Thought Catalog

That Look Boys Give Girls But Pretend They Don’t

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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. TC mark

image – Helga Weber

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    • Anonymous

      this never happens to me cause i’m ugly

      thanks for ruining my day “kat” george

    • Kat

       Haha yes… definitely. Haven’t experienced the look in a long time, but it really is an exciting/absolutely nerve wracking little experience, especially when you’re off guard

    • Anonymous

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    • Alexa

      He’s just not that into you.

    • r.r.

      surreal.
      just got the “look” a few nights ago from someone I’m afraid to look at because if I do, my heart won’t have a chance. and now all I can think is that one look that can change everything if I have the nerve to look back. 

      le sigh. 

    • http://kalliope.simbel.lv Signe

      It can be worse. You wake up after having had the third one-night-stand in a row with this man who is perfectly cute, and good, and nice to you, yet you perfectly know, for whatever reason you have, that he’s not “it”. You turn to your side, open your eyes and… the look is there. A thought along the lines of “oh shit, not again” crosses your mind and you’re left with a mixture of guilt, compassion and anxiety as you try to pretend you never saw that expression the way it was supposed to be seen. Because it’s such a waste of a perfectly good non-committal affair.

      • Guest

        It could be worse….damn these boys for constantly falling for me. Sounds horrible.

      • Anonymous

        And this response is why guys are so scared of feeling those feelings.  While you may hope and pray that he turns it into “his arms around your waist and his tongue in your mouth” we have been burned by women in the past like our friend Signe, not that it is her fault, but its the way things work out.

    • Jake

      This is absolutely heartbreaking. It’s late in Melbourne, Kat, and I sort of wanted to go to sleep without a sense of romantic melancholy and longing FOR ONCE. Jesus. But actually great work.

      • returnguest

        Go read a Nicholas Sparks book…

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

      ugh, gross

    • guest

      this was all kinds of fantastic, thank you for encompassing every emotion associated with the moment

    • Guestation

      I’m kat george, oh man I am sick of men throwing themselves at me, god this really sucks. 

      • mysticlipstick

        I think you’re missing the point….. entirely.

    • Karyncarp

      kat, steph g and chelsea fagan seem capable of occasionally talking about shit other than themselves and dating/fucking. hop on the train maybe?

    • Sophia

      It’s articles like this, that really capture what I thought was a complete intangible in life, that make me love ThoughtCatalog.
      Great work.

    • guest

      Have you seen that other look too? The one that says, “Now I know women are insane”?  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CXCS7TXFL5TS2LGXRPMARVGOHY Viktor

      “Well I want the one I can’t have, and it’s driving me mad, it’s all over my face”

    • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

      You sound so happy throughout this piece.

      Infinite jealous loop is infinite.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2311203 Kevin Pritchard

      I can’t wait to give that ‘look’ again. 

    • YAYFORMISOGYNY

      “he’s awed but sad because he realizes soon you’ll belong to someone else.”
      Wow. You actually said that.

      • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

        RIGHT??

    • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

      OMG Kat, awesome. You’re on a ROLL lately. This reads casually, like you’re writing in a diary, except you plan to publish that diary someday. It’s perfect for the subject of the article. <3
      And also THE LOOK! Thought you were just being craycray for the first part (making up "looks," oh youuu) but then you got to the part about getting the look from a father/uncle/etc and then I understood. You did a really good job of not portraying the look as a sexual thing, and also of just capturing the look in general — because it IS real and it DOES happen and it's weird/sexy/embarrassing/etc

    • guest

      What’s with kat george and her spider senses? that line has been used in almost all of her articles

    • Rhee

      YAY Kat George. I really related to this.

    • http://imlikecocaine.wordpress.com/ Ana

      growing up sucks.

    • squee

      this is the look i give to almost every cheeseburger i encounter

       and somewhere in the background, cutting crew’s ‘(I just) died in your arms tonight’  starts playing

    • http://www.facebook.com/nattusmith Natt Smith

      Why are your titles so much better then the actual article?  

    • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

      Love this.
      I want to be looked at like Salma Hayek!
      I also don’t want to have any of these where I don’t feel the same. Bad situation.

    • kd888

      I can remember every guy who has given me that look — and how exactly his face looked when he gave it to me.

      Really related to this–but haven’t had it in a while!!

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