Eye trouble

I’m not a normal guy.

I’m different in a lot of ways: I don’t much care for sports, have almost no male friends, don’t particularly like beer, etc, etc, etc.  In one way, however, I’m like most other guys:  I honestly don’t have a freaking clue how much attention it’s acceptable to pay to a woman’s looks.

Not. One. Clue.

Look, I like to think I’m not a jerk:  It’s rude to stare at anyone, and beyond rude to just stand there and visually catalog a woman’s every curve. Lots of us possessing a Y chromosome are aware of these things. But where is the line drawn???

An example:  one day at work, some years back (I work at a University), I was outside having a smoke. It’s Mississippi, and it was summer, so it was freaking HOT. A young woman, obviously late for class, approached my position at a trot … she was quite well-endowed, and I was thoroughly aware of the fact because she was wearing a very thin, nearly see-thru t-shirt, and no brassiere. There was considerable motion. ‘Jiggling’ is not a sufficient term …

I became aware that I was staring, right about the time she became aware of it, and averted my eyes just as she passed me …

“Jerk!” she spat out, in passing, in a tone that simply dripped venom.

Some facts in my defense:  first, the young woman in question was wearing something that drew attention to her breasts.  Maybe it was also comfortable, but the combo of near-translucency, sheer mass, and no bra, pretty well guaranteed that they’d be conspicuous. Secondly, human beings have not one, but TWO visual systems. The one we use all the time resolves images, the other, that we’re less aware of, tracks motion! If I’d been female, my eyes would have tracked to the same motion. Would I still have been called a jerk? If I’d been a Lesbian, my eyes might have lingered even longer – would that have prompted the woman to call me a jerk?

I suspect the answer, in both cases would have been ‘NO’. It especially stung that I strongly suspected a sexist label was being applied to me purely because of my gender, not my actions. Which is, you know, sexist!

It bothered me. A lot. The rest of my morning was spent wondering whether I’d really been in the wrong, or whether the name-calling had been as unjust as it felt. I wrestled with it till lunch-time, then went out to my car and went to pick up a friend for lunch. Pulling out of the parking lot, I paused at a cross-walk for a pedestrian. A young, pretty, female pedestrian. As well endowed as the other young woman, as obvious in her lack of a bra, though her t-shirt wasn’t nearly as revealing. She was in a hurry, and there was, as in the first case, motion. A lot of it.

I caught myself staring, as I had before, but this time, before I could look away, the girl flashed a laughing smile at me and did a shoulder-shimmy, shaking her breasts at me, and the look on her face was not teasing, taunting, or bitter, but more along the lines of “Glad you liked ’em!”

I grinned almost involuntarily back, and bowed my head briefly in acknoledgment of her generosity … I spent my lunch hour cheerfully, as a result of that smile – not the boob-shimmy, as nice as it was, but the smile, so laughingly appreciative of appreciation!

After lunch, though, I was in for more soul-searching. Which had been right, which wrong? My actions had been much the same in both cases, so why had I drawn such diametrically opposite reactions? Was the first woman over-sensitive? Was the second an exhibitionist? Did the first spend the rest of her morning as upset as she’d made me? Did the second get as much of a morale boost as she had given me?

It perplexed me, then. It perplexes me now.

For the last few months, as I pass by a large office with multiple work-stations in it, I’ve been aware of a lovely young woman.  Indian, or Pakistani, with a lovely face, perfect complexion, and shining hair, always attractively arranged. She sits behind a 27″ iMac, so I have no idea at all what her body is shaped like, below the shoulders. I’ve gotten to where, every time I pass that office I look in to see her face. It’s not a sexual thing: she’s young enough to be my grand-daughter – I don’t have fantasies about her, and I’ve made no effort to imagine her figure (beyond thinking that she must be of a slender build, based on her shoulders.)  I don’t go out of my way to look. I certainly don’t crane my neck around when I’m walking the opposite direction!

I just like her face. Pretty. Cheerful. Kindly, I think. She might be bloated and obese, she might be a total bitch, she might be all sorts of things – none of matters: I just appreciate that pretty face.

At some point, I think she must have noticed. Now when I pass by, heading toward my office, and glance in, she looks up and smiles, a little shyly, it seems. In the past couple of weeks, there’s been eye-contact, and the smile seems less shy, and more warm. I’ve been smiling my own shy smile in return …

I have to wonder, though: is this making her uncomfortable?  I long ago gave up trying to read women … where is the line drawn between appreciation and ogling?

Fuck it. I like her face, and I’ll continue glancing at it, as I pass.

As long as the smile remains warm and friendly – and she doesn’t file harassment charges.

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~ by dourscot on August 6, 2012.

One Response to “Eye trouble”

  1. Disaster! The large office was rearranged, cubicles installed, and now the lovely Southwest Asian beauty is hidden from mid-nose down, by her cubicle … no more shared smiles … :((

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