Can I just vent for a second?
I’ve just been put over the edge. One comment too many regarding my face not being up to the visible standard of those around me and I’ve reached blog post levels of frustration. So, here we are.
Lately, more than ever in my life, I have been on the receiving end of a nasty little douche bag called the Back Handed Compliment. Actually, scratch that. There are no real compliments in these comments. Let’s call this the Forehanded Really Blatant and Totally Uncalled for Comment. In the past few months, I can’t seem to go a week, or even more than a few days without someone commenting about, quite literally, my face. And today I ask you… What gives!?
From a coworker:
Them: “You look exhausted.”
From a coworker passing my desk while I am focused on a task:
Them: “Hey, Frowney.”
(Continues to keep walking past my desk)
(End of conversation, apparently.)
From a coworker:
Them: “Woah. Rough day?”
“Um… no, not really. Why?”
“You just looked pissed off.”
“Nope. I’m just trying to meet a deadline. Can I help you with something?”
From a coworker:
Them: “Yeah- and if you could have that done by the end of the day, that’d be awesome.”
Me: “Great. I’m on it.”
“Hey– can I ask you something?”
“Are you ok?”
“….yeah! I’m doing great. Why?”
“Just because sometimes I look at you and you are smiling and seem happy and then other times I walk past you at your desk when you’re working and it seems like you hate your life.”
“Oh. Um. No, I’d say I’m markedly happy at least 95% of the time.”
“I’m sorry.” (Wait– why the hell did I just apologize?!)
“I think… that’s just the way my face is? Like, resting bitch face maybe?” (Ugh! Why did you just say that!? Why are you justifying YOUR LITERAL FACE face to this person and categorizing yourself as a bitch in the process?)
“Oh. Haha. Yeah. Now I get it.”
From a coworker walking into work first thing on a Monday morning:
Me: “Good morning.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Your face– the way you just looked at me. It was scary.”
From a coworker:
Them: “We just talked about your resting bitch face”
“Yeah. <Coworker who will not be named> thought it was hilarious.”
(This, apparently, was brought up in conversation at a meeting with over 10 of my coworkers, including the CEO of the company)
To be fair, it’s not always male coworkers. Church ladies give great shade as well.
From a woman at church in an exchange while washing our hands in the bathroom:
Her: “Oh my goodness! You look so beautiful!”
Me: “Oh! Thank you so much!”
“You’ve finally lost all of your baby fat!”
“Oh… thank you so much…?”
Pro tip: A compliment should never have to be dug for. It should be a crisp $100 dollar bill handed over to you from the palm of someone’s open hand. Not a soggy $100 bill at the bottom of the swamp that I have to dive for in order to get the reward.
I have a hard time labeling myself as a feminist. Sometimes, I’m like hell yeah to feminism. I see the wage gap and the cat calls and the inconsistencies of how women are treated at home and in the workplace in America (even more so around the world) and my Ovary Radar starts to buzz and I get pissed off. Then there are other moments where I feel the term “Feminism” has been monetized and aligned with a specific set of political positions, which makes me want to distance myself from the whole thing. And before going to work at a traditional 9-5 job, I thought that many of the stories regarding sexism in the workplace that I had heard were most likely blown out of proportion. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have assumed that over sensitivity was to blame for the majority of male/female co-working complaints. It has been shocking and disappointing to me that, in some ways, those claims were underplayed. I’m not a sensitive person. In the slightest. And the feeling that I need to put the responsibility back on me and make a justification for how serious my face rests or the fact that I could do a better job at smiling bigger when a someone stops by my desk in the middle of the day to let them know that “Hey! Just because you are interrupting my work and want to talk about your weekend, that’s totalllyyyyy ok, because look how much I’m showing my happiness on my face!!!!!!! See?? SEE!?!!?” just isn’t fair.
But I’m just not going to do that anymore. Because the irony of all of this is that I’m a really happy person. I haven’t been this happy with my life in a super long time. I like the way that my face looks — resting or otherwise — and I like my job (in huge part because of how much I really like my coworkers). I have great friends and I’m excited about my future. I laugh a lot and I love talking to people. And do you want to know the best way to find all of that out? By talking to me. Not by making a snap judgement based on the way you assume my face should look to reflect all of that.
I don’t know if you guys have heard this one before, but as someone who has a hard time shutting her trap and finding herself with a foot in her mouth more often than she’d like to admit, I often go back to this little known proverb:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
And I’d like to add a little something more. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, consider why that is.”