Illustration of a man wearing board shorts that have large glaring eyes over the crotch area and the words "No fear" on the leg.

Eyes up!

Excuse you; my eyes are up here


I talked with human resources, explaining how awkward it is that two of my coworkers can’t seem to keep from focusing on my breasts when I’m trying to talk to them.

The HR lady laughed and said, “Oh, the owner does that to me all the time.”

I’m sorry, what?

I wasn’t sure I heard her right. She seemed to be saying that because the owner of this company indulges in similar behavior, that makes it ok, even laughable.

While I didn’t feel sexually harassed and wasn’t looking for disciplinary action, I had hoped for a general reminder. Just a simple notice to all staff that staring at someone else’s body parts and not their eyes when talking to them is incredibly awkward and a bit disrespectful. In other words, please don’t do it.

Ok, to be clear, I probably would have felt less uncomfortable if they were staring at my feet. So not all body parts are necessarily off-limits to prolonged eyeing. But, definitely, any body part thought to be an erogenous zone. Oh, wait, don’t some people have foot fetishes? Ok, never mind, back to the original idea – keep eye contact.

In a post #MeToo age, it seemed that a general reminder would be thoroughly understood, fully supported, and perhaps even immediately acted upon.

No such luck.

It seems most guys – and a number of girls apparently – think it is nothing, even expected, for a guy to glance south of my face every few minutes. So what if it takes them several seconds to make it back up to my eyes, right? They are still listening, albeit distractedly, to what I’m saying.

Are they, though?

I mean, really. I go an entire day without staring at a guy’s junk/package. Why can’t these guys last more than a couple of minutes?

I do feel the urge to say, “Hello, I’m talking up here.” If I was particularly annoyed, I might add, “There is nothing for you down there. Stop staring!!”

Yes, I have boobs. And, yeah, they are a bit larger than average. But that shouldn’t matter.

They see me every day.

Perhaps I should say, “You’ve seen them before, buddy. Move on.”

Although Handsome sympathizes with the guys. He is frequently drawn to my cleavage and understands their distraction. Then, I remind him that no one sees cleavage at my office. All shirts, sweaters, and blouses go up to my collarbone. If I should wear a button-down, most – if any – cleavage is covered by my long hair. There is nothing to see. Literally!

Now, I don’t want to seem shrill and unempathetic to my fellow coworkers.

I do have some sympathy. I went to a gym once, where a rather handsome, muscular fellow was wearing workout shorts with angry eyes glaring out at me from in front of his crotch. On the side, it stated in bold letters, “No Fear.” I admit. I had a hard time looking away. But, frankly, there was no admiration in my gaze. I was just trying to figure out what I was looking at and why an angry crotch would be desirable for workout clothes.

I went to a gym once, where a rather handsome, muscular fellow was wearing workout shorts with angry eyes glaring out at me from in front of his crotch. On the side, it stated in bold letters, “No Fear.” I admit. I had a hard time looking away.

The only other time I found myself staring at a guy south of the belt line was when a coworker had worn bright, highlighter orange pants to work. Again, I wasn’t checking out his package. I couldn’t seem to look away. Like seeing yellow police tape, I felt concerned and vaguely unsettled. I wanted to understand what led to this overwhelming fashion choice.

So I understand the overpowering urge to stare for more than a second and struggle to keep eyes on someone’s face in certain circumstances. But I had no sexual thrill to tempt me to look either time, so perhaps I can never truly understand.

Wait, I check out Handsome quite a bit, which is thrilling. He has great legs and a fantastic ass. Wow, and his package is…oh wait, that is probably more than you want to know. But, the point is, it is not that I don’t check out guys. I do…but he is my guy. One big bonus of our relationship is we get to ogle each other whenever we want.

While I think I may understand the impulse or the temptation, I will continue to be annoyed by it.

Only one woman stared at my breasts, and I appreciated how she realized and quickly adjusted her gaze. She knew I saw. I knew what she was doing, but we both silently agreed that it was no big deal because she fixed it as soon as she caught herself. Perfect! That is the way to do it.

But since a few men I know haven’t learned this yet and HR won’t say anything, I’m just going to have to bark out one short military command (cause most guys get those, right?)…

“Eyes up!”

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