This morning a woman preceded me into Starbucks. From the short-shorts during a fifty-degree thunderstorm, the gaudy fingernails, the orange tan, and the dark-rooted hair bleached into brittleness, I knew that she wanted to be looked at.

I have no problem with someone wanting to be looked at. Nor do I have a problem with doing the looking. Physical attraction is part of being alive. A little visual appreciation can be flattering and everyone can use a little flattery now and then.

But I do have a problem with being expected to look. I could tell from her body language and the increasing frequency of her looks my way that she was put out that I was not looking. At first it was just because she did not interest me. I saw others who were quite interested, just not me.

But then I refused to look out of contrariness. I find it sad that it matters to her that much that everyone in eyesight watch her. Is her self-esteem that low? Nevertheless I reserve the right to choose where I look.


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