The Time My Teacher Told Me I Had a Bitchface


I’m not the most attractive frog in the pond. I won’t be the only person to tell you that. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my short list of past suitors. (List is so small it’s only visible to amoebas, which don’t have eyes… so they can’t see it either. Womp.)

However, I have a fairly decent personality and a work ethic that will take me far in life if I don’t overdose on cocaine by the time I’m 26 and a half. Above all else, though, I’m pretty good at school. Holy hell, am I good at school. Call it a combination of mild-to-moderate anxiety and just being Asian, but when it comes to listening in class, doing homework, and not ruffling any of my teachers’ feathers, I’m a goddamn pro. That’s why this one spot on my record was particularly scarring.

I was packing up my notebook in AP Government one day, and was heading out to lunch with my friend when my teacher asked me to stay behind. Now, when this has happened in the past, it’s been a good thing. I immediately thought I was being summoned to discuss my in-class debate about the state of our country’s economic system or my provocative twelve-page paper on the efficiency of checks and balances, or– Hahahahaha, actually, teachers scare me and stuff like that never happened.

I approached her desk with care– the complete opposite of how she approached my feelings. I believe the exact conversation was this:

“Do you hate this class? Is it not what you thought it would be?”

“Uh, no. I don’t know.” (I was nervous and put on the spot)

“Then why do you look miserable every day?”

“Uh, I don’t think I do. Maybe it’s just my face?” (I tried to bring a li’l humor into the sitch)

“Well, that’s a problem. You should do something about that.”

“My face?” (Very surprised)

“Yeah. Seriously, you need to do something about that.”

I left the room a broken not-yet-a-woman.

I’ve never failed anything except both semesters of AP Calculus BC, and now I was being told that my face– something I couldn’t change without a lot of money or a sugar daddy– was what I was being judged on. Not for a grade, of course, but for the approval of an elder. Because hey, isn’t that what we all want in life? No? Okay.

From that point on, I made sure to smile and nod and make constant eye contact with said teacher as she was talking. And it hurt. It hurt so much. It felt fake and dirty, like I was in the customer service business and was getting paid to be disingenuous for other peoples’ happiness. Gross. (Co-workers, if you’re reading this, I do not bring this attitude to the team. Please don’t fire me. I need this job to support my children.)

It wasn’t until recently that I decided I didn’t care anymore about the conversation that had once haunted me– all thanks to a little thing called “deadpan comedy.” I’m convinced this beautiful genre was started by a Bitchface-affected lady who was just minding her own business, working at a candy factory when she was approached by a customer saying, “Does this contain peanuts? My son’s allergic,” The worker, understandably, replied with, “No one cares about your fucking kid.” Someone inevitably got it on camera, and it circulated around the globe, becoming somewhat of a phenomenon. (By the way, the candy did have peanuts and the kid went into anaphylactic shock, but he was saved by a magic tiger shark.)

This almost-artform has allowed me to keep my face the way it is, keep my energy low, and just say whatever I feel to whomever I want. Through some magic algorithm, the elements combine and people sometimes find it funny… if they don’t find it terribly offensive. (I’m looking at you, mom!) ‘Tis a sweet life.

To this imaginary candy woman in my head, I’d like to say “thank you.” Because of you, we Bitchfaces have a purpose in life other than scaring children. You have helped me accept myself, my flaws, and my calling.

Also, thank you, teacher, for scaring the shit out of me and making me probably-more-attractive to the general public during the semester I ridded my face of its natural scowl. Props 2 U.

Bitchfaces unite.

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