"I don't know how to say this, but -- you kind of look like you want to murder me," a male friend once told me as I stared at him intently.
Then we fooled around and had what I would call a solidly murder-free evening. I mean, he's probably still scared it could happen, but what else is new?
The truth of the matter is: I get the whole "You look like you're going to murder me" feedback from people a lot.
Mostly in staff meetings. Or with men.
"Do you have any idea how you're looking at me?" a co-worker once asked me. "Oh, no," I apologized. "It's my murder face, isn't it?"
The co-worker seemed relieved this was finally out in the open now.
"Yeahhhh," I said, "that's just kind of my face."
This goes way beyond the whole Bitchy Resting Face epidemic. This is Murder Resting Face.
I can think of many a date, interview and cocktail party impression that has been forever sullied by BRF. Feedback I have gotten includes:
- "You're intense. You know, like murder intense."
- "You're angry. You know, like murder angry."
- "You're sexy. You know, like murder sexy."
I really don't think that I secretly have some homicidal fetish. (Although I am a Scorpio, which I always shorthand as "blood, sex and death" so.)
I tried to capture the look by taking selfies during our last staff meeting while everyone else worked around me and tried to ignore me.
Instead of Murder Resting Face, though, I captured: Depressed Resting Face. Nervous Resting Face. And -- as one might expect -- Crazy Person Taking Too Many Selfies Resting Face. But no MRF in sight.
"No," Emily said. "It's more like when you space out and your nostrils kind of flare, your eyes slit and you look like you might just stab us to death at any moment."
"Gotcha," I said. "That helps. I can recreate that."
When I think about it, I never suffer from Murder Resting Face when I'm posing for pictures (I just imagine a sexy secret!) or if I'm doing a TV appearance (I just imagine Nancy Grace has a sexy secret!). Then I'm all smiles and twinkly eyes. But the rest of the time, all bets are off.
"Wait, wait, you're doing it right now," Emily told me when I started to zone out. "Quick, get a camera."
"I am?" I asked. What the hell. I'm not even in control of the MRF anymore. IT'S IN CONTROL OF ME.
Where do I go? What am I thinking?
I suppose I did have a dream recently where all my exes were dying off in some violent manner, but I was not the one doing the murdering (still, dark dream, am I right?). And I do love me some murder shows, from "Law & Order" to "The Following," so maybe there's some unacknowledged homicidal fetish I have lurking beneath my subconscious that only manifests itself during office interactions and casual sex.
"What about this picture?" I asked Emily when I showed her one of the 8,000 selfies I took.
"Not quite," she considered. "You need more murder and less pretty."
And then, finally -- I thought I had it.
"Yes, that's it," Jane said when I showed her the pic. "Now -- just imagine what it's like to see that staring across from you."
"Sorry," I said. "I swear I really am not going to stab you."
Always a good thing to say to your boss, by the way. And maybe a good headline to add to my resume and online dating profile as well?
I suppose this is clearly an area I need to work on. Or maybe I should just own it. Like if I carried around some knives to distract from the whole Murder Face thing. (Which came first, the Murder Face or the purse filled with knives?)
Now that I think about it, maybe I'll just start carrying around handouts to give to strangers:
"To whom it may concern, while you might be fearing for your life right now, I assure you, your safety is my highest concern, and probably I'm just deep in thought. One thing is for sure though. I am definitely not going to murder you. Enjoy the rest of your subway ride!"
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.