Exasperated Sigh Face (RDJT)

Stacey Gross Times Observer News Reporter

You guys?

I have a thing. It’s kind of serious. It may be incurable. It’s probably not going to kill me, but it definitely makes other people want to kill me sometimes, I think, which is just as serious really.

It’s called…oh, this is so hard…it’s called Exasperated Sigh Face, Robert Downey Junior Type (RDJT).

There. Ugh, I said it.

Don’t laugh, you guys. It’s a real thing. And it’s not a choice. The simple fact of the matter is that I truly, truly cannot control the things that my face does when I see you doing things or hear you saying things that I have an opinion about. And I have an opinion about all of the things. All of them. Every last one. Probably a strong opinion, too.

This diagnosis? It’s an impulse control deficit, at its core. I can’t help it. And the Robert Downey Junior typology tag really just means that my default is resting scowl face rather than resting joy face. But all it really means is that I cannot hide my feelings.

Like, at all.

Not ever.

Not in any context, whatsoever.

The struggle is real.

I’ve tried really hard over the years to control the manic contortions and spasms to which my grill muscles resort when I’m in the presence of other people, but I just have never been able to do it. And I know it doesn’t seem like that big a deal. It may even seem to some not much like a disorder, a source of suffering, at all. But there are drawbacks to being unable to shield my emotional reactions. There really are.

Poker, for example, is not something I’m able to enjoy. I mean, if I could overcome my complete inability to understand the intricacies of actual gameplay, that is. It’s like all forms of sportsball. The depth of my understanding of how to play poker is that there are rules, but they seem arbitrary, inexplicable, and counterintuitive to me. And my brain just says “nope to the nope nope” every time I try to learn how do the pokers. I can write you an essay all about the origin, development, and even the sociocultural ramifications of the history of poker as a social institution, though.

If you’re into that.



I can also successfully execute poker jokes.

Basically, you just wait for literally anyone to say the word “poker,” and then you just respond with the phrase, “but I barely even know her.” Trust me. Someone is going to laugh.

Every time.

It’s quite simple.

But I can’t play. Even the song “Poker Face” can be triggering of the deep despair and endless shame surrounding my knowledge of the fact that everyone, at all times, can read my p-p-p-poker face, p-p-p-poker face (muh muh muh muh) as easily as they could read any random Dick and Jane you placed before them.

And my dearest dream of one day rising through the ranks of the British military to become the most beloved and cherished member of the Queen’s Guard? Hopeless. Woefully dashed upon the rocks of my being born female. And American. And, perhaps most regrettably, unable to control my facial reactions to external stimuli, including but in no way limited to Asian tourists with mediocre senses of humor getting all up in my business.

Or, even harder for me to not react to, just in an intensely positive direction? American Orthodox Jews named Yankel with obscenely outstanding senses of humor.

The biggest bummer, though, is the fact that I am in no way a mystery to my children. And being able to engage in emotional subterfuge is kind of one of the big guns in the parenting arsenal. And how can I blame my children for baiting and mercilessly mind-screwing me when I make it so ridiculously easy for them to know when they’re succeeding in their efforts to stress me right the heck out? When the frustrated manifestation of Exasperated Sigh Face (RDJT) puts itself on full display within moments of those efforts being initiated, reinforcing the girls’ bad behavior as they dissolve into the shrill, gleeful giggles of my bitter defeat?

It’s not their fault that I’m fun to annoy.

I try really hard to just live my life without perseverating on the unchangeable nature of this utter, utter bane of my existence. Crying over rolled eyes does nothing to improve the situation, after all. But it’s hard. It’s hard not to live with the acute awareness of this troubling disorder hovering at the forefront of my every interpersonal interaction.

Most upsetting about the whole thing, though, is that I’m just like everyone else. I genuinely want people to like me. I really do. But people tend to have automatic, strong negative feelings about people who think they are idiots. And when you can’t stop your face from telling people when you think they’re being idiots, it’s hard to make friends, you guys!

It really is.

I mean, there’s nothing I can do about it and, I know, I should just choose not to think too much about it but it’s frustrating. Ya know? It’s a total drag. I’m not complaining or anything. I try to suffer in silence but it just gets to me, I guess, sometimes.

So I suppose I just wanted to raise awareness.

Listen, be kind out there.

You never know when the person you think is a total wiener is just suffering from the uncontrollable urge to heave a heavy breath of frustration and sink into the stoop-shouldered universal posture of existential weariness in response to you.

Just, like, as a person.

I am the official…um…face…of Exasperated Sigh Face (RDJT).

And we are people too.