I once wrote a funny little piece about the presence of couples in singles' scenes. I hadn't thought about it in a long time until I happened upon a Yahoo! blog entry by David Zinczenko, "Does a Wandering Eye Mean a Wandering Heart?" Zinczenko explores the age-old problem of men having wandering eyes and what that implies about their intentions (to cheat or not to cheat?). Zinczenko concludes that it's not the brightest idea for a man to openly ogle other women when he's walking hand-in-hand with his significant other (news flash), but doing so doesn't necessarily mean that his heart isn't in the right place. You and I agree on that, David. Looking is not touching, nor does it always imply the intention of touching. So for the most part, significant others can relax about that side of the subject. But there is an aspect to wandering eyes that Zinczenko didn't take into account: the effect those wandering eyes have on those being watched.
It's not exactly breaking news that humans are biologically geared to seek out mates. We all get that hormones and chemistry do their thing - men are visually stimulated, women often look for strong, protective body types, blah blah blah. Okay, so you see a hottie cross your path and you take a peek, no big deal.
But picture this: You're single, it's Saturday night, you're out with friends. You lock eyes with an attractive somebody across the room. Eventually you take the plunge and walk in his or her direction. As you're closing in, someone beats you to the punch. You watch as they casually slide their arms around each other and you optimistically think, maybe they're just friends. No such luck - Mr. or Ms. Attractive is already taken. Your anger starts to percolate and you wonder if they had actually been making eyes at you (of course they were). You begin to think in clichés: ...of all the gin joints in all the world. A feeling of territoriality sweeps over you as you walk back to your friends, who have been waiting to see the results of your bravado. You report the sad news and pack mentality overtakes the group. You curse not couples themselves (unless you're a bitter, If-I'm-Single-Then-Everyone-Else-Must-Be-Too person), but the audacity of such people to be workin' it when they have a ring on their finger or a person on their arm.
The scenario above was inspired by the bravery of countless people on the singles scene who have sucked in their guts, swallowed their pride and made the effort to actually meet someone, only to be foiled in their attempt.
The point is, Mr. Zinczenko, whether or not a passing glance angers your mate - it may well anger, sadden, or outright insult whomever is on the receiving end. C'mon, most of those glances are not fleeting. Very often they last through entire meals, cocktail party conversations, or morph into flirty chitchat in a café waiting line. The single person can never get back those hopeful minutes. So look here, all you coupled-with-wandering-eyes, save your lingering, smoldering, or flirty glances for those who can appreciate the sentiment behind your eyes. Or wear a t-shirt that says, with an arrow pointing to the side, "I'm With Them". That way, singles can write you off and move on. You can keep the fantasy going for as long as you like without wasting anyone's time or dashing anyone's hopes - including mates who think you only have eyes for them. And if you're one of those people who likes to see how many people you can still pick up, to see if you've still got it, know that once singles learn you're taken, the first thing they think and then say to friends, is, "They so don't have it." Not necessarily speaking from experience here, that's just the word on the street. Wink.