Resting Bitch Face is a Defense Mechanism

I was just talking with my sister on the phone, and we were comparing times we were scared shitless while traveling and escaped it. You know, the kind of scary thing you didn’t tell your family about at the time it happened, because they would be really worried about you? We discussed how men literally do not ever have these concerns. Most men never walk down the street with a constant inner monologue of “Will I be assaulted today? Is that old man going to tell me to smile more?” We had an epiphany: Resting Bitch Face is a Self-Defense Mechanism.

And we’ve both used it as one! My sister and I each had multiples accounts of times that a mad straight face and deaf ear might have saved our lives. I checked your previous content, and their are references of RBF sprinkled throughout many conversations about feminism and the general life of being a woman, but this perspective is unique. Of course there are opportunities to link related MR content Do You Have a Resting Bitch Face? and Feminism and RBF, but this perspective is not “what do you do about RBF” or “RBF is an issue with the way men perceive women” but about the fact that sometimes, when you are on the subway alone, you put on your biggest, baddest bitch face because you don’t want to talk, and you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes that angry frown while to stare blankly in the distance is the only way to get a little fucking security and peace and quiet while going about your day to day life. Bitch face is the ultimate Man Repeller.

On Female Friendship

Image from Glossier

When I was in high school, I boasted about the fact that I had no girlfriends.

It was trés cool to roll with the boys. And that’s what I did! Forever the friend, I drove my buddies in my mom’s minivan to heavy metal concerts and we pulled off the most ridiculous stunts at band practice. Sometimes we would break into an abandoned “haunted” house just to have the shit scared out of us and other times we would watch bad movies and recreate the gross signature meal. I’m looking at you, Troll 2 Nilbog Pie. I have grown distant from these friends, but I love and miss those guys, and they shaped who I am today.

I remember the first time I made a real, reliable girlfriend. The kind that you click with instantly and remember forever. I was away, traveling, and when I met these girls from bigger and faster cities, for the first time I felt like I was listened to completely, and more than that: I felt heard.

I was not the butt of the jokes with this crew, and intelligence and argumentativeness were validating qualities. They were funny and danced with ease and comfort. They felt like all of the good parts of femininity that I had been stuffing away so that I felt cool and accepted with the boys.

Flash forward:

In college, I was back to my old ways of worrying about whether or not I was accepted as one of the guys. When I wasn’t concerned about my friendships with some, I was pursuing romantic interest with others. I keep in touch with a number of them, but the people that I will always love are the women that spent time with. What I miss most are late night debates about the politics of colonial America (?) or playing tunes on the porch a lazy Sunday morning with all the girls. I will never forget the minutes that felt like hours during which we considered all of our pizza options and everyone’s personal tastes before inevitably settling on Hawaiian. I not one single women entered my life as a friend and abandoned me as a friend. Every female friendship I have made in the last 5 years has lasted and developed and has been deeply meaningful.

I am so excited that now, in my formative years of adulthood, I am learning how to seek out these independent women to have in my life as supporters and friends. I made my first new friend in my new city 6 months after moving! I realize now that you can’t meet new people when you sit on your couch and watch Netflix. By learning how to rock climb, I have made one new friend, who shared her friends with me (even bringing me to a B.Y.O.F. party… Bring Your Own Friend!). I have recently joined a group of women training to be better and stronger climbers, I am amazed at the ease of new friends who want to put themselves out of their comfort zone and learn something new. When my friend joined a rowing course, she noted how few men were on the beginner team, and said “of course it’s all women signing up and trying new things!” Of course there are adventurous men signing up and trying new things, but one of the amazing qualities about women who seek personal independence is that they aren’t afraid of something new and different.

This new group of women I have been climbing with is already very special to me because we can all share a sense of camaraderie formed from being awkward and uncomfortable together, laughing at these struggles, and drawing power from them.

So here is to long and lasting friendships with great women.

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Image from Glossier

The Case for Going Off the Grid

Written with an appreciation for the irony of a blog post about going off-grid.

I recently spent time with a friend who lives most of his life almost entirely off-grid. When he’s at home, he lives in a modest home in the rural hills of Ireland. (I’ve never been there- he says it’s a small town. I assume it has hills?) There is no wifi, and electricity use is minimal. He has a smart phone without data as his “computer” when he’s around wifi, and a burner phone for calls and texts. As paranoid as this sounds, given the current debate and changes regarding America’s own policies towards net neutrality, and the variation in these rules in other countries, sometimes it is necessary to take extra measures in order to maintain privacy and secure identity. In addition to being exposed for identity theft, there also lies a risk of being exposed at a point in your life where it makes your career vulnerable. Consider the Hillary Clinton email scandals. The emails contained nothing incriminating, beyond their existence. Because she did not use the government-protect server exclusively, she was exposed to have been emailing the way our Mom’s do: gossiping about people using abbreviations and lots of emojis. Granted, the issue is more nuanced than that, but it only takes that much of personal behavior being exposed to affect the public’s perception of you as a professional.

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I am really fascinated by a lifestyle where you can withdraw from the appeal of media and engage with reality. It’s a little crazy that we live in a world where we have to work to engage with reality. I accidentally disconnect all the time. I forget to charge my phone or pack an external battery, and I am off the grid for 3 days straight. When I have absolutely nothing to do. I will temporarily lose my phone and not think about it until… well, until I know I have something to do. A lot of times these device vacations leave me with a new sense of “shoot, I should’ve read that email two days ago,” or “I should have confirmed this event yesterday,” but the time away from the device brings me a deep sense of calm.

Let’s talk about FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. FOMO IS REAL. If you aren’t online, you might miss the next big thing that everyone is talking about, or miss an invite to a new place, or miss a friend’s big announcement.  …So what? So what if you miss the moment the news happens?? It will trickle down to you eventually, anyway, if it is even worth knowing. Something that I never hear talked about is the fear of missing out on the here and now. Right? How many meaningful conversations with our parents have we mm-hmmd scrolled through and can’t remember? How many opportunities have been missed to keep eye contact and make nuanced jokes during dinner with friends? I want to instill a little real life FOMO in my daily routine. As I catch myself scrolling while on my couch I should think… what if I was outside on a walk right now? I might make small talk with that nice lady, or see flowers blooming in the park. I should turn off my phone and go outside.

What in the world does my friend do in his free time? He said, “Since I don’t have a tv, or computer, I’ll often sip a drink while I play my instrument, or write (offline!), or read a book.” Brilliant. When he said this, I instantly thought of the thousands of hours I have spent with me, myself, and Netflix. I thought of the hours in that week alone that I was offline and in person, maybe 20 usually wasted hours were spent establishing deep and personal connections with wonderful musicians and artists from all over the world. Is there a way to make every day that purposeful?

Maybe. But there is merit to this technological plague, too. Room for personal growth within each career field. Towards the end of the week, I was hard at work on my computer, establishing an online community for watching concerts and supporting the musical organization for which we were working through digital viewerships and donations. The friend who lives off-grid came up and commented that it looked like important business was happening in this coffee shop, with my tech set-up and focused expression. I explained what I was doing, and made a (joking) comment that he wouldn’t know anything about this stuff, since he is off grid. He responded in a somber way, saying that he did recognize the merit of an online presence, and that by making the choices he makes to stay offline, he is also choosing to be disconnected from people he could otherwise be in touch with, and his once large following of musicians may lose touch with his work as he remains inactive on the world wide web. Like anything, being on-grid/ off-grid is all about striking a balance, and that balance is different for anyone. I do dream of a quiet, offline cabin-in-the-woods experience some day… but full time? I don’t think that’s for me. (Says the girl who spent an hour in front of the computer to bring you this post.)

Do you have a technology balance, or a goal to remediate your regular usage or lack there of?