What She Thinks About When You Leer

There was this guy whose head-swiveling abilities rivaled those of the girl from The Exorcist. It was a challenge to have meals with him in public spaces because he was unable to focus on me and my gorgeous face and the gorgeous words that would fall out of it, if there was any other female nearby. It could be our waitress, it could be the street lady selling electronic roses for $2 a piece, it could be a female orangutan that just happened to walk by.

It didn’t worry me that much – I decided that it was just a sign that my guy was healthily heterosexual. He appreciated my gender. Incidentally, he confessed a former girlfriend of his always made a big deal out of his Exorcist head, and it was refreshing to be with someone who didn’t. So I didn’t.

When it started to annoy me, I decided to join the forces rather than go to war. I came up with a game – a game that would sharpen his focus and curb the swiveling. It meant looking in only one direction and in order to play it we would have to sit by the window. The game was: Let’s rate people who walk by on the scale of one to 10. The fun part about it was that we got to rate both men and women, and as result got to know each other’s tastes better. I found out that my guy was way more generous with his ratings when it came to other women, giving hearty eights and nines to my sixes and sevens. And it was exactly reverse when it came to men. (Is this a nice game to play? No. But we all play it in one way or another, so get over it.)

It was that game that finally allowed me to bring up some of my insecurities about his constant checking out of other women.  I explained that it made me feel disrespected, uninteresting. He said that he felt trapped by being told what not to look at, by being told to ignore the beauty around him (and the occasional orangutan).

I told him and I’m telling you that we, women, understand that your looking is not personal. You were designed this way. We get it. Or try to get it. But look back at us occasionally to see if we’re still as drop-dead as we were when you first saw us that evening, and tell us at least once or twice that we are. Keep looking at us the next time a pair of boobs floats by. You can do it. As reward you might be able to touch ours later on that night.

Image courtesy of UW Digital Collections


7 thoughts on “What She Thinks About When You Leer”

  1. Dear Jowita, 

    Thanks for this article. Being a flaming hetero and definitely your average  visually driven  man, I have long felt it behooved me to NEVER leer at other women while with a woman, even though the self control  sometimes  made my neck feel like concrete after awhile. There are always plenty of opportunities to ogle  while solo, and respect, creating an emotionally safe  place,  or more accurately  being an emotionally safe place for the woman  in my life  makes for a happier, more emotionally safe  relationship for me.

  2. So wait let me get this straight —– I pay for dinner and drinks and your going to complain about me checking out the waitress once in awhile?

  3. I liked your article, and I have seen this topic addressed elsewhere, but it would be interesting to hear how men feel or what their reactions are when their lady is looking at men walking by.  We only hear about men looking or appreciating other women, but not the other way, where women are doing the appreciating. Women look too 🙂

  4. this was really well written, i was especially moved by the part where you said i could touch your boobs. i think when abraham lincoln (who i wish was my father) addressed the huddled masses at Gettysburg…i forgot what i was talking about. i’m sorry, sometimes this happens. have you ever written something so long and intimate that it just became awkward, but for some reason you couldn’t stop? sometimes i do that with people’s birthday cards. it’s embarrassing. i wish i was dead.

  5. Be wise and see without looking, notice, digest, remember, but don’t show you notice. And if you’re at dinner, and there’s ‘ogling’ – find someone who will pay you the the attention you deserve – or someone who does it more discretely. 

  6. Well, first of all your article is completely incorrect. Any guy who has the need to turn away and look at another female while in your company definitely means short lived. Either you have let your beauty be your excuse or your oblivious to what a guy’s wandering eyes really means.

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