I went to my bank today to pick up my debit card. Now this is a local neigbourhood bank and everyone there knows me. We went through the usual salams and how are yous and the lady in charge coochi-cooed Naddu and we chit chatted as she asked me to take a seat for a few minutes so she could enable my card. Less than 3 feet away on my left side sat 2 ladies, attired in the abayas- the long coats- but no scarves or hijab- just a normal dupatta covering their head. As I sat and waited, one of them looked at me and then turned to the other and said something who also turned to look at me blank expression. And they kept looking for the next 3 minutes , not bothering to be discreet or apologetic about their behaviour, while I sat there, feeling increasingly uncomfortable, followed by irritated. Just to clarify, I was not wearing odd clothes and they were not looking at my baby- pretty much the only two reason I can think of for being looked at so thoroughly.
We all look. It’s a fact. We look for different reasons but we all do look. It will be the cute baby- in which case a smile becomes important- ot it will be the strange clothes- in which case you need to be be discreet. It could be the very hot guy- discretion again; or a dramatic situation- which would require more behaviour management. And if we have accepted that fact that we do look, then we need to know the rules also.
1. A look should be a few seconds of appraisal long and not an obsessive and obvious stare.
2. A look is a societally accepted way of acknowledging another person. Whatever the reason might be for it. Respect that and behave as it demands.
3. When caught in the act of looking, either smile casually and look away or smile casually and look away. Just common decency.
4. A look is a harmless way of connecting with someone- you WILL know when it turns “off”, weird, uncomfortable or lecherous. Again respond accordingly. You can either simply walk off, give a dirty look before walking off or if you are angry/brave/stupid enough, go up and call it. Your call.
5. A look in the right time and place can lead to anything. Use it, don’t abuse it.