That Look Boys Give Girls But Pretend They Don’t
This boy is starting to frustrate me. Is it preprogrammed into his genetics, so that he innately does all the things that make me want to scream? Sometimes I want to punch him in the head—no, I’m not threatening violence, I’m just expressing that sometimes when he’s talking to me or not kissing me the way I want him to, I think about his face exploding. I call it Fantasy Frustration Vengeance, and I think maybe I do it because I’ve seen people in sitcoms doing it.
See, the things is, I saw the look on his face when I walked into the room the other night. Why is it that men think they’re so subtle? Here’s some information you might not yet know, guy: it’s all on your face AND WE CAN SEE IT. Girls know. We pretend we don’t know, we can’t tell, that our spider senses don’t tingle when you look at us that way (just the same way boys pretend that they’re looking straight through us rather than directly at us). BUT WE KNOW. We know that look—the one that says “I am seeing you for the first time.”
And I saw him look at me like that. Then I saw him shake his head like a dog shaking off water from its fur. Like a simple head shake would splash away the feeling he just had when he saw me. It frustrated me that he wanted to shake it off, that he wanted to make believe that it never happened. But then I guess we’re both great big phonies in that sense, what with him pretending he didn’t do it and me pretending I didn’t notice it.
I don’t see that look often, I don’t really think many of us girls do. But anyone who’s ever been loved by a man knows it. It starts with dad or grandpa or uncle or brother—the older man in your family who loves you. You probably don’t recognize it as a kid, but then maybe you’re 16 and you’re coming down the stairs in your formal gown, all glitter eye make up, hair twists and She’s All That, and dad or whoever just looks at you in that way. It’s like he’s Steve Martin and it’s your wedding day: he can’t believe he created something so beautiful and he’s awed but sad because he realizes soon you’ll belong to someone else. It’s touching, it really is.
Then you get a little bit older and you start falling in love, and people start falling in love with you. The second time you’ll experience that look is with your first real love. You’ll be lying in bed together and in the morning he will open his eyes a second before you open yours, and you will catch him with an expression on his face that tells you he just found a pirate’s bounty. That’s the point where you really know, you really, really know, that you’ll be able to tell everything you need about a man’s feelings from the way he looks at you. It’s when you’ll stop demanding frivolous gestures and “I love you,” because on the rare occasion you notice him looking at you like that, you know it’s all you’ll ever need.
But then sometimes it will catch you off guard, like it caught me the other night. There will be a guy you’ve secretly given your heart to, and you’ll go about your business thinking that he sees you as a friend and nothing more. Then one day, when you’re least expecting it, you’ll enter a room and he’ll be shocked to see you, shocked to feel the way he does when he sees you, and that look will cross his face. Like he’s seen a phantasm. Like you’re Salma Hayek. Like no one in the room exists but you. You’ll know the look, and it will knock you off your feet as your tummy drops to your knees and you greet him, all the while playing dumb to the revelation he doesn’t even know he allowed to slip from his eyes. Then, as you’re “being friends,” you’ll do as I do, and imagine his brain splattering on the wall behind you and over all the other patrons at the bar, because where once you thought all you needed was a look, now what you need is for him to take that look and turn it into his arms around your waist and his tongue in your mouth.
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