You’re never fully dressed without a smile.

This morning I was shopping for random things like Vitamin D pills, toothpaste, compost bags, 12 boxes of tissues, and socks for the boys. I had quite a cartful of items and after I finished unloading them I noticed the woman in front of me, who was purchasing only three things: two bottles of Midol and a giant bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs. I wished I could take a photo; it was quite a powerful still-life image.

I was flipping through a magazine and I came across one of those weight-loss advertisements, and it really struck me – not for the first time – that those kind of photos are not a true representation of what a person really looks like. In any kind of weight-loss or makeover advertisement, the “before” photo almost always shows a slumped-over, unsmiling person wearing unflattering clothing; in the “after” photo the person has makeup on, a wind machine blowing her hair, and some gorgeous outfit that not only shows off the newly svelte figure, in the case of weight-loss, but is also a flattering cut and colour. This isn’t a news flash, of course, but it does make one think about how one presents oneself to the world.

I am fairly confident that I would not be described, by most people at least, as a bitch. I make exceptions for ex-boyfriends and that ex-friend who ended up ending our friendship over an ex-boyfriend who she then married. But I don’t waste time thinking about those people’s opinions; generally I would say I am a non-bitchy personality, even when I’m the one in need of two bottles of Midol and a giant bag of Cadbury mini-eggs. I do, however, suffer from Bitchy Resting Face Syndrome.

Don’t believe me? That’s because nearly every picture of me in existence is one in which I’m smiling. If I know there’s a camera in the vicinity, I will consciously smile a lot because of BRFS; on the off chance that there’s a non-smiling photo of me, I will delete it if it is in my power to do so. And you know what, smiling is a good thing. People smile at you if you’re smiling. After all, we don’t walk around with the desire to look like our passport photos, do we? At least I don’t. My passport photo is hideous, although it’s not totally the fault of my Bitchy Resting Face. I was also having a Bad Hair Day that day.

Want to see a dramatic makeover? Here is a photo of me that I took Saturday morning, before I even washed my face or brushed my hair, wearing my grey fleece pajamas:


WHO’S THE FAIREST ONE OF ALL. I know, right? I look like I’m 100 years old and haven’t slept in weeks, and I had just woken up from eight and a half hours sleep. Look away, I’m hideous.


This is the difference that a smile (and makeup and hair styling) can make. Now add sunglasses to hide the wrinkles and bright lighting to wash away the forehead lines:


  So there you have it. My beauty advice for the day. Smile. And add a little lipstick, because you never know who you might meet.

Copy (1) of Jim Cuddy

Shamelessly gratuitous shot of that one time I met Jim Cuddy.



  1. I look exactly the same after even more sleep, so you are not alone.

  2. I actually caught my reflection in the window of a car as I was walking into the store today. I wasn’t smiling but neither was I in a bad mood – my face was simply resting. And yikes! I looked almost mean. I’ll have to make the effort to wander around semi-smiling from now on.

  3. I have BRF and it was super-comforting to understand that others have the same problem. I always look mad. Unfortunately when I’m out grocery shopping if I try the little half-smile I get swarmed by the elderly. I CANNOT WIN, NICOLE.

  4. ME TOO ME TOO. I only worry that, with my considerable cheek factor, if I try to counteract BRFS I might end up looking like a deranged Disney chipmunk. It’s a dilemma.
    And yes, you are about a hundred and eighty complete polar opposite degrees of bitchy. That probably doesn’t even make geometrical sense, but you know what I mean.

  5. Denise Blais says

    I don’t wear any make up at all, but we are all more beautiful with a smile. I love your blog

  6. I was just wondering the other day while looking in the mirror after a full night’s sleep just how many nights of 9 hours sleep would I have to get before the bags under my eyes that appeared the day we brought Oldest home from the hospital in 2003 would go away. I fear they are now permanently part of my countenance and contribute to my combination BRF (bitchy and beat resting face).

  7. You are gorgeous. That is all.

    I have a theory. If the person taking your picture loves you, you will look happier and lovelier. I really believe this!

    I also think low light and eating an ice cream cone as big as your head just prior to the photo shoot helps! 😀

    (I don’t say these things without evidence.. you are just going to have to trust me, for now.)

    JIM CUDDY!!! *faints*

    Great post!

  8. I couldn’t agree more! Also agree with the idea of trying to smile slightly all the time so you don’t have BRF or seem crazy.

    OF course, if I’m by myself, I’m also probably talking to myself, so I already look crazy.


  1. […] it would be a ninety minute wait. I put on my half-smile so as not to frighten said man with my bitchy resting face, and asked in the sweetest voice possible, with my eyes wide and fluttery, if he knew how much […]

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