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Gapes Of Wrath

My wife of six months is the love of my life, and everything I want in a woman. We’ve been together two years, and have a 6-month-old son. The problem is, and always has been, my looking at other women. I don’t usually realize I’m doing it, but my wife catches me, and is now just waiting to catch me. Honestly, when I look at them, I don't have any sort of intentions, it’s just something I do. Yet, my wife is now threatening divorce because she believes it means I don’t love her. I realize I’m doing something horrible, and I’ve mostly quit, which takes a lot of conscious effort, and that’s what’s worrying me. Is something wrong with me? Should I get professional help?

--Wandering Eyes

You’re only looking at women, not chasing them down telling them you’ll meet them behind the bowling alley…just as soon as you can park your stroller-bound son with somebody you trust; say, that guy lying in the doorway with the sign, “Will baby-sit for gin.”

Okay, so, if you’re with your wife, and your head swivels around like that girl’s in “The Exorcist,” you have, let’s say, a few manners issues. Think about how you’d feel if your wife were always walking down the street with a cartoon dotted line from her eyes to every passing guy’s package: “Woohoo! There’s a big’un!” But, as for the idea that you need “professional help” because your eyes are drawn to beautiful women -- that’s kind of like running off to a shrink all worried that you keep wanting to eat lunch.

The truth is, after millions of years of evolution, the impulse to ogle comes factory standard in men. At the recent Human Behavior & Evolution Society conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, I cornered Dr. David Buss, and asked him about your question. Buss told me that when men ogle women the reward centers of their brain light up. “So, it’s just inherently pleasurable for men to look” (kind of like taking a bong hit of hottie). Your wife, on the other hand, wouldn’t get the same buzz from eyeballing hot men, because, Buss explained, there aren’t corresponding reward centers that light up in women. And, he said, contrary to your wife’s fears, your inclination to eye-grope doesn’t mean you don’t love her. Buss’ book The Evolution of Desire, which details how standards for female beauty are actually cues to women’s reproductive fitness, may help both you and your wife understand your look-a-rrhea for what it is -- an evolutionary knee-jerk reaction.

Now, it’s one thing for your wife to expect you to be faithful to her, but visually faithful? What are you supposed to do, say, “Oh, no! Scarlett Johansson’s coming down the street, better hide”? Your real problem is your wife’s real problem: She’s irrational and insecure. That isn’t something you can change, but you can tell her you love her very much, and think she’s hot, and show her, too. If your eyes regularly bug out for her, maybe she’ll be less bugged if she occasionally catches them wandering down some other girl’s cleavage. And stop being such a wimp. Tell her, “Look, we have a kid, and we’re going to have a marriage, and not one that revolves around you looking to see if I’m looking.” And, remember, all men look. The smart, kind ones look without getting caught. Some do this with practice, some wear wraparounds, and some develop an affinity for tiny portions of Jell-O with a side of chickpeas -- whatever it takes to keep going back to the salad bar for another helping of bazooms.

Posted by aalkon at July 4, 2007 12:29 PM

Comments

I can't help but wonder if part of the problem that Wandering Eyes' wife has is that since she just had a baby six months ago, her body hasn't regained its pre-pregnancy shape and that's at least where part of her insecurity stems from. It seems from what he's saying that her problem with his looking at other women has intensified since their baby was born. She might not be feeling overly sexy at the moment, particularly if she feels that her husband's eyes are sexualizing other women and not her. I think your suggestion for him to show her that she is sexy to him is great.

I agree with you that the staring at women thing must be hard-wired in men. I'm a small woman with naturally very large breasts, and no matter what I wear, I get stares and upon occasion whistles and things shouted at me. I have to admit, though, that it does get irritating when nearly every man who passes me on the street or in a car just stares at my chest. The ones that are driving past me and looking at me scare me a bit; I always want to say to them, "Look at the road, not me!"

Posted by: Beatrice at July 4, 2007 3:33 PM

I wanted to add, Amy, that I've been reading your column for a long time now, and I always enjoy reading what you have to say. You're a great writer too. :)

Posted by: Beatrice at July 4, 2007 3:35 PM

woman: "My eyes are up here."
me: "yes, but your boobs are down there."

Posted by: brian at July 4, 2007 3:59 PM

Thank you so much, Beatrice.

P.S. Just wondering...where do you read me (in which paper)?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 4, 2007 5:50 PM

Hi Amy,

I read your column here online; I just moved to where I currently live, Calgary, so I haven't yet had the chance to see if any of the papers here carry your column. (I think they should if they don't.) It's a highlight for me on Wednesdays when I see in my RSS feed that there is a new Advice Goddess column. :)

Posted by: Beatrice at July 4, 2007 10:03 PM

Yeah, it's difficult. Like Amy says, it's hard-wired. Men simply get pleasure from looking at women; and pleasure is the built-in signal that says "do that again, do it more." Nonetheless you have to keep yourself under some control, because it's upsetting to your wife. Overt ogling is not acceptable, except perhaps in lap-dancing establishments where women are paid to be ogled.

I wonder how your wife behaves when she meets other mothers and their babies. Does she coo and cluck over them? I thnk that's the female equivalent. It doesn't mean she's going to foster them all or abandon her own child. Men like to look at babes, women like to look at babies.

No, you don't need professional help, but you do need to talk about this with your wife. I suggest you do this over a meal with friends. Make sure you have company, not just the two of you. People are more willing to speak out if they are sure there won't be a scene, and we are more more willing to listen to our spouse if our friends are willing to listen too. Plus they may have some interesting contributions to make.

Women not only don't ogle men, they avoid eye contact entirely. You can see this when you walk down the street. It's interesting to try this, as a man, to women. When I do it, I feel as if I am dismissing the other person entirely out of existence. It induces a slight and unpleasant sense of power, as if I was saying "You are of no interest to me; you are less than nothing." Any women care to comment?

Posted by: Norman at July 5, 2007 3:45 AM

Thanks, Beatrice...you might request it from the features editor of your local daily or the editor of the local alt weekly. I don't run in Calgary, but I do do a "special for Canada" version of my column (if ever anything is too U.S.A. in content!)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 5, 2007 6:57 AM

There is a point where ogling becomes rude and disrespectful - if the guy is being blatantly obvious and indiscreet, swiveling his head in a complete 180, or making comments about the women he sees. Then he's just an asshole who is doing these things on purpose, to try and make his partner feel insecure and jealous. Back when I was in my 20's I dumped a guy who tried to pull that manipulative crap on me, the little jerk.

However, of course it is natural for men to notice beautiful women - it's not "something horrible." (It's also natural for women to notice beautiful women, and hey you can either be jealous of them, or figure out what they are doing right and take notes.)

This guy's wife sounds like a real nutbag, though. She is "just waiting to catch him?" Threatening to file for divorce? Interesting that they have been married for six months - the same age as his son. There is a whole set of circumstances going on beneath the surface here. She is clearly a psycho, but this wimp thinks she is the love of his life anyway. WHY??? She sounds like a control freak who probably got knocked up on purpose, and now that she has trapped him, she is going to browbeat him until his testicles shrivel up and disappear.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at July 5, 2007 7:47 AM

Hi Amy,

I'll gladly suggest to some of the papers here that they ought to run your column. I get a lot of entertainment and in fact learn a lot about why people behave the way they do from your advice.

For Norman,

I wanted to address your question about why women avoid eye contact with men they pass on the street. I can only speak from my own experience and sensibilities, of course, and I'd be curious to know what other women have to say on this topic.

My decision to avoid eye contact with men I don't know isn't about me trying to tell whoever's gaze I'm avoiding that he is less than nothing. It's a self-protection mechanism, particularly since I have some problems with social anxiety and agoraphobia, and I'm also happily married and not looking for other men. If I look back at a strange man when he's looking at me, I worry how my gaze will be interpreted by him and if he will then try to hit on me or make a remark to me about my body or something else. I've also had some odd experiences with men trying to talk to me or corner me in public, and I know that most men are not like that, but it's that small minority that are who concern me.

Posted by: Beatrice at July 5, 2007 8:39 AM

Norman-

Like Beatrice, I can only speak for myself, but when I'm avoiding eye contact with a man on the street I'm not trying to be insulting, I'm trying to get to where I'm going without being stopped and chatted up. I wear headphones for the same reason.

Also, I live in Oakland and tend to be somewhat of a thug magnet. Some of them are cool, but I've also been followed for blocks by random guys spinning game. Some of them get nasty. I can't tell which kind of guy I'm coming across, so, if I'm in a hury, I avoid them.

Amy-

I totally ogle men. And women. Discreetly. Usually behind dark sunglasses. I can't help it. I like looking at attractive people.

Posted by: meshaliu at July 5, 2007 8:54 AM

Beatrice, Meshaliu -

Your response is roughly what I expected - women avoid eye contact to stay out of trouble. The other side of this coin is that you can invite trouble when you want it just by looking at your target. You're just magnets for men! In the nicest possible way.

I wonder if the feelings it engenders in me are typical, or if I'm just weird. Men out there: try this and report back please.

Posted by: Norman at July 5, 2007 10:13 AM

First time reader here. This is a very interesting topic. I too am faced with the same problem as the orginator of this topic. I being men have a tendancy to notice other women i'm not an ogle addict. This has just been in my nature for many years growing up in a house with only women. And for many of my younger years i was always around women. From functions with my Mother to shopping with my mother. So its just something that is natural too me. Now i know that in most cases my g/f is not to happy if she see's me looking. I try not to be obvious. And i agree with amy when she said that she enjoys looking at attractive people. Becuase you know i even find myself looking at guys. I'm not the G word. My g/f is very insecure with her looks and i always compliment on her looks. She is very attractive. But she wouldn't believe it. So when i'm out and about town. And i notice a pretty woman. The first think i notice is not thats she pretty but what is she wearing and would that outfit look awsome on my g/f. Several times i noticed womens outfits and i've gon eright out and purchased the same outfit for my g/f. But than i'll get " what are you trying to say, don't i look good in what i'm wearing?" or I'm too fat for this. And its fun, most of the women i'f noticed are bigger women that are dressed to the 9's. Sharp. So i figure if they have the confidance to look that good, than my girls got nothing to worry about. She will be a 10.
Sorry to ramble but i understand that stress.
Thanks

Posted by: Devin at July 5, 2007 11:20 AM

If women had a more biologically-based (ie, science-based) understanding of men, they'd probably have less of a hard time with this.

P.S. Women are more driven to look at pictures of women than pictures of men...which is why smart advertising agencies do not put pictures of men in ads in women's magazines, unless the the man in the ad is interacting with a woman who's the primary figure in the ad.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 5, 2007 12:01 PM

Norman, I think I remember reading a long time ago that women are actually the first to initiate contact with men by making eye contact until they are approached.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at July 5, 2007 12:30 PM

Devin-

Welcome aboard!

I'd get tired of that treatment from a girlfriend pretty quick. I think Amy will tell you that a low esteem girlfriend who can only live through her boyfriend is a lot of trouble. The good news is that people can improve their self esteem. Again, Amy's the person to ask for advice!

Posted by: Norman at July 5, 2007 12:36 PM

PJ-

I've wondered along these lines, whether men trying to chat up women is a waste of time. A better strategy for men may be to concentrate on doing whatever else you're interested in, football or painting or whatever, until a woman indicates that she's interested in you. By this method, the man wastes less time pursuing and being rejected, annoys fewer women with unwanted advances, achieves more in other avenues, and advertises his best features as an interesting person in his own right.

What do you say, women? Would you be more interested in a man who was hitting on you, or one who was telling you about the model Eiffel Tower he was building in his back yard?

Posted by: Norman at July 5, 2007 12:46 PM

Devin's girlfriend sounds like a royal pain in the kazoo, I agree Norman. I'm pretty sure that when a man buys me a new outfit I don't respond by nagging him about having ulterior motives. I would start off with a sincere "thank you" and go from there. She is trying a little too hard to fish around for compliments, but in a manipulative, passive-aggressive way. I think I'd like to take Devin along next time I go shopping.

On the Eiffel Tower question, I like it when I meet a guy who is simply friendly and interesting, who talks to me like a friend and doesn't immediately give off the vibe that he is hitting on me. If I'm attracted to him, I'll find a way to let him know. If not, I'll still like him and probably introduce him to some of my friends.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at July 5, 2007 1:37 PM

Norman-

My avoidance of eye contact is not instinctive, it's learned. If the majority of my interactions with guys walking down the street weren't annoying, if not down-right negative, I wouldn't be doing it. I didn't used to do it. Besides, I'm not a "magnet for men". I attract gold tooth wearing, three babies-mama's having, no respect for women THUGS. I *wish* I attracted more men that didn't have their pants haning halfway off their asses.

Pirate Jo-

I agree entirely. There's nothing wrong with coming up to a woman and being friendly. Why's the first thing out of a guy's mouth always "how old are you" or "are you single". What's wrong with "Hi, I'm So and So. What's your name?" Then again, that might just be the thug thing.

Posted by: meshaliu at July 5, 2007 1:52 PM

Norman,

I met one of my best friends, who is a straight man, because we started chatting when I worked at a bookstore and he told me about his passion for photography. I was attracted to the man who is now my husband as I learned about his passion for politics and communications and other things. I did think my husband was handsome when I met him -- and still do :) -- but that on its own wouldn't have been enough to pursue anything with him if I hadn't been intellectually interested in him as well. I found what both my friend and my husband had to say for themselves to be interesting, and that made them interesting to me. But that's just me; I'm sure you'd get as many answers to that question as there are women in the world. :)

Posted by: Beatrice at July 5, 2007 2:45 PM

Meshaliu, you just cracked me totally up! I know exactly what you are talking about. A few of that type hangs out near a downtown bus stop I have to walk past in the mornings. Ever notice how determined they can be to get in your face and how OUTRAGED they are when you look annoyed and ignore them? They have just as much of a misplaced sense of entitlement when it comes to the attention of women as they have for the welfare check they are probably getting. They don't bother me very often, but I certainly do not make eye contact with them. And when one of them says something smartassed, I wish I could kick some thug butt, like Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill movies. Alas, my only wicked martial arts move is the "fleeing pussy," as I walk faster and head for the office building ...

Posted by: Pirate Jo at July 5, 2007 3:26 PM

It seems to me that this fellow should be more respectful and caring toward his wife and not be obviously looking at women. Who looks at other women when they are out with their wife or girlfriend-- ? I can see registering a glance-- but its not an involuntary thing to stare or swivel the head... Its not quite the same , but what if she pointed to "Ralph" and said " I hear Ralph makes twice the money you do" and "Joe over there has done so well he is able to afford a much nicer house than we can "... Women assume you find the other woman more attractive than her -- or why would you look. Men just like looking at attractive women and nothing more. But if it makes his wife/girlfriend uncomfortable, I suspect he is gawking... If she is "the love of my life" and "everthing I want in a woman" but a bit sensitive-- stop looking.

Posted by: jedwards at July 5, 2007 3:39 PM

The question seems to be how obvious he's making it. If he's right, and his wife really is looking to catch him, then the poor dude won't be able to order dinner from a waitress without provoking his wife's wrath.

I won't go so far as to call her a psycho, since I don't have all the info, but she does seem flaky if she's willing to end a 6-month-old marriage (and a relationship that produced a child) because her husband likes to look at pretty girls.

Posted by: Monica at July 5, 2007 6:22 PM

I don't have a problem with my BF looking at other women, as long as that's all he's doing. It's one thing to just look; I look at hot guys all the time. I'm not obtuse about it, and he's not all gawky when he looks at other women. You wouldn't be human if you didn't look!
The LW's wife may not be a psycho, but a little low in the self-esteem department. It took a while for me to learn, but it finally got through to me that jealoust is a manifestation of your own insecurities.

Posted by: Flynne at July 6, 2007 7:19 AM

ooops! that should be jealousY!

Posted by: Flynne at July 6, 2007 7:20 AM

Could this woman be suffering from post-partum depression? Hormones all out of whack? Maybe she should get checked out by her doctor. Or may she's just a psycho-bitch, but it's better to rule out the possible medical problem first.

I've had similar experiences making eye contact with thugs. The most recent one was last week, when I mistakenly glanced at a low-ridin'-pants dude. He immediately ask me for money because he said he had been robbed, and then when I walked away quickly, averting my gaze, he said "You bitch, I hope you get raped." I've been the target of this kind of hostility before, so this may explain to you, norman, why women don't make eye contact.

I mostly get hit on by homeless guys, next by old married guys, who usually stare quite obviously, with their wives walking right beside them. I've been experimenting with staring at good looking single guys to see if they will approach, but they get all shy and don't. Oh well...

Posted by: Chrissy at July 6, 2007 7:23 AM

Oh my god. I'm not even going to comment on the actual letter - I'm horrified over the stories y'all are telling about people treating you that way? Where do you live?

:shakes head: I guess I'm glad to just be a Southern girl who lives in the country. I can't even imagine what y'all go through.

Posted by: Anne at July 6, 2007 8:38 AM

Yeah, it's a bit of an eye-opener.

Posted by: Norman at July 6, 2007 9:01 AM

Hrm. Usually if a woman makes first eye contact with a smile that means she's at least interested in what she's seeing.

As a guy, you respond back with an appropriate smile rather than a Wile E Coyote eye bug, it may go further. That's up to both of you. Your typical mating dance.

So I totally agree with no eye contact self defense measure. Still, in Oakland with thugs, I'd warn NOT to wear headphones too. You wont hear people come up to mug you!

It's possible the wife of the original poster has some post-partum depression and insecurity issues. Still, as much as I watch beautiful women going by, I dont eye bug out or make it obvious. That's just rude. The Husband may just be overdoing it.

Actually for hints on how best to do the eye dance, watch babies! They draw women for a reason.

(a digression)...

I read this WebMD article indicating "whacko" women and "whacko" women with post-partum depression have abnormal high levels of copper in the brain. (Brain chemistry is slow balancing, therefore getting rid of copper in brain is a slow process).

My theory about the increase of incidence of "whacko" women and even more whacko post-partum depression women goes back to the Pill. Some Pills increase copper absorption, you get off, get pregnant and more copper is absorbed. (Pregnancy spikes brain copper too) Since it can take a couple of years to reduce brain copper, no wonder there are more "whacko" women and more incidences of post-partum depression. Someone should do a study on THAT.

Zinc balances copper. So take more Zinc.

Posted by: Michael at July 6, 2007 11:06 AM

As to where I live, it's in a big city. I think the thug was on redneck cocaine or something, hence the comment. I have developed lots of different types of radar, so avoiding the crazies isn't that hard. (types of radar include gaydar, craydar (for the crazies), married-dar, etc.)

I am quite open and friendly to any guy who looks at me that seems friendly (and not homeless or with his wife), so can do the eye contact mating dance.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 6, 2007 3:06 PM

I'm the only woman in an office full of men, in a building of 25,000 that is 90% men, so I've had a fairly unique observation experience. I've discovered that the range of "checking out" includes the following:
Level 1
-brief glance
-brief glance followed by a second glance
-awkward pause in conversation as I walk by
Level 2
-full on head turn, possibly including upper body turn
-any kind of greeting if I haven't seen it extended to the five guys walking ahead of me (or to the two or three guys walking beside me)
Level 3
-Compliments
-Cheesy conversation and/or jokes

Nothing in this gentlemen's letter indicates that he is giving himself whiplash in some frantic effort to check out every woman that walks by, and I have witnessed so many women launch at their SOs for even the briefest glance. I cannot emphasize enough to the ladies how involuntary at least the glance or double glance is.

Now, if any attached guy is doing more than Level 1 checking out, that's a foul. For any unattached dude, all I can do is echo the advice of other ladies on this post: please, please, please wait for cues from us before you start spittin game. It makes the day more pleasant for everyone involved.

Posted by: M at July 7, 2007 3:41 AM

Two pronged with an aside:
First: If you're old enough and mature enough to be married, you should be capable of not getting caught. Every boyfriend I've ever had has heard that speech. "I know you'll look, and you know you'll look, but I consider it an insult if you do it blatantly enough that I can tell."
Second: For Norman: I have two reasons for avoiding eye contact. The first is the standard (I attract crazies). The second is that I tend to stare off into the distance while thinking, and I've gotten into some unpleasant conversations when someone walked into the previously empty space I'd been staring into. That's less of a power or flirting thing, and more of a situation where staring angrily into the stratosphere makes people nervous and fidgety.

Aside: You can tell, even if he hadn't mentioned it, that he has a son. Once there's a daughter, most loving fathers freak themselves out just a wee bit with that special train of thought. "Somebody is going to look at her the way I just checked out that chick... oh crap."

Posted by: Steph at July 7, 2007 1:54 PM

My problem is I look at everybody, but my now ex-wife only noticed when I was looking at women. Just one of a long list she had of things she didn't like about me.

Posted by: jon at July 7, 2007 4:17 PM

Hey, Jon -- sounds like you're better off without her. Living with your best friend can be better than living alone, but living with your biggest critic isn't even a distant third.

Posted by: Lyn at July 8, 2007 2:01 PM

Ok, so here's an interesting bit from the other side. I have *never* caught my guy looking at other girls. And like the LW's wife, I've tried to catch him. (Not to punish him, just because it weirds me out that he - a heterosexual american male - doesn't seem to do it). I look good, but I don't look *that* good.
Either he's been very well trained by his previous girlfriend's or he's from neptune (or he's discreet beyond all human belief, which goes back to the E.T. thing). Any guys out there with an explanation?

Posted by: Elle at July 8, 2007 3:50 PM

No explanation, Elle ... just wanted to say I hate it when women describe a man as "well trained" - especially as a response to his doing some housework. I know it's meant well, but it's demeaning and insulting, as if the man would crap in the corner if not for being "trained" by the woman.

Posted by: Norman at July 9, 2007 6:20 AM

themselves in my pants, unauthorized.

P.S. "Whacko" wIt's hard to say from reading the guy's question how much fault really lies with whom. There is pretty much no way that they don't share the blame for this problem, and pretty much no likelihood that this is the "real" issue.

Hmmm. Why do I avoid eye contact with guys like Nomrman. Simple. Because ogling, googly-eyed gawking geeks are SCARY. They make my life unpleasant. So I DO pretend they don't exist, because I wish they didn't! I wish I could walk down a street, through the mall, whatever, without feeling like a bunch of skeezebag losers are imagining themselves in my pants, unauthorized.

P.S. "Whacko" women? PUHLEEZE and thank you, Dr. Tom Cruise. I'm going to stick to reading Amy only, because some of you posters are downright idiotic.

Posted by: Wendy B at July 9, 2007 12:04 PM

"well trained" is just a phrase that can be construed as derogatory as any other phrase each sex refers to the other. In the end as with the original post, it all boils down to respect for the one you call the significant other.

I like the "levels of engagement" M. Kinda funny. I agree in principle. Though everyone has their own levels of comfort.

Elle, well I'd not sell yourself out too short. You may very well be the most attractive woman in the room most, if not all the time, to your guy. Take it at that. As Amy posts about her guy, so long as it's enjoyable and beneficial to both, you stay and continue enjoying. Once it ceases, you split.

As an idiotic poster, I have the right to comment in the comment section for anything I please just like Wendy B. And if necessary, Amy as the owner has the right to delete/modify/mediate as well.

Posted by: Michael at July 9, 2007 1:23 PM

Norman, Michael,

Big oops and apologies to both of you. I should be more clear about what I meant when I said 'well-trained.' I meant 'scared out of normal human behavior by girls using psychological warfare' (I don't think guys need to be 'trained.' 'Civilized' on occasion, but not 'trained' :P ). I don't use the phrase 'well-trained' with the intention of positive connotations. I've seen what some girls can do to a guy and I don't approve of the 'scorched earth' policy towards relationships.

Believe me, I'm not driving myself (and more importantly, *him*) nutso over the issue. He's an awesome guy and I'm not going to let something that teeny even become an issue. Every now and then it just strikes me as odd.

Posted by: Elle at July 9, 2007 9:23 PM

Elle - scared out of normal human behavior by girls using psychological warfare

Wow. I'm glad you explained, because that wasn't what I thought you meant! Hee hee.

Posted by: Norman at July 10, 2007 7:40 AM

"...(men)please wait for cues from us(women) before you start spittin game."

I find it sad that this directive drew no objection from anyone. I was probably raised with too many good manners for my own good so I've never been one to go around "spittin' game" at all but if I'd waited for women to take the initiative I'd have had a much different social life.
I think the big mistake so many men make when they try to strike up a conversation with an attractive woman is being oblivious to the fact that she already gets lots of attention. IMO, attractive women like being appreciated but they get tired of guys bringing that weak shit instead of something that actually piques their interest and makes them laugh.
I don't think there are many men who sit around waiting for women to give them cues. For one thing, men are notorious for missing most of the cues that women seize on instantly (like glancing at other women for example.)

Posted by: non-poo-flinging martin at July 10, 2007 8:24 AM

"the big mistake so many men make when they try to strike up a conversation with an attractive woman is being oblivious to the fact that she already gets lots of attention"

Women know that if a guy starts talking to them, it's because he wants to have sex with her. Guys should just try starting a normal conversation about something she might find interesting.

I think what annoys women is that guys think they are being subtle, or that no-one else has ever told you that you are attractive. The expected outcome of giving the compliment will NOT be the woman becoming putty in your hands.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 10, 2007 12:46 PM

No offense taken Elle. I've been called "well trained" and "not so well trained" by two different women at the same time in the same room within earshot of each other. I was only making the point words have the meaning you choose it to interpret it as.

It's good to enjoy the "odd" of your guy. Makes life interesting.

As an involved man, I do see both sides of the issue. Men gotta take risks to get the girl. The girl needs to wade through the crap to get to the right guy. Our ancestors did it and the human race has somehow survived. It's a pain for both sides, but yes, you gotta live with it.

What is striking to me is our parents teach us how to behave, obey the rules (that matter), save (or not save) money, etc. But there is nothing to teach you how to play the dating game.

I see there are a number of How to Flirt classes for women occasionally (see http://goodvibes.com/Content--GV-SF-Bay-Area-After-Hours--id-298) but I dont see anything for guys (The art of The Approach?). There are a lot of "while in the relationship" advice classes for men... Shrug.

(Ok now before I get jumped on for acting like the male pig I am and suggesting a SEXTOY site, GV is a respected organization OWNED and OPERATED BY WOMEN). I'm assuming we're all adults here right?

I understand Amy chalks up the men want sex first as a evolutionary necessity in all her posts, blogs, and comments. You cant dismiss what's programmed as necessary for the human survival.

Amy blogged 7/4/07 about the evolutionary psychological imagination by Satoshi Kanazawa. Interesting read and I believe makes my point here.

Posted by: Michael at July 10, 2007 1:54 PM

Haven't read to the end but had to respond to all this stuff about

EYE CONTACT

I grew up near Manhattan and, as an unaccompanied young female, I learned to avoid all eye contact... works great in NYC, not so great in D.C.

In some places, avoiding eye contact w/people negates their existence, and in D.C. it made people angry. Not because of entitlement, but because in that "Southern" region it's bad manners not to acknowledge the presence of other passers by, men AND women, with a simple "how ya doing" and a nod. About one second's strong yet (potentially) friendly glance. It says, "I see you, I'm not afraid of you, everything's cool."

It's my way of taking control of the interaction.

It could also be a black-white thing. I'm white. Most of the guys in DC that I practiced this thing on were black. I did it with women, too, and that seemed to be common practice, not just me. Of course, D.C. is a black majority town.

I also had a black boyfriend in DC who told me that being ignored, avoided, by EVERYONE in the downtown area made him feel invisible and angry... and he wasn't a thug. He wasn't trying to intimidate anyone. He was a very sweet natured guy. What he was experiencing was racial tension, and I wonder if that's a factor in Oakland as well?

I also live in San Francisco, and find Oakland a bit edgy, and scary. This tactic I describe might not work on the Oakland dudes...

Posted by: Red Ree at July 16, 2007 1:52 PM

The eye contact topic is interesting to me. I have always wondered about that. I live in the midwest in a smaller town, so there aren't a bunch of thugs running around here. I think I am a pretty good-looking guy with an athletic body, but when I walk down the street or go anywhere and see attractive women they give me the "I wouldn't notice you if you were on fire" vibe.

As a result I have struggled with low self-esteem and secretly wondered if I was unattractive for many years because I always assumed that women would make eye contact, smile, or say hi to me if they thought I was attractive.

Some people on here said the guy should wait for the woman to give a sign, but in my experience you will spend a LONG time waiting for that to happen, at least from someone that you would actually be attracted to. I seem to be able to get a response now from women that I would consider "okay looking" but the women that I am REALLY attracted to won't give me the time of day. Maybe they are just out of my league?

Posted by: Tyler at July 16, 2007 8:00 PM

Tyler -
A small midwest town: maybe the gals still have been brought up to be demure and shy with guys.
- maybe the really attractive ones have been hit on so much that they block men unless there is a reason to become acquainted (so come up with some reasons)
- both men & women will talk to the less attractive opposite while hoping for a chance to know the one they want. Not taking a chance on being shot down by their true interest (I had a girlfriend who always went dancing/bars alone so she could be sure a guy wasn't talking to her while actually hoping to strategically close in on her girlfriend.
- maybe you aren't as attractive as you think, almost all men I know think they are handsome. They seem to have no clue of how to measure attractiveness in men (just what mamma told them, perhaps).

By the way, I know SEVERAL men who do not find it necessary or even pleasant to grab looks at other pretty women. One my father - horrified if any woman attempted a flirt, of 2 my 4 brothers, several guys I have dated. I ditched the gazing/low-noise-humming appreciator very quickly.

Posted by: Dee at July 25, 2007 3:48 PM

I'd like to see photo credit for all photos you post, as I don't believe you've shot every photo you post on your website.

Posted by: Jay J. Hector at September 10, 2007 2:33 PM

There's a new ipod for implanting into women's breasts. Women are always complaining that men look at their breasts and don't listen to them. Problem solved.

Posted by: brian [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2007 1:41 PM

My mom always said that when my dad stops looking at other women, she is going to take his pulse. After all, he does come home to her.

Posted by: PJ at November 28, 2007 4:40 PM

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