Friday, May 17, 2013

y so srs?

Here's the thing about my face: It looks angry when it's in the "resting" position. It's something I've been painfully aware of for a large portion of my life, and at times tried to remedy by consciously altering my features to look "happier," or at least "surprised" (although people probably just think Why does that angry girl look so surprised?). But there's really not much I can do outside of surgically altering my mouth, and I don't think plastic surgeons have yet mastered the "smize" operation. The thing about faces is, we're stuck with them. You wouldn't tell a disfigured person "Hey, you, stop looking so disfigured," and yet people seem overly eager to brazenly tell a stranger that they need to stop looking so serious and smile more. THIS IS MY FACE. This is how it looks. You are literally seeing exactly what it looks like.

Been wearing this expression since '87.
If I had a dollar for every person who has apropos of nothing told me I should smile, or made a comment about how I look angry or serious, when all I (thought I) was doing was sitting minding my own business ... I'd have about $17. Which isn't that much, but it's enough to take you out for a drink and show you in person the stupid shit people feel compelled to say. It's akin to one of my friends who often hears from her co-workers (or strangers, and most often men), "You look so pretty without your glasses!" She should definitely stop wearing them so that other people can feel "nice" when they look at her. I mean, she only wears her glasses to see.
I used to do this thing where I tucked my bottom lip in and rolled my chin out into a position that flattened it because I didn't like the way it looked in my profile. So in class or out and about I'd consciously do this chin-flattening thing so that people in view of my profile wouldn't see my rolly little chin. (Instead they'd see a girl with a flat chin doing something really weird and likely grotesque with her mouth and lips.) It became a habit, and I somehow convinced myself that it made me more attractive to shape my face into something I thought others would like better. (You know how people tell you things a million years after you've stopped caring and you're like, "Wish you could have told the me who was sitting in science class pushing her chin down with her fingers"? I told a guy I dated about the chin thing and he said, "But why? You have such a pretty profile.")
Maybe this is why I like Grumpy Cat so much. Grumpy's resting face probably most often belies his actual mood, but he's like I WASN'T ACTUALLY GRUMPY TILL ALL YOU MOTHERFUCKERS STARTED ASKING WHY I WAS.
I shouldn't have to alter my face, or explain why my face looks however it does at the moment, especially to some dildo in a bar who thinks he's flirting with me by telling me I look grouchy. (Because that always works on everyone, ever.) 
People are drawn to friendly faces, certainly, and some people's faces are perhaps naturally "friendlier" looking. (Whatever that means. The corners of your mouth turn up more than mine; I'm so happy for you [though I don’t look it.]) But here's the thing: People are drawn to a lot of things (kindness, drugs, cartoons, beauty, licorice), and it's not up to me to put on display what other people think I should. If I'm hosting a party, I’ll be sure to look lively. If I'm interviewing someone, I’ll be sure to look interested. But when I'm just sitting, I shouldn't feel actively obligated to look cheerful if the things on my face aren't forming into the expression people wished they saw. It's my face, and sometimes it's off-duty. It's not here for your viewing pleasure. Women have enough ridiculous things expected of them as it is; trying to maintain a pleasant visage if it doesn't occur naturally should not be another. 
My face, my choice.

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