Your Resting Face

A girlfriend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday and I immediately had to find the interview.

Martina Navratilova on ESPN on her years playing against Chris Evert: “you were the American girl-next-door, I was the big, muscular lesbian from a communist country… I was always the villain, I mean, what are you gonna do, I was playing against the Osmonds of tennis.”

I love Martina Navratilova.

She was far from cute and glamorous (which is why so many of us liked her). Some of us love a straight face that genuinely breaks into a smile, while others feel the need to embrace the “just keep smiling” approach.

I often run into a woman in Qatar who smiles constantly. Not an I’m so happy smile, more of a frozen smile. Perhaps a fixed, planned smile. Everything is said with a smile. She smiles and nods, she smiles and eats, she smiles when she’s telling you there’s a problem. Occasionally there’s a head tilt with the smile. I’m confident that if she felt the need to tell me to go and make love to myself swiftly, she’d do it with a smile. 

I grew up with parents who enjoyed a good giggle, but if you saw my mother walking down the street you might be tempted to stop and ask who died. We are not a family of natural smilers. This doesn’t mean we don’t smile often, we just find we need something to smile about. It was only recently that I learnt there is an official name for our condition. And no, it’s not bitch face.

I questioned a friend about the smiling woman of Qatar. I wondered why she would feel the need to smile to such an extreme all the time. Wasn’t it exhausting? Her suggestion was that maybe she wasn’t happy with her “resting face” or that someone had mentioned her “resting face” in the past. 

It was a revelation.

A resting face.

My condition has a name. 

I was having a bit of Judith Lucy fix last night and stumbled across an old Rove episode. Judith Lucy is my favourite Aussie female comedian. We’ve enjoyed a very long and enduring one sided unrequited love affair. I love her dry satirical humor. She has remained brutally honest throughout her career which made last years “Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey” series hysterical (get it on iTunes if you can, it’s well worth it). Judith also has resting face issues. 

Have you ever been told to smile? Do men get told to smile?

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