As women, we are accustomed to being judged by our looks. We know that men have decided to approach, pursue, or get to know us better based upon the way we look. We have resented this. It just seems superficial. It invalidates us as a whole person, with value on the inside as well beauty on the outside. Webster’s New World dictionary defines superficial as: “concerned with and understanding only the easily apparent and obvious.”
The facts may be that we, as women, may have been superficial in our own understanding of what men see when they look at us. Rather than being superficial, it appears that men are super-perceptive.
No doubt, men have a definite and sometimes overwhelming response to women’s faces and figures. But as men age and develop their perception and appreciation of other qualities in women grows rapidly. Surprisingly, these qualities of the inside are visible on the outside. It is extraordinary what men can tell just by looking at a woman.
When a man looks at a woman’s body, he can see much more than the size and shape of her various parts. He can tell by the way she carries and moves her body if she is aggressive or receptive, patient or accustomed to being in control. He can tell if she is self-confident, or unsure of herself, putting on airs, or relaxed and comfortable. A man can tell when a woman lives through her body — expressing herself in movement and action — or when she drags her body around behind her. He can tell what she thinks about herself. As one man stated it, “I can tell if she thinks she’s beautiful, thinks she’s ugly, or doesn’t think about herself at all.”
When a man looks at a woman’s face, he can see much more than the shape and organization of her facial features. Women who are bitter have what men call “a pinched look.” Resentment develops “edges” in a woman’s face and makes her look “sharp.” She may be described as “hard looking.” She looks intimidating; no matter how nice and well-organized her features might be otherwise.
When we are upset or angry our faces can have the look of being clouded or muddled. Men tend to keep their distance when we look like this. On the other hand, when a woman is happy, her face gives off a light or glow that draws people to her. Being at peace — with herself or the world — is reflected in a “softness” of the cheeks, jaw, mouth and eye area that makes a woman look approachable.
A woman’s eyes show everything from sadness to joy, skepticism to acceptance. When we are critical or judgmental, our eyes show it — the pupils contract and our eyes look “hard.” When we are interested in something or someone, our eyes shine or sparkle. Passion makes our eyes “light up.” Most men have said that the most attractive feature in any woman is her eyes. One man in his 30s stated, “The most extraordinary thing is to look into a woman’s eyes and see that she accepts you.” Another man in his late 40s said, “When a woman looks at you and her eyes are sparkling, it’s like she gives you a small piece of her spirit.”
Our inner attitude is also reflected outwardly in our lips. They get pinched or pursed and narrowed when we are angry, upset or resentful. Then there is the magical effect of a woman’s smile. Not just any smile. A man on a workshop panel stated, “You can tell if a woman is just smiling because she is supposed to and it’s false. The best thing is when a woman smiles at you, and the smile was meant just for you.” Many men hold the same sentiment about a woman’s genuine smile that Jack Nicholson expressed in the movie As Good As It Gets: “She’s the kind of woman that when she smiles at you, you have a life.”
I encourage you to talk to the men in your life about this. Do some of your own research. You’ll be surprised how perceptive men are. Ask them, “What can you tell about a woman just by looking at her?” Then listen and learn. If you’re feeling open and curious, you might ask, “What could you tell just by looking at me?”
Remember, if you’re looking for a specific response, it won’t be safe for the man to answer. I asked Greg, my husband, what he saw that fateful first time he looked at me in 1991. Greg said, “I saw happy...strong...friendly.” That was before we’d even said “Hello!”
So when men judge us by our looks, please understand that it is much more than the various shapes and sizes that make up our physical presence. Our “looks” really do manage to reflect who we are on the inside. A man may be sexually attracted by a shapely bust or pair of legs, or by sexual energy being widely broadcast. More significantly, he could be charmed and enchanted by the happiness, confidence, passion and acceptance that may be written all over you.