The Gaze As Game

Normally people pretend to accept a pretence. A big exception is with the Offence of looking at a woman’s body. For if the man pretends not to have been looking, he fails. In fact the biggest Offence seems to have been the pretence of not looking. If the man instead grins openly, and some other criteria are satisfied (like being good-looking), he gets a pass and perhaps even a lay. One of the things that seems to be going on here is a sorting system designed to filter out the literal-minded; that is, the emotional intelligence so demanded by women includes disregarding what they actually say. This can only be because they have privileged knowledge concerning the true value of what they say. It seems strange that they should reward men only for realising what liars they are, but this does appear to be the reality.

Showing skin offers a woman two benefits, or three if we count coolth; the pleasure of male attention plus the pleasure of chewing out the less attractive givers of male attention. The former is validation, the latter, in a zero-sum system (a demerit to you is fungible with a gold star to me), is a feeling of moral superiority.

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