I'm a happy person.
But you wouldn't necessarily know it from my face.
Which evidently means I'm in big trouble.
The other day, I saw an article about a study done by several psychologists who determined that we judge others based on their facial features at rest, or their "resting faces."
As soon as I saw that headline, I hoped this was going to be good news for me.
My face is always at rest.
Unfortunately, so is my body.
But the psychologists discovered something they called a "bitchy resting face," which gave me pause, as I didn't realize that bitchy was a psychological term.
I also wondered if men could have a "bitchy" resting face.
Or if that was simply called a "face."
But let's not get bitchy.
Anyway, the bottom line of the study was that people with bitchy resting faces were viewed as less trustworthy or competent. They were less likely to be hired for jobs and less likely to be voted for if they ran for office. In contrast, people whose resting face was on the smiley side were instantly viewed as more competent and trustworthy.
The psychologists called this face-ism.
So they beat me to the bad pun.
I wondered if these guys were psychologists or humorists.
Actually I think these chucklehounds were onto something, because I am the happiest person I know with the bitchiest resting face.
I found this out a few years ago, when I was being interviewed on TV about my books, and they showed me on a split screen with two other authors. I had a little earplug in my ear, and I didn't know what it was for until the interview started and somebody started yelling in my ear:
"SMILE WHEN THE OTHER AUTHORS ARE TALKING!"
So I did, looking as if I had just been electrocuted but was really happy about it.
Mercifully the segment ended, and during the commercial, the producer came up to me and said, "You're the only author not smiling when someone else is talking."
I blinked. "That's because I listen when other people are talking."
Which was completely true, at least when I'm on television. Otherwise, when other people are talking, I'm interrupting.
The producer frowned. "So, smile when you're listening."
Now I was actually frowning. "But we're talking about murder and injustice in fiction. These are serious subjects."
"Smile anyway. It's a visual medium. If you're not smiling, people will change the channel."
The producer went away, the TV show resumed, and I tried to keep my smiley face on while we talked about gruesome major felonies.
Needless to say, they never had me on the show again.
Because they lacked a sense of humor, which means knowing when to smile and when not to.
In any event, I'm guessing that most people I know have a bitchy resting face.
Or maybe when you're middle-aged, your face just falls into lines and everybody else thinks that's bitchy.
I have a group of great girlfriends, and I can picture what every one of them looks like when she's listening. Serious, caring, and thoughtful, not bitchy.
That's why they're my friends.
I challenge anybody out there with a brain to have a resting face that's anything but bitchy.
The test of this might be as close as your smartphone. Did you ever inadvertently turn on the camera function to selfie mode, when you were looking down?
I myself have actually gasped at the sight of myself in my own phone.
I don't look bitchy. I look dead.
Or maybe I look like a dead bitch.
In truth, women my age are not taking many selfies. Most of the time we don't want our picture taken at all. The best way to get a group of middle-aged women to run away is to aim a camera at them.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that you could rob a bank that way.
You don't need a gun, just a smartphone.
Hold up the camera and threaten to take their picture.
"OK, everybody say, 'Flee!' "