Yes - RBF.  I guess everyone knows by now that's short for Resting Bitch Face, the one you're caught with when no one is looking - the real you, at rest, if you're careless enough to be a woman.  Men have it too, an RBF, despite the female inference in the title.  But men aren't faulted for it as women are, not nearly to the same degree. Men are supposed to look serious, if not stern, as if they're thinking Serious Thoughts.  My doctor father used to say the ideal face for a physician was one of empathetic, anxious concern, the look that comes automatically to those who supper from piles.

A few years ago, more than a few, when men still looked at me, I would be urged, even by strangers, to smile, to look happy.  All I was trying to do was board a plane, or wait patiently for a line-up to move, or prepare to submit an order for food .  Smiling was not on my agenda. Smiling is expected of women, who are not supposed to have an agenda, not a private one.  This is a long preamble to what I dallied with today.

I was expecting a friend for lunch, still am, though she's two hours late and I have e-mailed my concern for her well-being. Ten minutes before she was due I was all ready so I sat down to pass some innocuous time until she arrived.  I succumbed to one of  those terrible hooks: See how so-an-so looks now.  It went on forever and I never did see so-an-so. The pictures have a certain appeal to an idle curiosity with some time to fill.  Time went on, however, and I was disgusted with the snide, patronising, not to say critical and insulting copy that accompanied Before and After pictures of various celebrities, many of them original child-stars or very young pin-up girls or dashing hunks.

Too bad, the commentary reads, but age or/and fat have caught up with her (female), or him (male). Lots of food and  not enough exercise, too many drinks and drugs and years and lo! how the youth and beauty have disappeared.  Tsk, tsk (remember that spelling for the sound of reproach for naughty behaviour?)  -  too bad. Yeah, you really sound sorry.

These fake sympathizers can hardly conceal their delight at the bad times that have befallen previous screen idols.  RBF is bad enough but it is compounded by bad habits.  Plastic surgery doesn't help. It makes me happy that I have never been able to afford it.  I'm okay, just as I am, RBF and all. 

And my friend still isn't here. I hope she's all right.