The Way Men Look at Us

It happens all the time when I’m teaching, whether I’m tutoring across a table at the library, standing at the front of a crowded classroom, or crouching over to help a student navigate those tricky waters of adding fractions. A male student will suddenly develop a wandering eye. Their eyes will flicker from my face down to my chest, lingering there, then start back up to my face for a while, then back down to my chest. With some students this optical Hokey Pokey only lasts a few minutes, with others it can last the entire 2 or 3 hour session.

You force your gaze up, you let your gaze drop down, you force your gaze up, then you dance it all around…

Age doesn’t seem to be a factor. I teach adults, so the subject could be anywhere between 16 and well beyond old enough to know better. Marital status doesn’t seem to be much of a factor either. The married guys seem just as prone to this behavior as those who are dating or single. I don’t think it’s my outfit. It happens when I’m wearing v-necks or turtlenecks, cotton tees or ruffly blouses. Strangely, even attraction doesn’t seem to be a factor. I might be flattering myself but I think I’m a pretty good judge of such things and only a handful of my students have had “teacher crushes” on me. If anything, those particular gentlemen seemed more fascinated with my face and less drawn to certain other parts of my anatomy.

So why do so many of my male clients have such an issue keeping my gaze? Granted, I’m not a man and can’t speak for the average male but I have a hypothesis. Men look at what they like and men. like. boobs.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Kate, this is not groundbreaking news. We all know that men. like. boobs.” Yeah, granted, this might be common knowledge. But how about the first part of that statement: men look at what they like.

Men look at what they like, ladies. They are naturally drawn to the parts of you that they find attractive. Desirable. Beautiful. That’s where their eyes tend to fall. We’ve all heard the old dude adage, “Did you see the __________ on her?” And it’s not only women that get this kind of attention from the other half of our species. It could be a car that catches his eye or a TV show.

Be honest ladies, how many of you have caught a grown man flexing in front of the mirror and admiring his own rippling (or more often than not, not so rippling) physique? I have. More than once and it wasn’t all the same guy either.

Now let’s compare that to the way women tend to see the world. Our eyes are often drawn to flaws. This is why we can walk into the kitchen he is so proud he just “cleaned” and all we see are the crumbs still sitting on the counter. We see our man dressed up in his best for a date and ask, “Are you going to wear THOSE shoes?”

This quality is perhaps the most pronounced when women are mirror gazing. We stare at that stretch mark, those bumps, those little creeping lines at the corners of our eyes. We can’t take our eyes off the double chin, the thunder thighs, the cankles. We sit and stare at the varicose veins, the too large pores, and the muffin top.

When’s the last time you heard a women say, “Dang, I love the way my butt fills out those jeans?”

I dare you to start counting! How many times in a week do you say or think something positive about your looks? Tally that next to the negative thoughts and comments. What’s your ratio?

Now before you call the P.C. police, let me qualify my statement. All men? All women? Of course not, I’m talking in generalizations here.

Women, we need to take a page out of our men’s books STAT. No, I don’t want us to go around ogling other women’s breasts (that’s still creepy, guys). However, we do need to focus less attention on how big our butts look in those jeans and a lot more attention on our assets.

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Do it. Today. Go stand in front of a mirror for a while. Tear your eyes away from all those flaws you’ve been dissecting since you were old enough to see into the bathroom mirror and make a decision to find your beauty.

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Spend a little time gazing at the curve of your calf, your sparkling eyes, and the spray of freckles across the bridge of your nose. Admire the way your hair falls in soft waves around your face. Fall in love with the curve of your smile. Gaze lovingly at the dip of waist into hip.

I don’t know where your beauty lies, sister, but I know this: you’ve got it. It’s there. Go search it out. Take a little time to appreciate it.

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Let’s start looking at ourselves the way men look at us.

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