Let me admit up front: I’m not predisposed to “Like” any article uncritically repeating the claim…
Rob McGee

Males, both straight and gay, like to stare and stare and stare at those we find sexually appealing, because we get a bit chubbed up in the pants from it. Even a fleeting partial erection feels very nice, and looking at sexy persons tends to produce one.

Ah, to be seventeen again. Because this is a big part of what I remember about that age of boy-man transformation: poor impulse control (especially in the groin region), lack of restraint over the direction of one’s visual fixations, and that utter innocence stemming from lack of experience to come later and instruct otherwise, that to find anyone in the abstract nothing other than sexually stimulating, automatically means they are worth giving a second glance.

You call us “males.” This rather bland and clinical nomenclature absolutely absolves itself of regarding any distinction between the behavior of a boy, and of a grown man, as worthy of mention. A boy stares because a boy is curious, excited, assessing prospects, fantasizing about what those might be, or just because he lacks the manhood to know any better, whatever. A man who has been around a block or two among “males” or females, gay and straight, begins to have it dawn on him that to stare, or stare back, or take being stared at as any kind of compliment, is really little more than still acting like a seventeen-year-old boy. Sure, many men have trouble outgrowing that trait and some others, but the fact that boys will be boys, mostly adds up to their not knowing how to be a man yet, if they ever will.

A grown man is someone who has learned where his impulses can lead him, may have been led there by them, and that where impulse leads, trouble and harm to himself and to others are almost certain to follow and in short order. A grown man knows what it is to separate the understanding that someone is “attractive” from a feeling that he is the one being attracted or that following up on it is a good idea. A man is someone whose powers of observation have been disciplined beyond the auto-erotic, who can look at the hottest woman in the room and not first see prospect, but trouble on heels, and of an order and magnitude that don’t stop being troublesome any time soon. A man has the kind of experience to recognize that an attractive woman may well be the most hazardous creature on earth to indulge in or act on fantasy about, and for so many observable reasons that not to stare is probably the most dignified and self-honoring thing he can do.

And while we’re on the topic of the presumptuously auto-erotic, the categories of humanity I have seen consistently presuming the most shamelessly toward the objects of their desires, have been gay men, and attractive women.

I have had more than my share of encounters with either one, who simply assume that because of whatever is going on in their pants having spotted me, that it is just the most natural thing in the world to assume that I will gratify their defining me in terms of their desires and not of my own humanity. I have had to set each of them straight on that score, way more than once. I’m not familiar with too much of that going on having to do with a grown man who has to be told to stop looking at a pretty woman like a thing and not a person. But I do know what it means to be prey, in the eyes of predators both male and female, and to have it incumbent on me to instruct them in some of the basics of adult conduct.

Get a group of women, or a group of horny queers either one, to talking about what they find attractive in a man, and you might learn a thing or two about what it is to decline to look at others like fellow human beings. When that sort of talk even rears its ugly head among the straight men I have spent a lifetime among, it is without exception one of the men ourselves who call a halt to it, as just not being worthy of the name of Manhood.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Ron Collins’s story.