You can learn a lot from watching people. And you can learn even more from watching people who are watching people – particularly when they notice that you are watching them.
I noticed a young woman walking down the street yesterday. I’d seen her before and had noticed that she has a noticeable bottom (stay with me now). Then I noticed that a guy was walking behind the girl.
When he noticed that I had noticed that he had noticed the young lady’s bottom and was continuing to notice it as he followed her down the street, he put an interesting expression on his face. I interpreted it as a mixture of self consciousness, embarrassment and shame, but in fact it could just have been wind and sun-burn.
Today I noticed another young lady who had another (obviously, unless it’s possible to share detachable bottoms) noticeable bottom (yeah, I know – but stick with me – there is a point to all this). Walking behind her was another guy. I thought that he had noticed the girl’s bottom so I sped up a little to see what expression he had on his face.
As I drew alongside he noticed me watching him and he turned and smiled at me and then a second later said hello. I said hi back and then put my head down and hurried on.
The thoughts I had, when he noticed me, were … interesting. I didn’t want to be noticed in this way. I wanted to be the observer without being observed. I wanted to be in charge of the event. I felt flustered, disempowered and obscurely ashamed. I felt as if I had been caught with my hand in the wrong cookie jar.
These two episodes have led me to the realisation that other people might not welcome my attention on their faces and bottoms.
But do some people want to be noticed? And how can one tell who they are?