“Adulting is so much fun,” said no one, ever.
When I was just a little girl, I felt that one of my biggest accomplishments was finally reaching the age where I’d finally get to travel to school on my own. Now, my elementary school was only three blocks away from home (shout out to my PS28 grads!), but I didn’t get to go to school on my own until I reached Middle School at the age of 11 or so.
My middle school was only about 6 blocks away this time. I could walk or take the bus if I was feeling lazy. But who doesn’t want to take a walk and pretend they’re a grown up at the age of 11?
Now, being that we live in this mean old city, and my mother coming from a very tiny town in the Dominican Republic, I was forced to practice RBF… seriously, figure out the acronym yourself. In her mind, RBF made me look meaner or like I could possibly defend myself.
Unfortunately, after years of this consistent expression, my RBF stuck. I am forever permanently marked with it. In college, one day as I was walking down the Campus Center, a girl walking my opposite direction looked at me and said, “You never smile.” “I’m from New York,” I replied.
My biggest question in life thus far has been if RBF does indeed scare potential threats away and my theory so far has been that it does.
Anyways, fast forward to now… yes, I still have RBF. I’ve come to accept it. It’s no longer an expression or defense mechanism, it’s just my face.
I also avoid Times Square AT ALL costs. I recently had to just do it, I had to go to Times Square and walk, and bump into people, and have people bump into me and try to ignore people trying to sell me corny late night comedy show tickets, all that jazz and you best believe, my RBF was purposefully put on a thousand.
With my RBF on a thousand, my air pods on & my little legs moving at 2 miles per hour (because even if you wanted to, you couldn’t move any faster. Not in Times Square, at least), it’s safe to say that I did not want to be spoken to that day. This is what RBF literally means, it’s a facial expression that says DO NOT TALK TO ME. Just like that, in big bold letters, on my forehead.
Being said all of that, why do people still try to talk to me? I mean, us New Yorkers are known for wanting to get from Point A to Point B uninterruptedly. We’re hustlers, our minds move a million miles per hour. In fact, it’s mad creepy if you smile at someone while crossing the street.
This brings me to another potential answer to my question…
I’ve come to the conclusion that tourists wear RBF repellant because my forehead reads PLEASE TALK TO ME to them.