musings | the male gaze

in my art history classes we spoke at length about the male gaze. about paintings which were created simply to entice the male viewer. but art class wasn't the only place i experienced the male gaze...

an interesting thing has happened in the past few years - men no longer pay attention to me. gosh, i hate the way that sounds. don't get me wrong - i'm no hotsy totsy. i'm not skinny, or tall or classically beautiful. but i've always received attention of some sort from men. whether it be as genteel as looks and hellos, as brazen as cat calls and kisses, or as straightforward as being asked on a date. but these little confidence boosters have gone by the wayside.

i know - i shouldn't be 'complaining' because i have a wonderful husband who cares for me very deeply (and claims to be attracted to me!). and trust me - i feel just as strongly for him. but i firmly believe that many women still want to feel attractive in general. which means that maybe every now and then you lock eyes with a total stranger. or maybe someone you meet in passing asks you out - at a work event or a cocktail party. and if like me, you are attached - you can demurely refuse the advance. "i'm so flattered but actually, i'm married."

i've thought of various reasons as to why this change has occured. none of them leave me feeling warm and fuzzy - and some i hope for more than the others.

one | i'm getting older. well you can't do much to fight this can you?

two | i've gained weight. as much as i want it to be any of the other reasons here, i just know that this plays a huge role in being admired.

three | men can sense that i'm taken. friends tell me that wearing a ring is like a red light but since i don't notice wedding rings on others, i feel like it goes unnoticed on me. but i do believe that on level men can sense that i have no interest in a relationship or connection. and so perhaps they subconsciously pull away from me.

four | chivalry is dead. ha! i just had to throw this one because it puts the blame on them instead of me. though i am curious about how single women experience the world nowadays. do guys still ask girls out? is that too forward for our feminist driven society? does it have to happen organically and over time?

either way - i think i'm definitely entering a new stage of life. one in which i lack the same carefree attitude and am no longer an advertisement for youthfulness. i think i'm ok with that...but my self esteem might take a bit of a hit!


  1. Anonymous23.5.12

    It may be that you disregard the passing glances, the subtle flirtation by the cashier, etc. because you're in a well-established, happy relationship. One can tend to be oblivious to others' advances when not seeking it. My boyfriend and I have to point it out when someone else is flirting with the other. We insist it's not the case until we are proven wrong. It's the same for another couple we go out with that have been together for ten years.

    1. this was such a lovely comment to get and i have to admit...i didn't even consider this option. i guess it could be qualified as men 'sensing' that i'm taken but perhaps if there are signs, i just don't notice them... :)

  2. I used to work in a restaurant in Vancouver with, I kid you not, the most beautiful, blonde (every single one of them) girls I've ever seen in real life. Lovely girls - they'd get hit on constantly, some of them even wore rings to deter said unwanted admirers despite actually being single. Awkward, brunette moi, however, was thoroughly ignored. But this has been the case my whole life so I am totally use to it ; )

    Then one day, our little hostesses decided to conduct a survey of sorts. They asked our male staff which of us girls they favoured most (childish, I know - it might have been slow that day?) Of course, the "Alpha" types went straight for my gorgeous friends (I would, too ; p ). Surprisingly though,I got one little vote - from the sweetest guy in the place, he's one of those old soul-types whose "Mama raised him right." I would never have guessed him in a million years.

    This is going to sound so corny but, his one little vote meant more to me than 10 of the other guys'.

  3. first of all - you sure as heck better believe you're hotsy totsy! i'd do ya! ;)

    second of all - i've found the same thing myself. sometimes i think it has to do with age. in such a youth culture society, anyone over the age of 24 is considered ancient. i guess that makes me at 31 a fossil.

    however, i agree with anonymous. a lot of the time i'm just oblivious to what's going on around me. i'm in a relationship and most of the people i interact with on a daily basis know that. and so they respect it. those who don't know it - well, i'm not exactly making googley eyes at them either. because how could i follow that shit up? "yes cute man (or woman), i was just undressing you with my eyes and 'inadvertently' grazing my plunging neckline to draw your gaze down to my ample bosom. but i can't talk to you"...

    i think when we're single we do modify our body language, eye contact, etc... to say "i'm available". when we're in a committed and happy relationship we reign that shit in. that's not to say i don't miss some of that attention. we should take each other out for a no-harm flirt session. not with each other. with others. or maybe with each other ;)

    the ring can't help either.

    again - just to reiterate - you're a smokin hot babe.


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