An exercise in social awareness for the gentlemen among us.

On a bustling street in a busy city, when the sun hits hard enough to enforce a strict casual dress policy, fall in behind a woman on the sidewalk. It is perhaps more illustrative to choose someone you personally find attractive, but this is not strictly necessary. After all, you won't be looking at her; your attention should be on the men coming downstream.

Eyes, flicking womanward. Heads turning. Nods of appraisal. The sheer volume of attention directed a few feet in front of you will become impossible to miss. You can track an incoming male's eyes from the semi-blank walking stare to the spark of interest, the swivel toward ladyflesh, and inevitable impact on areas of interest.

You'll become aware of

A TAXONOMY OF LEERING

  • The Quick Glance. Perhaps the most common species, the Quick Glance is the product of guilt outweighing lasciviousness. Can be seen perpetrated by men with their girlfriends and "enlightened" fellas with highly tuned self-censoring routines.
  • The Long Look. Somewhat more rare than the Quick Glance, but still quite common. Long Lookers are either those momentarily overcome by the radiant attractiveness of the woman in question or dullards who have no sense of how their actions may affect others. The Long Look may be directed at very specific anatomy, or the female synergy.
  • The Up-And-Down. Still common, but less so for its obviousness. At this point we have crossed over into the territory of Aggressive Appraisal. Most Up-And-Downers (and there's often a grin involved) are not concerned about their actions being noticed, and indeed believe it to be the opening act for further flirtation.
  • The Turn-Around. This can be combined with any of the above species, but almost always follows an Up-And-Down and is only rarely implemented by itself. The implication here is that the front elevation has met certain critical standards, and now the back forty must be examined pending final judgement.
  • The Cat Call. Truly the zenith of Aggressive Appraisal. Cat Calls can be as simple as whistles in the woman's general direction or as complex as lengthy sentences detailing exactly what sort of sexual acts the woman has inspired the man to perform upon her person. The success of the Cat Call has never, to my knowledge, been proven and it is clear that the Cat Call continues to exist only as a byproduct of the conscious or unconscious male desire to dominate the psychological environment.

A keen observer will not have to invest much time to catalog all of the above flavors. The important thing to remember here is this:

You are noticing this because you choose to pay attention.
She deals with it every minute of every day.

Just something to think about.

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