On the subway last night, I kept stealing glances at an almost Ideal Future Customer whose shirt dress was unbuttoned practically to her waist and who wasn’t wearing a camisole. I wanted to study her to determine (a) whether to give her a fit-testing invitation; (b) what cup size she was; and (c) how she could be so deceived by fashion magazines as to think she should be seen in public like that.

Unfortunately, every time I tried to study her, she seemed to be looking at me. I finally gave up. And then I found this Jezebel post when I got home: A Girl’s Guide to Respectful Girl-Watching. The article didn’t give me pointers on how to discretely make the determinations I wanted to make on the train, but it did capture the awkwardness of the experience with this quote.

Similarly, sometimes you catch women staring at your breasts. And even if it doesn’t feel sexual or predatory, it’s a little weird. Because you’ve caught her doing something, and you both know it, and you don’t have necessarily the visceral sense of violation you would if it were a man, and you wonder if maybe the weirdness is just conditioned because, what? They’re just breasts – but it’s weird nonetheless. The difference is, when it’s a woman, I probably won’t reflexively cross my arms.