The Problem with Resting Pleasant Face


This article is a public service announcement. I have to get the word out to see if there are others like me, in hopes that we can spread the word through and raise awareness for our kind. 

I have an affliction. It has no formal name, so I call it  RPF, Resting Pleasant Face

I’m sure most of you have heard about RBF or, Resting Bitch Face. It’s a condition some people have where their neutral resting face looks annoyed, disdainful …well, you know. It’s become a popular term in current culture, and dare I say, it’s even becoming acceptable? Because now the general public knows that you out there with RBF are actually squishy and sweet under that surly exterior! You’re not a monster after all!

All these ladies (and gentlemen) who have been unfairly labeled as being snobby, mean, or rude now have an outlet of understanding. We get it! It’s not you, it’s your face! You want to be social, you think that puppy is cute, you’ve just been unknowingly frowning because other expressions are forced and crazy looking on you. 

Unfortunately I happen to have whatever the opposite of that is. Something no one seems to know about, something that is not in the pop culture vernacular. My neutral resting face is, for lack of a better word, pleasant. I look so approachable, it’s not even funny!

I am pink and plump; I am soft and smiley; and if you didn’t know me, you would think I bake cookies for the elderly and then skip to my Kindergarten teacher day job.

What kills me in combating this apparent demeanor is that the assumption is partly true. I’m lovely! I think kindness is what will save this world, I adore animals, I absolutely love attending bible studies, and I err on the side of being super emotional. I’m pretty feminine and love girl talk and peacocks and cozy sweaters… 

However, and it’s a big however, I don’t like children (outside of the ones that I do), I love a well placed swear word and am surprisingly profane. I’m extremely opinionated and strong willed, my favorite movie EVER is Aliens. In fact, this one time someone told me that I “would JUST LOVE the movie The Wedding Planner” and it absolutely felt like a slam. I’m saucy, sarcastic, and pretty much the opposite of how I seem in a lot of ways. 

With RBF, people think you’re stand-offish, but then you get to flip the script, and as people get to know you, they fall in love with the real you. I struggle with people getting to know the “real me” because often it’s met with a, “Wow, your sense of humor is dark *uncomfortable laughter*” or “Um, but I thought you would love scrapbooking” or “I brought moscato! Wait, you like whiskey? Neat?” (that last one is a bit false, as I will drink anything, but you get the point).

I feel like instead of a come-up I’m often a letdown. Like, you seemed really nice but you’re kind of awkward and use the f-bomb a lot more than I expected

Also when you are afflicted with RPF, strangers stop and chat with you ALL the time … which is amazing, except when it’s not.

Y’all know. Those days that you leave the house unshowered and just pray you don’t see someone you know? Well how about all of the people you DON’T KNOW who think, hey! that lady with the pleasant face, let’s talk to her! Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I’m a fairly extreme extrovert. But I can’t love people all the time. No one can. But that’s the thing with Resting Pleasant Face, it never rests.

RPF and RBF are especially difficult face calamities in the transient lifestyle of being a military family.

You see, when you don’t have to move around alllllll the time, chances are your friend group knows more than your face. They know you. The real you. They know if you look grumpy but are really just wrestling tender emotions, or if you look happy but you’re really quite uncomfortable.

Often with the military lifestyle, our first impression is used so much it’s exhausting. Having RPF is great for this, I come across as a sweet lady. But after a while, I can feel exhausted just being “sweet.” I long to be me, the “bad mom” me, the adult humor me, the part of me that is more April Ludgate than Leslie Knope, more Lannister then Tyrell, more Slytherin than Hufflepuff, and clearly more nerdy than mainstream. 

There’s an adage about judging books by their covers and the same goes with people … and their faces. Wouldn’t it be great if we just decided in our community, whatever community that is: wives, mothers, military, that we try to reserve some of our judgement?

I get it, some judgement will come out naturally; it’s unfair to think otherwise. But maybe we all just try to have grace and ask more questions. Maybe we all try to recognize that sometimes people who look wholly unapproachable are actually soft and sweet, and sometimes people who look like a cuddle in human form may be a bit edgier and scared of disappointing you with it. 

That’s it, the remedy to any kind of resting face–save judgement, pursue friendship, and have grace.