Imagine a place where everyone wishes you well. Imagine a place with no negativity or hate. Imagine a place with no cell service and no water bottles. Imagine a place without shame...Read More
The year I turned thirty my friend said, “You know, you move your face a lot when you talk. You should be more careful.”
“What?” I asked, my forehead scrunched.
“You’re going to have to live with that skin for the rest of your life,” my friend said.
Of course what she’d said was not news to me but it was jarring. What was I supposed to do, talk without expression? No joy? No wonder?
In all honesty, I didn’t give what she said much thought.
But not too long after, I looked in the rear view mirror of my car and saw (with horror) a vertical line (my first) beginning to form in between my eyes.
It was a significant moment, if not traumatic, my youth fleeting.
Then, I started to pay attention.
For a while I got caught up, buying into the idea that aging was bad, something to be avoided or slowed.
But when I noticed lines around my mouth, something shifted.
Maybe I’m crazy but I like those lines! They’re called smile lines for a reason. Why would I want to erase them?
This revelation was empowering.
And that’s why the article in the New York Times, "Cursed With A Death Stare", aggravated me.
That kind of journalism creates an unrealistic, unhealthy, view and perpetuate a ridiculous notion: that we have endless reasons to be ashamed of how we look.
I’d never heard of the term “Resting Bitch Face” or RBF until I read the New York Times piece and its condescending, anti-women, agenda was enough to make me scowl.
And just to be clear, I’m not blaming men.
Women do it to themselves. In the article, Anna Paquin, 33, defined RBF (a woman’s face at rest- no smile) as looking like you want to kill someone.
There are photos of celebrities (Kristen Stewart, 25, January Jones, 37 and Victoria Beckham, 41) who are accused of RBF, which means they look like they are frowning. In my opinion, they are beautiful. But because we arbitrarily label the look pejoratively (angry, irritated), we establish truth from a lie.
Resting Bitch Face is a result of genetics, gravity and aging.
There is madness in creating standards around age and beauty that are impossible to meet, expectations that leave us feeling bad about ourselves.
In the article, Anna Kendrick, age 31, actually wonders, “What’s wrong with me?”
And how’s this for insanity— If I smile, I get smile lines. If I don’t smile, I get accused of having an angry bitch face.
One female doctor, an educated 51 year old women who did not have a line anywhere on her plumped up face, educated me about how as women grew older the corners of their mouths curled downward.
I’d never noticed that before.
She suggested that I become more aware, that I give a little (continuous) smirk, to raise the corners of my mouth a bit.
Was she kidding?
What she suggested sounded exhausting, unrealistic and overly self-focused.
But this summer, at a party, it happened to me for the first time. Someone asked me what was wrong.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You look angry.”
I guess what he saw was my “resting bitch face”, which incidentally we should rename “resting thinking face” because that’s what I was doing.
And what actually makes my brows furrow is the idea that I have to concentrate on looking perky while I’m supposed to be resting.
My husband sent me this picture at 7:40am. The text below said, “Now what!!”
I was in New York City. He was at home in New Jersey.
I laughed hard.
I laughed not only because of his predicament but also because I admired his humor considering the jam he was in.
My husband is bossy and controlling but he’s not high maintenance. And since I am usually the first to criticize him, I wanted to stop here and say I appreciate his easy-going nature about household things.
Recently, every one of his golf shirts went missing. He barely said a word and bought new ones.
When he had only one pair of underwear left in his drawer, he simply said, “Last pair.”
And after a shower, there were no bath towels in the cabinet. I honestly don’t know what he did. (There were plenty of hand towels.)
I spent three days in New York City and he kept sending me texts and pictures, updating me on the status at home.
By the time I got back to New Jersey, let’s just say there was an outdoor garbage can that had not been emptied since the weekend. Inside the can there was a rotting strawberry Pop Tart, some half-eaten Oreos and a handful of sticky Laffy Taffy wrappers. You can imagine the rest.
All of these calamities weighed on me but I hate housework. Thankfully, I have help (new and inexperienced) but still, I don’t supervise well.
We are a big family and it’s hard to keep up.
My mother always said, “Housework is the most thankless job. You clean a sink only for it to get dirty again.”
It seems like everyone else around me gets it though. At other houses bath towels are folded all the same way and stacked properly on shelves. Coffee is delivered to bedroom doors every morning.
That’s certainly not how things work at my house and I often think I’m doing something wrong.
The problem is I don’t want to focus on doing it right.
It's summertime and I want to write and read and ride my bike.
In order not to make myself crazy, I teeter-totter between caring and not caring, cleaning and not cleaning.
I take a break from writing and go to the kitchen. It’s noon and this is what I see.
I also see two of my children, my daughter-in-law and my grandson at the dinette table, talking.
I have choices.
I reach for my cell phone.
I take a deep breath and the picture above.
I decide to write about this and think— One day I’ll get it right.
And then again— maybe I won’t.