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question for ladies(59 posts)

question for ladiesDougSloan
Sep 10, 2003 9:03 AM
When women wear revealing clothing, particularly showing cleavage, are men supposed to look or not? Particularly in professional situations, I feel compelled not to look, but then the little devil on my shoulder says "hey, she wouldn't have worn that unless she expected guys to look." So, what's the expectation? Look, but not gawk? Look, but don't get caught? Try like hell not to look?


Damned if you do...damned if you don'tColnagoFE
Sep 10, 2003 10:10 AM
Women wear that stuff to get men to look but are offended if you actually do. Wear dark sunglasses and have at it is all the advice I can give.
How are you damned if you don't? (nm)czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 10:14 AM
they wonder if you are snubbing them by not looking (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 10, 2003 12:56 PM
I'm not a lady, but I couldn't resist a comment....Starliner
Sep 10, 2003 10:15 AM
In a public situation, one's appearance is clearly subject to public scrutiny. Clothing (or lack of), hairstyle (or lack of), etc. So go ahead and look, and don't feel embarassed about it when you get caught looking. If you enjoyed what you saw, give the lady an approving smile and then continue on with your business.
The offense is only feignedKristin
Sep 10, 2003 10:27 AM
Depending on the stakes (other women or perhaps SO in the vacinity), depends on how the lady will respond to you in her "offense." Seriously. People choose what to put on in the morning. Sometimes I feel pressure from society to wear less, but its still my choice. I know how I look in that black sweater.

I do know some guys who are dedicated Christians who have a sincere beef with what women wear. They are honestly trying not to think of women in sexual ways. But with today's trends, its sometimes hard.

Now y'all know how I feel hanging out after a club ride. You tell me, "I'll keep it where I want it. Just don't look." Are you serious? How can I not? And besides, isn't that why you put on those silly tight shorts to begin with? Admit it. You want me to look. So if the mens answer to me is, "Just don't look," then I guess I will respond in kind.
Ooo, tight black sweater! I likie! >;0)Live Steam
Sep 10, 2003 10:43 AM
Come on. Dedicated Christians? Who are they tryin' to kid? "Try not to think about women in sexual ways". LOL! Did one of them try using that line on you?

Kristin! I'm shocked! You actually look? Gasp! Ok guys, hide your package:O)
That's probably easy for you to doStarliner
Sep 10, 2003 10:58 AM
Hiding your package, that is ->!
Now why would that be? Care to elaborate? nmLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 11:00 AM
your second paragraphJS Haiku Shop
Sep 10, 2003 11:30 AM
brings out the adolescent in me.

i'm doing the beavis cornholio thing at my desk.

are you threatening me?
Ya' know I missed it the first time aroundLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 11:44 AM
Do you think the use of the word "hard" was Freudian? :O)
LOL, and 'have a sincere beef with what women wear' nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 10, 2003 11:49 AM
Hahaha! Beef! Hahaha! I think it was Freudian :O) nmLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 11:57 AM
Discrete packagingSpoiler
Sep 10, 2003 12:01 PM
"You tell me, "I'll keep it where I want it. Just don't look." Are you serious? How can I not? And besides, isn't that why you put on those silly tight shorts to begin with? Admit it. You want me to look."

I usually twist and form my package in such a way that it forms the seven digits of my phone number. This way, I kill to birds with one stone.
Ahhhhhh! LOL!!!! You ever think of using ...Live Steam
Sep 10, 2003 12:12 PM
a labeling gun? It would be less painful :O)
Are you trying to impress me? nmKristin
Sep 10, 2003 12:18 PM
He has me impressed :O) nmLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 12:19 PM
rather, "speak softly and..." ;-) nmDougSloan
Sep 10, 2003 1:40 PM
Want see my phone number?Spoiler
Sep 10, 2003 4:42 PM
I'd need viagra if I need to include the area code.
Sep 10, 2003 11:07 AM
I swear there are all sorts of exhibitionistic women out there- they want to be seen. Some "appear" to have a love/hate relationship with it and love talking about some sleazy guy staring at her, but again, she can call even more attention to herself by talking/complaining about it and can revalidate her need to be reinforced by others in her "attractiveness"- all while saying she should just be able to wear "whatever she likes."
That is called ambivalence.Kristin
Sep 10, 2003 11:13 AM
But if I recall correctly, you're the super-duper x-social worker dude, so I'm sure you understand about it. If we look at the example you gave without humor, its actually a kinda sad position for the girl to be in.
without humorfiltersweep
Sep 10, 2003 3:13 PM
well, most people don't exactly wear whimsical office attire... and often it is a bit sad.

I encountered a woman who "secretly" told everyone about her "fake breasts" when she had them done, and she has been "showing them off" ever since. She was a hottie before hand, but now she looks cartoonish/freakish (doesn't help that there is an eating disorder tossed in for good measure).

Let's be realistic- and there is nothing perjorative about being exhibitionistic in itself... I certainly have my own share of such behaviors- but call it what it is. There are all sorts of half-naked "hotspots"- such as the beach, the health club, popular running paths, nightclubs, etc... and I'm not condemning anyone who wants to "show off" a hard-earned beautiful body in an appropriate venue. I am a bit put off by games people sometimes play... (Hey everyone, look at ME!/Why don't you take a picture, it'd last longer)
Well stated. Women have immense sexual power, they need to128
Sep 11, 2003 6:29 AM
use it responsibly, as most do, and not as a force to manipulate men (and other women,) and the peddler could stop exploiting it to sell trinkets too. Maybe that's why the engorged member is as cloaked as it is, it is the corrorlary male power sex organ which can be used very irresposibly as well.

"Stop using sex as a weapon"
Sep 11, 2003 7:37 AM
There's a rural highway in California near here - highway 128. Any connection with your choice of web moniker?
Sep 11, 2003 8:16 AM
Rt128: America's Technology Highway (of Death)

No, I adopted it from the below song really. One of my alltime favorites. The irony of riding a bike on rt. 128 was my thought- here in MA (actually I'm working in Maine right now) 128 (alsoI95) is a hellacious, savage perimeter road around the metro-boston area jammed with tech co. (polaroid etc...)solar slowdowns, curiosity factors, 4 lanes, speed limit 55 we do 80 in the left lane, and it always curves. It's wild. What's your 128 like?

Please listen to this song very loudly at 80mph. It sounds best when on the radio and you're all alone at night.

Album: Modern Lovers 1973
(Written by Jonathan Richman)
The Modern Lovers

I'm in love with Massachusetts
And the neon when it's cold outside
And the highway when it's late at night
Got the radio on
I'm like the roadrunner

I'm in love with modern moonlight
128 when it's dark outside
I'm in love with Massachusetts
I'm in love with the radio on
It helps me from being alone late at night
It helps me from being lonely late at night
I don't feel so bad now in the car
Don't feel so alone, got the radio on
Like the roadrunner
That's right

Said welcome to the spirit of 1956
Patient in the bushes next to '57
The highway is your girlfriend as you go by quick
Suburban trees, suburban speed
And it smells like heaven(thunder)
And I say roadrunner once
Roadrunner twice
I'm in love with rock & roll and I'll be out all night
That's right

Well now
Roadrunner, roadrunner
Going faster miles an hour
Gonna drive to the Stop 'n' Shop
With the radio on at night
And me in love with modern moonlight
Me in love with modern rock & roll
Modern girls and modern rock & roll
Don't feel so alone, got the radio on
Like the roadrunner
O.K., now you sing Modern Lovers

(Radio On!)
I got the AM
(Radio On!)
Got the car, got the AM
(Radio On!)
Got the AM sound, got the
(Radio On!)
Got the rockin' modern neon sound
(Radio On!)
I got the car from Massachusetts, got the
(Radio On!)
I got the power of Massachusetts when it's late at night
(Radio On!)
I got the modern sounds of modern Massachusetts
I've got the world, got the turnpike, got the
I've got the, got the power of the AM
Got the, late at night, (?), rock & roll late at night
The factories and the auto signs got the power of modern sounds

Right, bye bye!
Shouldn't a woman be able to wear what she likes. . .czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 11:26 AM
. . .without being leered at from behind dark glasses and favored with "approving smiles" from across the conference table?

Look, but don't gawk. Develop your peripheral vision and work on your poker face. Check out the first 30 min. of Roger Dodger.
Shouldn't a man be able to look at whatever he likes...Starliner
Sep 10, 2003 11:50 AM
Your viewpoint is out of balance. You encourage women to be free to express themselves, while suggesting men should shut themselves down and pretend not to notice. No wonder the market for Viagra is booming.
I said to go ahead and look. Just have a little class about it.czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 11:58 AM
Anything on display is fair game for observation. But that does not mean a woman is soliciting your opinion.

I suspect that many women want to be appreciated as objects of beauty and accorded common decency and respect. I see no reason why they can't have both other than lack of subtlety and self-control on the part of certain men.
Sep 10, 2003 12:03 PM
So, instead of saying "nice boobs," say "nice breasts." That's classier, isn't it? ;-)
I really love this thread. More laughs than I can rememberLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 12:18 PM
I think Sir CZAR means no drooling on the conference table and keep you tongue in your mouth :O) "Nice breasts"! How about "nice knockers"? At least it rhymes :O)
I think that's alliteration, not rhyming ;-) nmDougSloan
Sep 10, 2003 12:38 PM
True. True. :O) nmLive Steam
Sep 10, 2003 1:08 PM
You're a lawyer. After grabbing a discrete eyeful. . .czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 12:21 PM
. . .try "nice job on those briefs".
Didn't you mean to say, "Nice breifs?" nmKristin
Sep 10, 2003 12:41 PM
Of course not! (nm)czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 12:50 PM
Class is directly proportional to the sight at handStarliner
Sep 10, 2003 1:10 PM
You did say look, but with a forced lack of feeling or emotion... which practice can perfect. Well, that's the kind of subversion of self which I think all men should reject, unless you want to end up impotent and hating yourself.

I don't see how an approving smile, and getting along with your day, as I suggested in my first reply, demonstrates a lack of subtlety, class, and self-control given the situation Doug described. The amount of subtlety, class, and self-control required of a man ought to roughly match the amount of subtlety and class the woman has taken in her choice of dress.

Really, in a professional setting, women should not be given a blank check to wear what they want. Sexual harassment being a reality, and with probably 99% of cases being against men, we men have really got to be in touch with ourselves (which is contrary to your advice) and watch out for any red flags which might get us into trouble. If a woman is a distraction in an office due to the revealing or enticing nature of her clothing, then that's a problem which should be nipped at the bud.

So, perhaps the answer to Doug should be: report her to the human resources department as a possible sexual harassment suspect.
LOL @ your 3rd paragraphKristin
Sep 10, 2003 1:19 PM
"Sexual harassment being a reality, and with probably 99% of cases being against men, we men have really got to be in touch with ourselves... " hmmmm. Pun intended?

Seriously, I kinda agree. I suspect that Doug has less control over what the women wear in his office, since a good portion of them don't work for his firm. Our office has a pretty tight dress code. No pun. No sleeveless. No sheer. No tight, either.
Sep 11, 2003 6:12 AM
I kind of liked the phrase 'nipped at the bud' myself. When confronted with a sight like Doug described, it can often get confusing trying to figure out whether you're in a green light or a red light situation. %-------- !
Self-control is not the same as repression.czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 1:32 PM
As such, there is no need to repress women to spare you from the "need" to repress yourself.

You sound like you simply must respond to women, and in proportion to your perception of their provocation, or you will automatically become self-hating and impotent. Yipes.

    "Sexual harassment being a reality, and with probably 99% of cases being against men, we men have really got to be in touch with ourselves (which is contrary to your advice). . ."

By all means, be in touch with yourself. Just try to keep it discrete. Keep both hands on top of the table until the coast is clear.
You don't (or won't) get itStarliner
Sep 10, 2003 2:46 PM
You equate a business dress code with repressing women (paternalistically regarded as victims), I see it as setting a boundary of responsibility (women as responsible partners).

Clothing is a choice. A code simply limits that choice which is entirely different from repressing, or holding back the person from making that choice.

Sexual instinct is not a choice, unless you're a believer in the doctrine of the religious right. Hence, visual potential turn-ons such as bare cleavage can result in someone having to repress (or as you say, use self-control) their emotions.

Given a work situation, to force a man to utilize self-control over his instincts is no less inappropriate than asking a woman to listen to bad sex jokes or to have to view a raunchy calendar or to have to deflect unwanted social advances.

It all boils down to the notion that there is a time and a place for everything. At work, there have got to be boundaries - on both sides of the aisle.
Yep. I'm not a victim of my instincts, and don't want to be.czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 3:25 PM
And neither do I think anyone else should be. Transcending our animal instincts is the hallmark of human development. Nobody has had to "force" me to excercise self-control since I was a child.

Clothing is a choice. Restricting choices is restricting freedom. And restricting freedom is repression. And for what?

Work is certainly not the place to be leering at women. . . .so don't. If you are capable of self-control, you don't need women to change their style. If you are not, then changing their style won't matter. You'll just figure out some other way to satisfy your prurient urges.
You sound more and more like a victim of denialStarliner
Sep 10, 2003 5:31 PM
The issue is, whether one should have to work in an environment where distractions such as sexy attire exist.

A man should have the right to be free of such distractions at work.

If you still don't get it, then I'd like to send you a calendar for you to hang on the wall in your office at work. It should give you a real world opportunity to try out on your co-workers your rationale about repression and the restriction of freedom of choice and expression.
Sounds like you want to believe your immaturity is normal.czardonic
Sep 10, 2003 6:19 PM
Heck, maybe it is. Doesn't mean it is desirable.
"A man should have the right to be free of such distractions..."Kristin
Sep 11, 2003 5:55 AM
Is that one of our inalienable rights?
problem isDougSloan
Sep 11, 2003 6:29 AM
Problem is that it might be taken more as an invitation, not just a distraction. Getting that one wrong these days is very bad on many levels.

Its really quite simple.czardonic
Sep 11, 2003 7:49 AM
In the workplace, it is never an invitation. Period. Even when it is, it isn't.
George Orwell lives onStarliner
Sep 11, 2003 8:16 AM
Imagine living in a world where what is, isn't, and what isn't, is... incredible how disconnected you are on this issue
When did I say anything that isn't, is?czardonic
Sep 11, 2003 8:26 AM
And what is so Orwellian about focusing on work at work? I don't even have to imagine it.

What I have to imagine is a workplace stalked by unrepentant horn-dogs who sincerely believe that keeping their libido's in check is the responsibility of everyone except themselves.
So no means yes? The issue includes womens' stimulus128
Sep 11, 2003 11:10 AM
as well as mens' response. You will need to talk about what a woman does, and why (social, media influences/expectations), not only how a man responds. I think we're all in agreement re men: be cool.

Sounds like your applying a race analysis (never judge from the cover, we are who we are, immutable charateristics)to a gender issue (the cover is eveything in relation to it's context -work, pool party, moon launch-, you are who you present yourself to be and as you want to be viewed, mutable charateristics-dress, and attitude as creating desire-).

Not to mention, sounds like your defending an oppressive social construction: woman as sexualized, object of desire. Largely through clothing and eating influences.

Let's say a shaved metro-sexual in hot pants and tank top, nice and turgid bulge implant- with tight boy boots and a chain through his septum walks in to the Central Standand Co. board room, how are those to take him who presents himself thus who cannot dis-join what they see from what they think as you or I might be able to through keen intellectualism and soaring educational debt? (it's an ignornant board room, republicans, say)
If they don't hear him out, they are narrow-minded idiots.czardonic
Sep 11, 2003 12:01 PM
Your corporate stooges, that is. And they are a perfect illustration of the lazy-minded, ill-disciplined near-Pavlovian mentality that I have no interest in enshrining as a guiding principle for our society.

It is your argument that furthers the notion that women should be sexualized objects of desire by taking it for granted that men will and should see them that way if they adopt a certain mode of dress.
You're sublimating/intellectualizing, believing humans are asexual128
Sep 11, 2003 12:27 PM
and non-resposive to sexual clues.

You still don't address the female or our board-room boy when she presents herself sexually. Is there nothing to this side of the equation? I dress for an interview in a suit. I expect to be taken seriously. It is reasonable to treeat the mind as the associating machine that it is. And sex is a very powerful associator.

My argument is not should be sexualized, but are. To the point of abusive exploitation. It is a reasonable expectation that sexual beings will have a Pavlovian response given the correct cue, male or female. It is just as reasonable to anticipate and respect that association relative to context.

I hear you, men are not hyper-sexed up bufoons, that too is a gender stereotype. And that they will respond to sexual cues of a female may be an unfair expectation. None the less, you will be viewed as you present yourself and if that is sexual presentation (assuming "sexual" has not become 'de-centered' to the point of meaninglessness) there will be a Human Sexual Response.

If we are desensitised to every cue, we loose our humanity and even the words we 'damn well better hear (him) out' would by your reasoning also lose their meaning.
Instincts can't be eliminated. But they can be managed.czardonic
Sep 11, 2003 12:51 PM
That is my only point. I don't pretend that we are not inevitably inclined towards certain reactions. I simply hold that men are capable of saying to themselves "Zow, that is hot! Okay, back to work."
this came up in a prior officeDougSloan
Sep 10, 2003 1:38 PM
In my prior office, I was sort of the de facto partner in charge of personnel. We had a personnel manager, a very nice 55'ish, lady, who was quite the prude.

One young female attorney at the office had the body of a porn star, and frequently dressed the part. I worked directly with her, and when sitting across a desk discussing a brief I found it very distracting not to look, or at least be caught looking.

Well, the personnel manager had noticed the same thing, and also had received complaints from other female employees about this (not sure what their gripe was). The personnel manager thought that I should speak to this lawyer. I said "not in a million years. I'm not about to go there." Good thing, too, because a year or so later I had to fire her. So, that I had the personnel manager do was distribute a policy that everyone should wear appropriate professional attire, which included in part a requirement that no part of breasts be visable (this part buried in pages of other standards). This lawyer never "got it", though, and nothing changed. Still, I never, ever would have said anything directly. That scenario is just too horrific to imagine.

Now, this question was not directly related to that situation, but sort of the same thing, on a "smaller scale." Bottom line, doing nothing and keeping my mouth shut is probably the only wise option.

Were wet T-shirts allowed?Spoiler
Sep 10, 2003 2:43 PM
That's always my favorite dress-code loophole.
Sep 10, 2003 2:45 PM
I think the standards were phrased in terms of garments suitable to conceal...

Now, this was not the standard I would have picked. This was only in response to complaints and potential legal actions, keep in mind.

Ahh that takes me back.53T
Sep 11, 2003 9:43 AM
Some ladies can make anything look sexy. Remeber, Farrah wore a one piece.
that was porn back thenDougSloan
Sep 11, 2003 9:46 AM
Also, don't forget the fishnet bathing suit that Cheryl Tiegs wore in some photo in some magazine. Pure joy for a 15 year old at the time.

Sports Illustrated? (nm)53T
Sep 11, 2003 10:00 AM
Bring out the U.S. burkaMR_GRUMPY
Sep 10, 2003 12:51 PM
We could have a fashion show with Madonna as the star attraction......... That will take care of those "sinfull thoughts."