I receive the title question probably once a month from an acquaintance, even more so when I’ve gone through a particularly introduction-heavy period (college orientation, new job, etcetera). I fancy myself as an overall nice person to most people, so this bums be out quite a bit.
Whenever I begin a friendship with new people, particularly women, there’s that initial period where you try to gauge their thoughts and feelings on everything so you can ensure as little offending possible (or maybe that’s just me and my paranoia), so I just assume we had hit it off from the beginning. But then, after a few hangouts–less if this is at a party and we’re both drunk–they will invariably turn to me, take an inhale of a cigarette or a sip of a drink, raise the eyebrows and say, “You know, I thought you were going to be a total bitch before I met you!”
Oh, okay. Uh, how does one even respond to that? “Oh, thanks for the thought but nope! Just your garden variety lame not mean person!” Usually, I just change the topic as quickly as possible but on occasion, I have asked (often later on in the friendship) about it because I’m curious about what exactly makes me so bitchtastic. I think I’m entitled to know if I radiate “bitch,” right?
Wrong–well, at least at first. Most people, upon first questioning, have told me that they were, uh, joking and that I don’t seem like anything negative and they’re sorry they brought it up. I let it go until we’ve had a few more beers, at which point I’ll ask the question again to a slightly more receptive audience.
So what exactly makes a person come off as a “bitch” when you first meet her? Is it a facial expression? A mannerism? A perfume? Does “bitch” have a scent?
According to some I questioned further, it is the way I hold myself and my voice. Others have said it was that they had seen me get heated in discussions during class. One said it was because I scolded a guy on set; sure, he had just made six consecutive transphobic jokes, in front of an actress whose father was transgender no less, then proceeded to make a rape joke, but I was the wet blanket bitch of the matter.