RBF. You’ve heard the lingo. Resting Bitch Face. That unfortunate punum, excuse my Hebrew, that forms when you’ve had to sneeze for over twenty minutes, you just took a midterm and your hands are cramped and/or you just have a rather stark facial structure. Many individuals are graced with RBF; it spans all races, genders and ages. Yet there is another epidemic, one that is scarcely discussed but equally as problematic for those affected. Thus I give you RAF, or “Resting Approachable Face,” something I have been blessed with since I was a wee little girl.
Resting Approachable Face can best be defined as a facial expression that makes a statement to the world declaring, “Come talk to me, I would love to hear your life story, braid your hair and prance around through the meadows with you.”
This is my face.
For years I have been the go-to photographer for many tourists. The girl to ask to save your place in line while you grab a napkin to blow your nose. The target for any and all Sproulers all through college. The handpicked volunteer in every magic show as a kid – even when I didn’t raise my hand; and (one of my crowning glories) the lucky gal holding up the bride’s wedding gown as she pees during the reception.
I don’t know what it is but there’s something about my RAF that makes people feel that they can tell me anything. It’s almost like I’m the priest at confession, except there is no friendly wall separating me from the laypeople.
Well, I’m here to clear up some misconceptions. First of all just because my face looks like a human pug doesn’t mean that I like to be pet. Just because I look inviting doesn’t mean I am yearning for you to sit next to me on the 51B and spill all your woes from your “ridiculous day” on me. Just because I might look “sweet” doesn’t open the door for everyone and their yenta grandmother to call me “sweetie.”
Also to set the record straight, people with RAF can still have an edge. I might not have bitch written on my face but that doesn’t mean I still can’t clap you out. That’s right, I’m sassy too. I’m capable of roasting people. The grill might be on low heat, and I may be doing it with a massive smile brilliantly displaying my 12 years of head-gear and braces, but, hey, I will keep your ass in line.
Given these trials and tribulations, I recently have taken some steps to rectify this dilemma. Three months ago I decided to dye my hair pink. Why pink? I had a severe Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl phase and was feeling really nostalgic for the good ol’ times of Motorola Razrs, T-Mobile Sidekicks and LG Envys. Anywho I did it — I dyed my golden brown locks rose, and the results were not quite as expected.
Instead of people thinking of me as a Hot Topic Lord, and fearing my very existence, the plebeians loved it and flocked to me even more. People opened up to me like never before. I even tapped into new crowds, as one of my GSI’s gushed to me about their failing romance and its impact on their dedication to their research. And, the Caffé Strada man told me his big date plans with his girlfriend for the long weekend.
This was when I realized, I have a gift. Having RAF isn’t an enemy, it’s an ally. Having people feel comfortable enough with you to share their deepest darkest secrets — even if the drama level wasn’t through the roof — is actually pretty sick. When you have RAF it’s inevitable that people hug you more, smile and wave at you more and give you the occasional cheek pinch and nose tap more than the average person and slightly less than a newborn.
But hey, you know what, I enjoy hugs. I love a casual smile and wave. And, I’ll be damned, I am delighted when puppies run up to me and ask for attention. Giving that guy sitting next you in Wurster a tissue or hitting up a homegirl with a tampon in Wheeler every once in a blue moon ain’t the death of me.
So, all in all, yeah it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes to have the entirety of the Berkeley community flock to you with their need for directions, photos and advice. But I’d rather be the boy wonder than the joker any day.