to myself. “Here was a perfect flirt opportunity and I blew it…thanks to an RBF attitude.” Because function follows form or some such thing… basically when your face and body are closed off, your mind is following suit and you are not in flirt ready mode (FRM to coin a term).
So, my epiphany was the realization of my too frequent RBF. This revelation was accompanied by a resolve to bury it through a concerted effort of awareness and motivation.
My pledge: During every waking moment I am in public (wait – I am usually awake in public), I promise to be aware of my facial expression and smile or at least exhibit a pleasant face. Should there be an opportunity to flirt, I will make the most of it and I resolve to always be in flirt ready mode.
Before there can be behavior change, there must be awareness. So I’m definitely aware and working on the behavior change. I went solo to a happy hour at a bar the other night and actually smiled at strangers a couple of times. Like the headline says – a work in progress.
If you have cured your RBF, please write to me and let me know it can be done.
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.