Saturday, April 30, 2005


The difference between men and women, part I: Eyedar

As I have so wisely said in a prior post,
There’s not a lot of career advancement opportunity to be had from making sweeping generalizations about the differences between men and women.
However, in celebration of the fact that I was voted tenure this year by my institution, I will venture onto that dangerous, yet unrewarding, territory.

Here's a difference: Women have eyedar. Men do not.

What is eyedar?
Pronounced "Eye-dar" (or "I-dar"), with emphasis on the "eye," and suggestive of things like "radar" and "gaydar," eyedar is a visual tracking system. In a nutshell, women have an uncanny ability to track a man's visional direction when he is scoping an attractive other woman.

A typical example of eyedar occurs while on a dinner date at a restaurant. Sitting tete a tete, the man – let’s just call him “Oscar” – momentarily breaks off eye contact with his date/spouse,"B."

“Where's our waiter?” he says, looking around the room. The conversation hits a lull, and “Oscar” checks out the scenery. That raucus group over in the booth is ordering yet another round of drinks. Hmm, weird painting over on that wall. There's now something of a crowd in the lobby area -- glad we made reservations.

None of Oscar’s visual redirections prompt any reaction from “B,” whose gaze is likewise wandering -- from Oscar, to her plate, to the room, to the reflection on the convex side of her spoon.

Oscar sees that a waitress has arrived at the raucus booth to take that group’s drink order. Boy, is she hot!

B’s eyedar instantly deploys. She locks onto the direction of Oscar’s gaze, tracks it, and, turning her shoulders slightly, swivels her head to look over her shoulder, changing her own visual direction through a rotation of 120 degrees until she locks on target.
“She’s pretty,” B says with a mixture of mild amusement and less mild annoyance.
“Who? Who?” says Oscar.
You know who.”
Now I would not be so foolish as to claim that men are always subtle in checking out women. I admit, a wide-eyed stare accompanied by gaping mouth, a lolling tongue, and a large trickle of drool is not subtle. Saying things like “Check out that rack!” is not subtle. Yes, men can be totally gross.

But those are not eyedar deployment situations. Eyedar detects male visual scamming no matter how subtle. In the purely hypothetical example above, “Oscar” was looking just slightly off to the right of B’s shoulder. He did not move his head, or even shift the direction of his glance: the waitress just walked into his field of vision, I swear it! It was completely innocent!

Nothing escapes eyedar.

If she told you, she'd have to kill you.
How do they do it? Do we men have a “tell”? A slight dilation of the pupil, a slight reddening of the skin around the neck? A barely perceptible change in breathing rate? A telltale bulging vein? Or do women just have a sixth sense?

Whatever it is, men don’t have a clue. And women deny having eyedar, they deny deploying it, they play dumb when you try to call them on it. If you say, “There! How did you know I was checking that woman out?” the answer is always, “Well, duh, you couldn’t have been more obvious.”

How such a large group can maintain so impenetrable a veil of secrecy around such an important intelligence technology is itself a mystery. National security secrets are not so well kept.

It’s not just your wife or girlfriend.
Here’s the crazy thing about eyedar. It isn’t limited to your wife or significant other, or someone with a claim on your sexual fidelity. It can – and will – be deployed by any woman at any time. It can be your friend’s wife during a double date. It can be your colleague from the office. It can be your aunt. The point is this: “Go ahead, check out that woman’s behind. You can be as discreet as you like, but you will be busted.”


No comment on the Eyedar. But congratulations on the tenure.
Thanks, Phantom.

I accidentally posted an incomplete draft of this post last night. Perhaps the explanation of "eyedar" makes more sense now.
It does make more sense now, yes! But I still can't comment. Because then I'd have to kill you, right?
I read the more incomplete version of this post and was indeed puzzled by it. Anyway: Congratulations on the tenure!
This hypothetical Oscar guy sounds like a real prick.

hmmmm.....You see I think you have it wrong. Men THINK they are being subtle, that they are just taking a "glance", but when a beautiful woman walks into the room any semblance of male self awareness simultaneously leaves -they have no IDEA what they look like during that split second spent staring at a hot babe.

Have you ever been talking to someone and breifly noticed a slight far away look? a look that says "I was just thinking about something else"?....sometimes, you may even realise that the person you are talking to missed your most recent comment.Its very brief and subtle, but we have ALL experienced it.

WELL, women have learnt through experience (usually trial and error) that when they see this "look" in the man they are talking to, there is only ONE explanation....

Thank-you (written by a woman with fully functional eyedar)
Qualal: I wonder whether there is a way to measure objectively whether men ever have any subtlety at all when checking out a woman.

However, if the choice of explanation is (a) men are always oafs or (b) women have this special power, why would you prefer (a)?
I don't see men as oafs oscar.....I think I must simply refuse to beleive this "eyedar" is a special female skill. Have you ever tried doing it yourself? with male friends? you may even have an advantage (takes one to know one), I guess not....chances are if there was a babe they would point it out to you (if they were a decent friend) before you get the chance to try your skills. I see nothing wrong with men checking out other women....I think its cute actually (a small weakness ;-) ).... its what your man does NEXT that tells you whether he is decent or not (walk over and start chatting her up is not recommended for example)....
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