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Love and lust: Does it all start with The Look?



Knicker-dropping, spine-tingling, chest-heaving seduction success depends, by and large, on one thing. That thing is confidence. Confidence, not beauty, brawn or wealth, really qualifies an effective lover. Confidence, loud or quiet, always wins.

And often, it’s the eyes that have it. For confidence, in other words, is but a Look.

Just one Look can say it all, one look is the look of love, and so forth, until ‘'good-looking'’ takes on an entirely different meaning, seeking really does mean finding, and seeing binds strangers in the belief something special is possible. (They locked eyes from across the room/the rest, they say, is history).

But what happens when a good-look goes bad? What happens if your gaze repulses rather than attracts? Can staring deep into the limpid pools of your lover’s face actually see you sink, not swim?

Actually yes – catching the wrong eye, even with the right intentions, can fell even the surest of swashbucklers.

So the question becomes when should you look, and how?

Before getting to the answer, let’s first observe the science. A seminal study in 1989 found a correlation between concentrated, mutual gazes and feelings of romantic love. Subsequent research has also determined females are better at making eye-contact than males, thanks in part to lower testosterone levels - though infant males with super-high testosterone levels match the ‘here’s looking at you score’ of their female counterparts.

Among other things, such research tells us that eye contact is a natural form of expression for women, and so-called alpha-men. Those of you with an evolutionary-biological bent will no doubt see reason here – those without will at least relate to lived experiences of these facts.

But, as ever, there’s more to it than science – who hasn’t heard of the Evil Eye? A concept that eloquently expresses the great influence some cultures believe lives behind our eyeballs; this is the same notion which gives rise to the ancient mythology of eyes as soul-windows - ocular oracles not to be, uh, overlooked.

Yet the idea of the Evil Eye also, importantly, reveals a dark side to the story of our peculiar seeing-machines. We know eyes – and their uses – relate to power both magnificent and terrible. We know this intrinsically, or because we’ve consumed the literature. Regardless, we know it, though there is great confusion as to how we avoid looking the wrong way, or staring when we shouldn’t (particularly today, in a world where to see really is to believe).

And this is problematic, especially in a multicultural country such as ours, because there are many societies where making direct eye-contact is offensive, or where eye-contact between certain people is a grave taboo. Indigenous Australian civilisation abounds with such examples. And they are worth noting, as the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration’s ‘Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Benchbook for Western Australian Courts’ so eloquently points out.

Of course, we’re more concerned with the letters of love than the law in this blog, so it is back to this sexy field we return. We know ‘'making eyes'’ at people works when it comes to romance and attraction, but which people, and when?

In some respects, this is an impossible question to answer, for while we might make generalisations based on culture, we can’t account for every individual. Some people relish focused gazes more than others, and some people are better at staring than most. Broadly, assuming the right time and place is picked, it is best to accompany any sort of eye-locking with an expression that says yes rather than no – a cheeky smile and open posture doesn’t go astray.

What stands is that eyes are more than things we can see with. They are very powerful tools, tools that can be used for good or evil – and they should be a considered aspect of any effective lover’s repertoire.

So, as it is Friday, and the weekend is here, and chances are you will confront eyes aplenty over its course, I ask: Are you a creepy-peeper, or have you got the Look all figured out?

When was the last time you dared look a handsome stranger in the eye? When was the last time you made eyes with someone across the room? Do you feel threatened or excited when your lover looks into your eyes? And could you stop someone in their tracks with but a glance...?



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25 comments so far

  • The look as a display of confidence is beautiful, without confidence is less so.
    My lover regullarlly looks into my eyes with her smiling eyes and it’s fantastic but it’s the whole body language that goes with it as well.

    Victorious Painter
    Date and time
    August 10, 2012, 7:50AM
    • I have these things called 'pinhole glasses' which are because I have terrible eyesight and they help a lot wearing them out on a walk or something They are basically solid black plastic frames with tiny holes in the part over the eyes, but from an onlooker's point of view, they look like a blind fold- make me look as if I am without eyes. The peculiar thing about them is when I wear them around, people really look at my perceived absence of eyes and will usually adjust themselves to be more visual - stick their chest out a little further or strike a pose. Quickly realizing that this would have no effect on a blind person, most will then be ostentatiously loud or go out of their way to be noticed/noticeable in some other way.

      Michael D
      Date and time
      August 10, 2012, 8:11AM
      • G'day Kate.

        Enjoy the day off last Wednesday?

        - - -

        On this topic, I suggest you are half right.

        I totally agree that eyes and eye contact is central to 'setting hearts aflutter'.

        I disagree that 'confidence' is a more critical issue than 'eyes'.

        According to Wiktionary, confidence is a noun and has the meaning/s of...

        * Uncountable, * Self-assurance, * Expression or feeling of certainty, or * Quality of trusting.

        I suggest many people without these attributes fall romantically head over heels to/for another.

        Interestingly, the Mills & Boon type romances often cast the female as reserved even in dubiety. In contrast the male is typically cast as self assured. While this 'model' fulfills the patriarchal view, there does appear a romantic view that the male be self assured while the female is demur.

        - - -

        I also point to arranged marriages (more prevalent than 'love' marriages) and suggest the 'confidence' attribute plays no part.


        Date and time
        August 10, 2012, 8:42AM
        • “Love and lust: Does it all start with The Look?”. Two different emotions. But perhaps becomes one. And start from where? Close or afar? Too far to eye gaze? Very often so. And to see one must look, ideally.
          The “seminal study”s. If only I had the time. Or more honestly, if I bothered.
          (and assuming you are referencing "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" rather than the “seminal discharge”) But perhaps most relevant is it is simple to be complicated and complicated to be simple which is complicated in itself. (And as people complain that what I write is too complicated to read I guess that makes me simple which again becomes complicated)

          Was said that, Men are simple. (From afar) We don’t fall in love with your personality. We fall in love with your tits and arse. Then we stick around to see what you are going to do with them. Then you need to flirt. (Must work. She scored he settled)
          “And could you stop someone in their tracks with but a glance...?” In this case I’m sure she could have. (anything about her would have me) In her practice it was her tits. Rather than give a passing nod they popped up and said hello. (Of course it would be impolite not to pay attention)
          And if you get lucky to get to that stage, close enough – deep and soulful eye contact. Is good.

          So yeah, “Knicker-dropping, spine-tingling, chest-heaving seduction success depends, by and large, on one thing. That thing is confidence.” Confidence that you can bring it all together. “Quiet confidence, always wins.”
          “So, as it is Friday, and the weekend is here, and chances are you will confront eyes aplenty over its course,” Yeah, work it, go get you one.

          Date and time
          August 10, 2012, 10:06AM
          • A look and a smile goes a long way...

            Date and time
            August 10, 2012, 10:55AM
            • Unless you begin every sentence with it!

              Snidery Mark
              Date and time
              August 10, 2012, 1:13PM
          • I have been stopped in my tracks by a look, and felt an instant connection with just one look. Depending on the look it's either lust or a deeper attraction... so much can be said with one look, even that of a stranger...
            On the other hand 'looks' can be extremely deceptive, especially when someone is practised at it and/or believes their own hype

            Date and time
            August 10, 2012, 11:36AM
            • I'm now married to the last person I gave "the look" to, so I can attest to its effectiveness!

              Date and time
              August 10, 2012, 1:29PM
              • Always have been a sucker for beautiful eyes....especially those different from my own dark ones. However, the tricky situation I find myself how not to come across as a creepy-staring person when all I'm doing is trying to admire a beautiful set of peepers.
                Extremely hard to do when they belong to a Mr Shy Guy! *sighs*

                Date and time
                August 10, 2012, 1:31PM
                • So go up and talk to him?

                  Date and time
                  August 11, 2012, 8:04AM

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