This past weekend, my boyfriend and I were leaving a Starbucks when I saw a short, buff blonde guy with icy blue eyes and his hoodie up. I paused when I saw him: He had classic rape eyes. Rape face, even. When I caught up with my boyfriend I told him what I’d just seen. He replied, “I thought the same thing when I saw him!”
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a guy and thought this, either. One notable occasion was a couple years back at a USC vs. BC football game. Outside in the tailgates, I was hanging with college friends, funneling beer and eating hot dogs when I spotted one guy walking around our group with the most haunting blue eyes. His handsome face seemed warm and charming when he’d talk to people, but whenever he’d be quiet, a this rape-y, distant look would take over.
I’m not saying that all rapists have blue eyes or even the same chill in their eyes, not at all. But there is a similarity between so many of the criminals we see in Dateline clips and mugshots that’s strong enough that it tends to pop up in the casting of a lot of fictional rapists.
It’s those cold, dead eyes that have that uncomfortable charisma to them. He just looks like he’s hoping your defenses are down so he can strike. He’s the guy who drinks beer in the corner all night unbothered by his lack of company, then calmly approaches the drunkest girl in the room at the end of the night.
But are rape eyes something you are born with or something that you develop? Googling “rape eyes” turns up the standard results of an Urban Dictionary definition, (“Word used to describe the look a man (or woman) gives when viewing any person they find sexually attractive (and who may or may not be under-age) and hence, would like to get inside of.”) and various uses of the phrase on blogs and message boards.
Do you know what I mean when I say “rape eyes”? Are rape eyes really just “criminal eyes?” Or “murder eyes with a slight sparkle to them?” Are they “psychopath eyes,” similar to the ones that Christian Bale delivered in American Psycho? I can’t be entirely sure and I’m not that sure I want to be.