…Hello Ladies; look at me, now look down, now back to me, now think about the one you are with, now back to me. Look inward; back up, where are you? You are in the gym looking at me; stop that. You’re now at a bar with the man your man could be, if you would only look up, that’s me, not your man, but a man who wants you to look back because I am looking at you. I am not on horse, but rather driving in a car, looking at you through the window. Look at me, then away, then back to me because I haven’t taken my eyes off of you, look at the man next to you, he is staring at you too, now look at me, I am now staring at someone else…
The paragraph above is not just an allusion to the “Old Spice Commercial” but also an exaggerated description of common exchanges between people. We can discuss why your inner monologue of the above paragraph was read in the voice of a British accented, muscular black man a different time. What is important to gather from the first paragraph is that it symbolizes the social disorder eye-contact creates on a daily basis.
Eye-contact is one of the most powerful gestures we have; claiming connection or disdain almost immediately. With eye-contact, there is definitely a fine line between being stoic and charming, and being creepy and weird. Hold a glance at the right person, and you could be the former. Stare way too much at the wrong person, and you could be the latter. Both situations are usually accompanied by attraction to determine the outcome. The causality that presents itself before and after eye-contact can be overwhelming socially and emotionally. However, the main point I want to contrast is the difference between looking at people and establishing eye-contact with them.
When I look at someone, I notice them, the same way I notice a dog or a lamp or a street sign. There is no connection made other than acknowledging the existence of another human life. When I go to the bar, I notice people so I can better orientate myself in the scene. When I go to the store, I notice people in order to progress in my goal for being there. When I go to the gym, I notice people so I can plan out my routine so my time at the gym is more efficient. We also notice people’s attributes; that person is pretty, that person has long hair, that person is tall, that person seems funny, that person looks scary, etc. Noticing someone and their attributes and having that same person notice you and your attributes is meaningless until you make eye-contact and establish a connection with them.
When I look at someone directly in their eyes from afar or up close, the surrounding environment and anything or anyone else around become peripheral; concentrating specifically on the eyes of another’s soul. One slight wavier up or down, left or right, one off cued blink or head tilt and the connection, the invisible line forming the path from eyes to eyes, could be broken. This is powerful; eye-contact can be used to single out one person amongst a crowd, block visual and audio distractions and face chance as the timing it took the other person to make eye-contact with you can be termed nothing less than mighty. Eye-contact also allows you to show your hand to the other person before any words are exchanged. If the eye-contact is accepted, then there is a good chance conversation will be too.
Making eye-contact goes beyond noticing someone. I notice objects around my home; epitome of meaningless. Creating a link with another person through eye-contact also creates tension of what will be next. Taking time to single another person out and have that act reciprocated must have meaning. We must keep that meaning in sight and never be blind to notice the effect eye-contact has on the world.
…To further accentuate the power of eye-contact, the other day I was in spin class. I was the only guy in a group of about twenty women. One girl, who I have “noticed” in the gym before came into the class late; she was obviously embarrassed for disrupting class. I usually cycle with my head up, looking around and she noticed me noticing her. As she started getting on the bike, I established eye-contact with her, flashed a smile and gave a wink. As she smiled back, she slipped off the bike and fell right into two other women, stopping the class. I am not 100% sure whether this happened because of the smile or the wink, but I am 100% sure we had made eye-contact…