His Lips Unzipped: Dating a Stare Master
By Martin Brown
How do I tell my boyfriend that his staring at other women is degrading? Help!
—Nancy Ann, in Tacoma, Washington
The first and most important point that all women should realize about men and those annoying stares is that we are hardwired to look. Whenever I try to tell a woman this, I get the “Do you think I was born yesterday?” stare.
Well stare in disbelief if you must, but it’s really true. I’m always amazed how members of both sexes can watch nature programs on television, all of which discuss elaborate animal mating rituals, and not think that nature’s laws of procreation do not apply to we human beings as well.
Whether it’s a plunging neckline or a well-rounded bottom, to the male brain it all screams “possible mate.” Whether he knows it or not, every male at some level is thinking about mating possibilities. Nature doesn’t care about engaging conversation, or whether a martini is best prepared shaken or stirred. What it does care about is the survival of the species. So the urge to merge is lurking in male and female brains.
However, the two different sexes show that interest in distinctly different ways.
Understanding why your man stares is one thing. Learning to live with it without cracking your dinner plate over his head is quite another. So here are some tips for managing your favorite primate when his eyes wander when you wish that they would stay put:
Tip #1: Let him know what he’s doing.
Sounds simple, but most women fume first and speak later. That’s bad for him, and bad for you. Men don’t do well with subtle hints. Give it to him straight. He’ll know he was staring, but only after you tell him. In our primitive brains we go into a mini-trance whenever we see a desirable female. A little kick under the table or a pull at the arm tells us to heel in a far less demeaning way than your shouting, “Down, boy!” in the middle of a party.
Tip #2: Set the ground rules and then expect him to follow.
Decide on that friendly signal that lets your Fido know to sit and behave. You need to work that out in advance. One woman told me that she explained to her boyfriend that it was alright to stare, but not to drool.
Or as Seinfeld once explained to his buddy George, “Looking at a woman’s cleavage is like staring into the sun: you don’t stare, you glance then look away.”
Tip #3: Let him know that your patience has its limits.
Nature aside, when you’ve done your best to look your best, your guy’s wandering eyes can still be hurtful. Explain this to your man. A caring, considerate man will get the message even if a friendly reminder is needed now and then.
I’m sorry to say that some of my fellow men when warned, cajoled, and reasoned with to lay low on the leer, keep returning to that same behavior. This isn’t Biology 101 your confronting, this is Psych 101, and it’s known as passive aggressive behavior. If that’s the case, give your bloodhound his walking papers. The simple truth is that some men just are not worth the trouble. Instead, trade up to a man who knows the difference between basic instincts and good manners.
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© 2008 His Lips Unzipped, by Martin Brown. Martin is co-author, along with his wife, Josie, of Marriage Confidential: 102 Honest Answers to All the Questions Every Husband Wants to Ask, and Every Wife Needs to Know.