Thursday, June 13, 2013


Do You Suffer From Bitchy Resting Face?

You're not alone. [Via Broken People/Hairpin pal Taylor Orci]

104 Comments / Post A Comment


Nope! I suffer from beamy resting face, which isn't suffering at all because strangers love to ask me for directions or tell me that they're having a good time. It's delightful.


@Vicky i suffer from the opposite too. people are constantly asking me what's so funny and what I am daydreaming about.


@Vicky Man, I go back and forth! Sometimes I have a dreamy half-smile on my face, and sometimes I have epic bitchface and I never know which is happening until I get a weird look from a stranger.


@Vicky My mom has that. When I was a teenager, it drove me NUTS.

"Why are you smiling all the time, MOM? GAWD what is WRONG with you!?"

Now I think of it as one of her charms most of the time, but some of the time it still really bothers me.


@Vicky I get asked to watch people's bags/laptops all the time when they go to the bathroom in public places (strangers!), because apparently my resting face is very pleasant and trustworthy.


Me too! Even when I try to appear grumpy, it doesn't work. It probably doesn't help that I'm 4'11".


I ABSOLUTELY HAVE THIS PROBLEM. I mean, at least some of the time it's because I'm a certified asshole, but even when I'm just thinking neutral thoughts, the corners of my mouth turn down and I look pissed.

the roughest toughest frail

@SarcasticFringehead My boss yelled at me the other day because I "look like Grumpy Cat". I had to explain that I suffer from Chronic Bitch Face, and I was just thinking about what I was going to eat for lunch.


My resting face is sad. People are always trying to cheer me up. It has the opposite effect.

Citizen Christy

@TheclaAndTheSeals Me too, I look like my pet's been murdered if I'm not consciously lifting the corners of my mouth.


@TheclaAndTheSeals I am going to scream at and murder the next person who asks me what's wrong or tells me I "just have a very concerned face." Seriously 25 and a half years is enough of this shit. I don't care who the next person is, he or she is getting it.


I can't even control my negative response to being addressed in that way. The ostensibly nicest person in the world can say "You look worried, is something wrong?" and I cannot control my reaction of giving them an icy glare and responding with "People tell me that a lot." This is apparently a confusing response which is fine because fuck that person.

Mayor of Butt City

@Ellie A fun change of pace might be to tell them, "My face looks worried because I'm worried that you think my face looks worried". Then just step around all the exploded heads and blown minds.


Bitchy Resting Face is a disorder that affects millions of women every day. Together we can face the problem.@n

or Elsa!

Obligatory Kids In the Hall sketch."Well, it CERTAINLY is a pleasure to meet YOU, Derek."


@or Elsa! YES! I love this sketch. My boyfriend and I were watching Kids in the Hall DVDs last weekend and this was an old fave.


@or Elsa! Love that sketch! That and Dave Foley's "I'm sorry, I don't speak any English" sketch are gold. Also, Heccubus!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

Yes, but I also suffer from Bitchy Resting Personality. Or other people suffer, I should say. Doesn't really bother me at all!

Lisa Frank


Oliver St. John Mollusc



@Lisa Frank See, if THAT was my resting face, we wouldn't have a problem. Although I guess it would confuse people.

dj pomegranate

@Lisa Frank I hope that is also the real Lisa Frank's resting face.


Yep! I actually scare people in meetings, because it gets bitchier when I'm bored.


@Mira There was this one girl in all of my grad school classes who I was convinced, for YEARS, hated me. Nope, just bitchy resting face, especially when bored in class.


@Mira This happened to me!!! I was taking a class and at the end this one last came up to me and told me I was a huge bitch and all I could think was, "I never even thought about you....?" Musta been my bored bitchy face because it is pretty epic.


Chronic Bitch Face. I have it. Whenever I'm in neutral mode, people ask me what's wrong. That's just my face!

One of my coworkers who is a dude has a neutral look that looks simultaneously horrified and enraged, and it's pretty alarming.

vine fruit

It's Milana Vayntrub from Live Prude Girls! <3


@vine fruit Ahhh, watching these videos now. These girls are hilarious!

vine fruit

@BoozinSusan They're amazing. The Hannah Hart one is one of the most painfully uncomfortable things I've ever seen.


@vine fruit


I have never seen these girls before and I CANNOT STOP LAUGHING.

Also, I love Hannah Hart, and this episode is the first place where I learned she is a lesbian, which makes me feel 50% closer to getting to marry her. Unfortunately, I remain not a lesbian, so its a pretty unbridgeable gap between me and marrying Hannah Hart.


I got called out by a client for this like 10 times at a meeting today.


@LolaLooksFrench Seriously, I try really hard to look, if not cheerful, at least pleasant in professional situations, and it's just exhausting. By the end of the day my face hurts and I haven't even been smiling.




@Linette Well it's better than clenched asshole face.



lasso tabasco

Default Bitchface, as it's know in these parts.


I have a mirror that I can glimpse while I'm working at my desk... lord, I have like, CRAZY bitchy resting face. GLOWERING bitchy resting face. I'm pretty sure the lines between my eyebrows are from my bitchy resting face.


thank god this condition is finally getting recognized as the involuntary affliction it is. now, nobody will ever guess that the reason I look like I hate everything is because I really do.

the roughest toughest frail

@queenofbithynia My only regret is that I have but one like to give this comment.


Oh lord yes. I can scare people away without ever having looked at them.


"Oh I don't suffer from bitchy resting face, I enjoy every minute of it!"


"Hey, you'd be a whole lot prettier if you smiled!" Bitchy resting face immediately turns to Actual Bitch Mood.


@bevrockin "Hey, you'd be a lot less dead if you shut the fuck up!!" and the bitchface prophecy becomes self-actualized.


@bevrockin Straight up.


@bevrockin "Smile lady, it ain't that bad"--> me:


@bevrockin I once had someone give me the "Smile, girl, it's not that bad" line while waiting for the elevator AT A HOSPITAL. Which is like the main place on earth where it's pretty much guaranteed TO BE THAT BAD.

Roxanne Rholes

It took me quite a few years of living in Boston before I finally perfected my Bitchy Subway Face and people stopped trying to talk to me on the T. But then it spilled over to the rest of my life, and now people at work are always asking me what's wrong.

Worth it.


@Roxanne Rholes mmhmm. preach.

I cultivated Street Bitchface back in the day when I used to get street harassed, because anything less was apparently Please Ask Me For My Name and Number Face.


@Roxanne Rholes Ha! I saw a girl on the T today and instantly felt some kind of sisterhood connection, then realized it was because she, too, wore a Bitchy Subway Face. My people!


@iceberg I try to have Street Bitchface, especially when walking my dog, for that reason. And yet I still get hit on, usually at the end of the walk, when I am most sweaty and tired looking. No, you cannot help me walk my dog, dude who is IN YOUR CAR. Seriously?

ETA: I actually have a fake name that I use when random dudes ask me what my name is. When they say, "Really?" I just say, trying to sound as bitchy and bored with them as I possibly can, "That's what they call me," and walk away.


@angelinha Let's all keep an eye out for each other tomorrow. You'll know me because I look hostile and don't make eye contact. Come say hi!

<3 you, MBTAie.


Hi, can you guys teach me your ways? Because apparently I have "Please! Come talk to me!" face even if I have headphones on and am sweaty from the gym and am carrying 5 grocery bags.


@Roxanne Rholes One morning on the Red Line, I must have looked so miserable to everyone, because the old woman sitting in front of me actually OFFERED ME HER SEAT.


I have a Bitchy Walking Down the Street face which, when paired with enormous headphones, sunglasses, and a scarf wrapped up to my chin, deflects most randos trying to talk to me in the street. Often it even deters canvassers, which I consider a personal accomplishment.

(sorry not sorry canvassers)

Judith Slutler

@martinipie I have one of these. I honestly do consider it an accomplishment as well.


@martinipie I have that too! Also Bitchy Walk which my mom calls my city walk. I lived in a big Asian city for awhile and dude that shit is NECESSARY for survival. Headphones, hands in pockets, mega scowl, eye contact with no one.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@martinipie For reals. One of my clients was talking about how having a dog is a great way to meet people and I was like "the LAST thing I need is something else that will give strange men an excuse to talk to me."


Oh my god!!!! I have this! And then I overcompensate by smiling all the time. :(

Hot Doom

@Snowy haha me too, and then it just looks like I'm grimacing. #notblessed


I absolutely have bitchy resting face, which is why I am a compulsive smiler for pictures. Whenever a photographer asks me not to smile for a picture, I let them take one, and then they let me go back to smiling hugely. I actually look concerned/skeptical/bitchy. And a bit jowly.


I carry my stress in my face and it's awful! My usual resting face is pretty bland, but when I've got a lot going on in my life, it's all frowny all the time. I'm constantly trying to relax my mouth and unfurrow my brow. Is this what having emotions means?


I don't know if I suffer from bitchy resting face, but I definitely suffer from "looking like I am extremely depressed and/or bored at all times face."
EVERYONE: Are you okay? Is there something wrong?

Hot Doom

I actually got called out by a fellow 4th grader when I was 9, because apparently I rolled my eyes at her. At the time, it was like...I'll stop rolling my eyes when you stop saying dumb shit. It was seemingly involuntary! But clearly, things have snowballed from there, and I now have permanent resting bitchface AND an eye-rolling problem.


My resting face is a triple-threat combo of sad/bitchy/serious. And old men at the grocery store loooooove to tell me to smile.


@OhMyGoshYouGuys THE WORST.


We like that we bitch about "you should smile more" every couple months here.


Some of my favorite characters have a fantastic bitchy face: Maeby Funke and April Ludgate...off the top of my curmudgeonly head.


Is there anything more physiologically demanding than trying to change your neutral face expression? For job interviews I try to be aware of it, because I apparently come off like an uppity/depressed bitch with my normal face, but trying to smile slightly but not really smile just kind of not frown and make my eyes a little twinklier is UNBEARABLE for any length of time.

like a rabid squirrel

@YoungLeafedJune AGREED. I always get cramps in my cheek muscles after interviews/polite social occasions from forcing myself to smile that much.


Apropos of nothing, it occurred to me recently that I don't believe I've ever called someone a bitch. "Asshole", "dick", okay sure, but "bitch"? Never made sense to me.


@Danzig! good! I fucking hate that word, and this video and thread are giving me a major case of the twitches.


I have bitchy resting face for sure, and friends and strangers and teachers, etc. all have felt the need to comment on it. I'm actively trying to change my resting face, but how do you adjust your natural facial expression? No, seriously, how? Now I just look dumb slightly tilting my head my smile just looks like a grimace.

rien à dire

@Pygmalion I totally have bitchy resting face as well, and I've had pretty good success with raising my eyebrows ever just so. I guess looking slightly surprised = looking (more) approachable?

fondue with cheddar

@Pygmalion Someone should hold a workshop.


@Pygmalion I have to think really hard about relaxing my grimace muscles. Like my eyebrows and mouth. Then raise the eyebrows like mentioned above. Think "I am smiling" but don't quite do it?

does it need saying

@rien à dire



My prof told me I was on the brink of passing / failing, but b/c her TA told her I glared at her every discussion section, they decided to fail me. For my bad attitude.


This was 20 years ago, and I've clearly still not recovered.

dj pomegranate

@Legal That is awful. I am angered on your behalf.


@Legal Was attitude even mentioned in the syllabus as a factor in grading? These days, if it isn't in the syllabus, ya can't lower the grade for it. Also, I got counselling for a while, and my freaking counsellor chastised me for having a "cold expression" which made it " hard to talk to me" ie, no wonder my husband at the time wouldn't. I'm like "No! I'm just concentrating really hard on what you are saying! Plus, this is really hard and stressfull? WTF am I supposed to look like for crying out loud???!"


@Legal Yes! I had a professor stop her lecture once to ask if I was mad at her. I told her no, because I wasn't. I was just concentrating. Now I realize that when I am thinking or focused I just look angry. I think I must furrow my brow.


My fiancé has Glowering Resting Face. Whenever my friends admit they are terrified of him I just laugh and tell them that he doesn't curse, and his favorite cursing phrase is "Poop in my hand and call me Davey!" That usually puts an end to any fear.

And yeah, seriously, he doesn't curse. At all. I have a horribly dirty mouth, but he says things like "That is one weird-butt picture" and "Ugh, this is a long-butt drive." I've grown to love it, but it is really weird and goofy.

Bike Pretty

@Llllauren More please!
I need like, a list of phrases for all manner of situations.


I suffer from bitchy all the time face. (Seriously, apparently lately what people used to take as the lighthearted sarcasm it is has been coming across as Pissed Off For Serious, and I don't understand.)

fondue with cheddar

@squishycat Maybe they just see what they want to see?

concrete dreams

NO ONE TALKS TO ME IN PUBLIC, EVER. thank god i have friends and a boyfriend already, otherwise i would die alone with cats because people were too scared to try to connect with me.


I distinctly remember my 7th grade tumbling coach explaining to a judge at a meet: "That's really just her face, she's such a nice girl."


Open office floorplans make this (or at least my "interesting" concentrating faces) the worst. Although I have begun to enjoy watching people start backpedaling when I respond politely but without amusement that "people often comment on my face."


Ugh, I am actually dealing with this right now! Someone put a photo up on FB of me and other people sitting at a table at a wedding reception, and I am not smiling*. But I am also not actively scowling. Yet everyone's oh-so-original (and hilarious!) comments are in the "what's up your ass?" category. God, shut up.

And I guess I can't really tell them to shut up either, or it reinforces their theory.

* I had been, by the way; the person just took so ^%$&^&#@% long to take the picture, that I stopped for a second.


I'm mildly afflicted, i.e. I'm sure I look glad to be speaking to people I already know, but the rest of the time this is my default: |:L
I will say, however, that it is useful for public transport and when I'm walking past charity workers.

Mayor of Butt City

Coupled with a deadpan affect, this is why I received the coveted 'Most Sarcastic' superlative in my High School yearbook. This makes no sense because I really am being genuine 99% of the time, especially when I admit that my default mental screensaver is crocodiles eating people.

Noelle O'Donnell

I've been walking around with Bitchy Resting Face for years and I sorta understand why it's a little off-putting now that I'm teaching classes. Staring at a sea of BRFs while trying to be chipper and upbeat about anger management is a toughy.

Noelle O'Donnell

Not sorry about it for street harassers though. YOU DESERVE MY SCOWL.


There is a young lady at my office who has serious bitchy resting face. And it's doubly unfortunate that her last name rhymes with "bitchy" and her nickname around the office is "Sally Bitchy"*

*Name has been changed to protect this person.


I have this! Going to concerts alone (which I love doing and do often) is when I get confronted the most. People, just because I'm alone, in a corner, crossing my arms, decidedly not dancing, and scowling, doesn't mean I'm not enjoying myself or want to be offered a joint to "loosen up a bit".


@forcingasmile I've learned to appreciate my Resting Bitch Face because it means I never get greeted by random acquaintances I'd rather not talk to. (It also probably helps that I have a habit of mumbling song lyrics to my self while walking around campus).


My people! I too have one of these faces! I can't help it! It's just that my mouth turns down!

(And I exclaim about it in frustration, every time it comes up!)


I'm reading Heartburn right now and this line just popped out at me:

"So I smiled. I look much better when I smile. In fact, when I don't smile, I look as if I'm frowning even when I'm not."

Nora Ephron, reppin' the resting scowl since 1983.


My BRF is inherited from my father, who generally looks like he thinks that anyone near him is an idiot when really he is trying to remember whether or not he unplugged the toaster. People are constantly asking me what is wrong, or am I angry, or why I am judging them. It's useful when attempting to elicit a confession from someone, and super-useful for deterring creepers at the park. And like many of you have mentioned, it's an open invitation for any-and-all to demand that I smile.


I suffer from some combination of BRF and Significant Look Resting Face. I often have to assert strongly that "I was just looking at you, not Looking at you," to my friends. It's a problem.

Jonas Ruess

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