Hey, He’s Checking Her Out!

Uh-oh, your date is ogling another. What to do when you’re out with a man whose eye wanders…

By Alan Goldsher

t first, it seemed like the perfect evening. Your date took you to that Italian place downtown—you know, the one that got the three-star review in the paper. Soon after you were seated, the sommelier sauntered over to your table and recommended a bottle of Barolo, circa 1997. Your guy took your hand and said, “Anything for her,” which thrilled you, because you’re well aware that that’s one
Many a man has been busted by his date for checking out that woman at the bar.
expensive bottle. Soon after that, the attractive waitress shimmied across the room and plunked two menus down on your table. After she recited the specials, you turned to your guy, intending to negotiate the appetizer selection. Just as you were about to ask him if he’d rather have the mussels or the calamari, your mouth snapped shut.

Why? Because he was staring at the server’s cleavage. Not looking... not glancing... staring. Needless to say, the good vibes were shattered, Barolo or no Barolo. So what exactly is going on when a guy ogles other women? And does it always mean that a relationship with a man like this is doomed, doomed, doomed? Read on for advice.

Is ogling ever OK?
Many a man has been busted by his date for checking out that woman at the bar, at the grocery store, or at the office holiday party, and many a man has attempted to wriggle off the hook by saying, “What?! I’m not blind, you know…” That may seem like a pretty bogus defense, but Andrea Lavinthal, co-author of The Hook-Up Handbook: A Single Girl’s Guide To Living It Up, doesn’t dismiss that excuse entirely. “Nowhere in the official relationship handbook does it say that you have to be totally blind to other people,” she says. “I mean, who can ignore the salespeople at Abercrombie & Fitch? I don’t know anyone who shops there for the clothes. It’s natural to stare. For a little while.”

In truth, the length of the ogle (not that you’re timing it or anything) does matter. Lingering looks are a real no-no, says Dr. Gilda Carle, relationship expert and author of Don’t Bet On The Prince! How To Have The Man You Want By Betting On Yourself. “There’s curious looking, and there’s out-and-out gawking,” she says. “The first is normal and healthy; the second is disgusting and insulting—especially when you’re in your date’s presence.” And Lavinthal expounds further, noting, “Is your date just casually checking out a cutie and then resuming gazing into your eyes, which is not a big deal, or is he drooling all over himself and completely spacing out what your name is? Because that is a problem.”

Can you live with it?
Some feel that if you trust your mate, appreciating another’s beauty shouldn’t be a problem. “Trust is really important,” Lavinthal says. “If you know your man isn’t a
As long as he keeps his hands to himself, I don’t see a problem.
cheater, then let him have a little fun by looking at other people. It comes down to the old ‘look but don't touch’ adage. As long as he keeps his hands to himself, I don’t see a problem. If this issue really bugs you, then it’s best to be honest and let your boyfriend know that his fascination with others is not appreciated or acceptable. If he continues to behave badly and it’s making you crazy, then it’s probably best to break up,” advises Lavinthal, adding with a laugh, “or if you really love him, invest in one of those cone-shaped plastic head things that dogs wear.”

When you can’t stand his roving eye
If you’re not the kind who can make light of this situation, then heed this advice. Says Dr. Gilda, “Gawking is a put-down to the person in your presence. If a woman continues to stand for a guy doing it and hopes it will change, she’s in fantasyland.” So here’s her advice: Don’t confront him with “you” language, as in, “You are doing this,” “You are not a good boyfriend,” “You are embarrassing me...” Instead, communicate your feelings: “I feel insignificant when you flirt with other women in front of me.” This will allow for a conversation you can both learn and grow from, rather than a major screeching match.

Also, try to get your guy to think and talk about why he constantly needs to check out other women. Perhaps this is a habit left over from hanging out with his buddies or brothers during his high-school or college days. Maybe he’s insecure and is hoping to get some positive acknowledgment from the women he’s drooling over. Whatever the case, if you both become more aware of his actions and their impact, you’ve got a great chance of getting past this and onto happier terrain... where he’s making total eye contact with you.

Alan Goldsher’s book, Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read, is available now. Visit his website at
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