I’m Not Mean, I Just Have Resting Bitch Personality

Can’t I be nice and you also leave me alone?

Image: Surian Soosay

I don’t have Resting Bitch Face, but I have always looked more upset than I am. When I was five I was diagnosed with a lazy eye, and though I was told I “grew out of it,” I’m not sure my eyes are quite…even. It’s not that one of my eyes is different, it’s that they’re not exactly the same. To add to that, I’m nearsighted. For many years—specifically the years in high school when it was not cool to wear glasses—I was in denial of this fact. So I would dutifully wear my thin oval-shaped glasses during Algebra 2/Trig H class so I could see the board, and as soon as it was time to walk between classes I would squint my way down the hall, scowling more deeply in order to see the faces of those walking towards me. When I was in college, one of my TAs said he saw me walking down the street but resisted the temptation to say hello because I looked like I was brooding. I have Resting Brood Face.

I also suffer from a more complicated affliction, which I am happy to explain, called Resting Bitch Personality. I SEEM like a bitch, but I’m not. The only thing I resent more than small talk is the social expectation of having it. I will ice out even the most talkative hairdresser. I will ice out my own family. “I’m not going to talk just because you WANT me to, in this moment!” I’m a rigid motherfucker, but I’m not a bitch.

This is not to say that I’m silent all the time or never make conversation. I just prefer it to be on my terms, and not yours. When you ask me a question I feel put on the spot. I hate the expectation of performance. I resent that you have to announce to a house full of relatives your plans for the evening: “I think I shall now retire to my bedroom, goodnight to all!” As if you owe anyone an account of your every move.

I come off as an ice-cold bitch in public, but not because I hate everyone, but because I believe in some sort of false bubble of privacy—that I am walking through my life as the protagonist. I realize that makes me selfish, but I would argue that I’m also passive: I often feel as though I am watching my life rather than living it. So when you speak to me or look at me, I lose track of the footage. I believe you are not supposed to talk to or look at strangers in a public bathroom, and I believe retail salespeople are sociopaths.

But I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert. I love attention, I love being right, I love performing when I know I’m good. When I’m On, I’m On. Maybe it’s a younger-sibling thing—I’m sort of always waiting to see what other people do first. I’m very comfortable watching other people, and uncomfortable with the idea of them watching me. Anyway I just wanted you to know that I’m not ACTUALLY a bitch, I just seem like one. Please do not diagnose me in the comments, I already have enough problems. Thank you.