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.