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Why Do Men's Eyes Wander?

Dear Philippa,

My boyfriend and I get on great most of the time except when we're out and he gawks at other women. It really bothers me. And when I complain he laughs and says that I must be jealous or something because he is just looking and it is perfectly normal male behavior. My women friends say that's just the way men are. What do you think?

�Enise, Charlottesville, NC


Dear Enise,

I can feel the hair on the backs of women's necks bristling when they read your letter. This is a major peeve that I hear about. I have to say, personally, I haven't dated too many men who openly goggled. The few men that I knew who were like that were gaping at other women who were openly selling their wares---you know, necklines down to their navel, etc. My response was to simply call attention to the lady in question so that we both could talk about her outfit. If it was a simply stunning woman the guy was looking at, I would remark how beautiful she was. Somehow discussing his view seemed to reduce my angst and also clearly let him know I was aware of his wandering eyes.

Scientists believe that the part of the brain that governs the visual senses generates more neural activity in men than in women. Maybe this explains why men are said to be more visual beings. While this is an explanation for why men's eyes may wander, it is not an excuse for any man's insensitive behavior.

Women aren't always angels either. We may not gawk at other men when we're with our guy but we do sometimes stare at other women's boyfriends. I remember when I was dating a guy who looked like a model. We were out in the park and I was ordering ice cream. The women behind the cart totally ignored me and stared at him with wide glazed eyes. The only way we could get the ice cream was for him to order it.

If men want to enjoy looking at women, they need to learn to do it with discretion and with respect for the woman in their life. Your boyfriend's behavior does not demonstrate that he respects and values you. His comments about you being jealous of the women that he stares at are not just insensitive, they are insulting.

The question you need to ask yourself is why are you putting up with this behavior? Not all men gawk at other women. There are great guys out there who will think you're wonderful and so attractive that other women pale in comparison. The great guys say, "Why do I need to look at someone else, I've got what I want." Realize that you have the right to be with someone with whom you feel comfortable and secure. You deserve a guy who appreciates you.




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