On Living with “Chronic Bitchface”

I love this cartoon and identify completely (please come back to me):

Chronic bitchface

Back?  OK.

I can’t remember a time when people haven’t told me to “SMILE!” in a most irritating fashion.  It’s really a rather selfish request, when you think about it – you are asking me to change my face so that it makes you feel better.  I’m sorry, the world is not always a happy place!  But most of the time these requests have surprised me, as I was not trying to scowl, nor was in a bad mood.  The unfortunate result of the command, though, is to make me snarky and defiant, and then I really do scowl.

It’s frustrating that people view me differently than I am, and differently than I mean to project myself into the world.  Just when I think I’ve made strides in seeming more open and approachable, someone will make an offhand comment that deflates me.  Then I wonder why to even bother, if my face will just derail me anyway.

It’s been interesting to find in my travels that much of the world does not smile for photographs.  They think it’s another sign of American hypocrisy that every posed photo shows faces with plastered grins.  A photo of Russian friends with straight faces looks so morose to me, but they see a happy memory.  It’s something that starts at birth here–just pay attention the next time you’re at a 2-year-old’s birthday party.  Anyway, I digress…

The older I get, the less people tell me to smile or “cheer up.”  I think my bitchface is softening (an unexpected benefit of aging?).  I also think there is a degree to which these people have maybe, just maybe, been picking up on subtleties in my outlook that I was not even aware of.  Perhaps my unselfconscious face is more honest that I would like it to be.  So as I ever-so-slowly become a more hopeful and peaceful person my default expression reflects it.  Let’s hope it’s that and not just cheek saggage or somesuch.

Your thoughts?  Are you a fellow bitchface sufferer?  Maybe we can go get Botox together.