I've found myself admiring women, especially my age, that are more tasteful, not narcissistic, and not reserved necessarily, who enjoy having another intellect to speak with. Though this intelligence is not the end-all-be-all. Sexuality is important and a healthy amount of attention and recognition is warranted. How a man is suppose to converse in this way, without insulting a woman's intelligence while appreciating her physical beauty, makes a man the proverbial bull in a china shop. I will speak from an experience that I had this afternoon. I was at an outdoor table during a farmer's market, participating as a vendor. A woman close to my age visits my stand and talks to me about the literary world and its processes. We share our writings briefly, talk about writing workshops, and how we attended the same class at the same college. I give her my business card and she leaves me her email on a notepad I had with me. We continued to speak during this short exchange, but I noticed at this point that she had started listening more. I was carrying the remainder of the conversation for what seemed longer than expected. I was exhaling dead air when I noticed what she did but may not have intended. Her blouse and breasts were suspended in the air, while she wrote over my notepad. For the sake of being subtle and obvious at the same time, a woman might bend over at the waist, showing a drop-down view into her blouse top. She might even lean into it for a moment longer. Never mind her looking to see if you saw what you did, since you were quick to see that she did notice the direction of your eyes. All is according to plan, right? It is moments like these that test the male gaze. Not the ogling male gaze that leads to the exclusive intent for sexual pleasure. The male gaze that is not a media affectation and rather an honest point of sexual awakening or sexual marking. The woman wants to earn his attention, in equal parts intelligence and equal parts beauty. The discrepancy here could be one of two things. 1) A woman expects to be known more for her intelligence, leading the man to guess what to make of her sexuality towards him or 2) a woman expects to be known more for her beauty, leading the man to guess what to make of her intelligence. Imbalances and intentions vary between the sexes, every man and woman has different ways of communicating. I understand that showing your love for someone is different from saying you love them, but both cases do not hold less meaning than the other. Of course, it all relies on intent; I could say I love you to anyone, but it matters to someone if I truly mean it. The problem here is, how much of this duality leads to any meaningful connection being made? Flirting is a higher form of flattery, but when do we know someone is being serious? Why is speaking our minds exactly not a sexy thing to do? It is in my sexuality to be attracted to women. I appreciate their beauty as a man. Rebooting will not be difficult in that this attraction is more warranted than one behind a screen, since it shows I am actively engaging with sexuality in the real world, with real women. The potential risk you want to prevent is turning predatory as much as one might be relentless on a binge. It is a double standard for both sexes to say, "you can't touch this, not yet." There are urges and there are needs, the difference is that the first is selfish and the latter is meaningful priority. I may have mistaken the moment for something not-so-innocent. I could have forced myself to turn the woman in my presence into something objectively sexual. Whether it was actual seconds I made longer in my mind or her simply acting her natural self without intent, I did notice she started following me on social media. Being polite, I follow her on social media. I see that she has a boyfriend and a modest, but cheeky array of photos. It is not my place to assume or know who she is without social media, and I cannot question why she was alone without her boyfriend. All I am saying is that it did not explain her intent, another thing that is not mine to know, unless she has something for me to know in the first place. Either way, that is more her information to share than it is mine to learn by asking (I have no reason to doubt her, I just met her). What do you think? Is it my residuals talking or is there a method to the madness?