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March 04, 2016

I'm not an idiot. That's just how my face naturally is.

A new study claims that “resting bitch face”- when a person’s neutral face looks unhappy- is a real phenomenon. I think it’s great that RBF is getting such recognition. Maybe women who suffer from it will no longer be asked, “Are you okay, you look upset?” all the time. And that’s great. But what about Resting Idiot Face? When will those of us who suffer from this terrible affliction have our day in the sun?

What’s Resting Idiot Face? It’s the same thing as Resting Bitch Face, except my neutral face looks like I’m a real big idiot. Like this:


I can’t help it. In my head, my neutral expression is a pleasant smile, but I actually look like a giant idiot. It can be really difficult. This is what I look like when I’m thoughtfully listening at a work meeting:


My boss constantly says things like, “Jesus Christ Madalyn, your face, it’s just- just- Christ, just get those files on my desk by end of day.” Dating is difficult, too. This is what it looks like when I’m telling stories about my childhood:


And this is what it looks like when I’m listening to my date telling stories about his childhood:


I even had to stop going to church because the pastor complained I offended him during the sermon. And don’t get me started on funerals.

It’s tough. You wouldn’t believe how many of my friends have said to me, “You know, when I first met you, I thought you were a huge idiot. But you’re not. You’re actually pretty smart about most things.” My friend with Resting Bitch Face says people are always coming up to her on the street and telling her to smile. But people are always coming up to me on the street asking me if I’m lost, and who’s looking after me.

I guess there are some benefits to RIF. At least I don’t get cat-called.


And I’ve really learned to commiserate with other women who are constantly misunderstood like me. My friend Sarah has Resting Shit Eating Grin Face, and it’s really made us closer friends.


So what can you do to help? First of all, don’t assume someone’s an idiot just because they look like one. That’s just how my face naturally sits, ok? So the next time you see me looking like this:


Don’t ask, “What’s wrong with you?” and move away nervously. And if we’re friends, don’t assume that I’m upset or that I think you said something really dumb or offensive- I’m not judging you, I’m not making fun of you- I’m just listening. And most of all, don’t ask me to change. Because if there’s anything worse than my RIF, it’s me trying to smile and pretend I don’t have it:


So that’s what you need to know about RIF. Thank you for reading about this unique disorder. And if you ever come up to me on the street and ask me stupid questions about it, just know that this is what my face looks like when I actually do think you’re an idiot: