Young Red was often told that he looked too serious. Red’s fourth grade teacher went so far as to claim that she had never seen him smile. Red recalls that he was too busy working out the analytics of long-division to sport a shit-eating grin for that old biddy. But looking back at Red’s first grade class picture (recently supplied by an old friend), even Red had to admit that he was the only kid in the group of 32 that was not smiling – except for one boy known to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. The irony is that Red is almost preternaturally happy. But now Red knows that he suffers from the dreaded Resting Bitch Face – a condition that causes one’s normal facial expression to range from slightly peeved to perturbed to downright contemptuous. How sad to endure a malady of unknown complexity. All these years, Red could have simply responded, “It’s my RBF, man, back off” when confronted with comments about his apparently Quixotic doleful countenance.
Fortunately for RBF sufferers everywhere, researchers Jason Rogers, Ph.D. and Abbe Macbeth, Ph.D. have analyzed the perception of RBF in their groundbreaking study Throwing Shade: The Science of Resting Bitch Face. Not to spoil the exciting conclusion, but Rogers and Macbeth have concluded that the “answer may lie in our brains, which have evolved the fusiform face gyrus, an area that specializes in recognizing faces, as well specific regions of the right parietal cortex that are specifically activated when analyzing facial expressions” (footnotes omitted – you’re welcome). It’s all perfectly clear now.