816 Opinion

May 13, 2014

Tony Rizzo | Stop ogling the girl, and take a close look in the mirror, man

It’s too bad that at 12, daughter knows when a guy’s look turns into a leer.

If you’re a woman you probably know the look.

It’s that leering glance that scans you up and down as you pass.

Most of you, I suspect, have learned to ignore that kind of unwanted visual attention.

It’s a lesson that no sixth-grader should have to learn just yet.

Unfortunately for my 12-year-old daughter, learn it she did the other evening as we walked together.

Being male, and thus, somewhat less perceptive than the average female, I totally missed the intent of the guy who turned to look at us as we walked by.

For a completely different reason I’ve grown accustomed to being stared at whenever I’m out in public with one of my daughters.

I’m white and they are black.

People aren’t used to seeing that, and consequently, their eyes sometimes linger past the limit of politeness. I understand that it’s usually out of curiosity, so I just accept it and move on.

That’s what I thought the other night when she and I came around the corner and saw a guy waiting to cross the street. I made eye contact with him and nodded. I think I mumbled “how you doing,” or something similar.

No big deal.

And I was merrily on my way.

But my daughter saw something else.

As we passed, she later told me, mister wolf eyes gave her the once over.

You sure he wasn’t just looking at us together?, I asked her.

No dad, he was creeping me out.

By then we were in the car and he was well across the street. Otherwise, I might have yelled something like, “Hey jerk, she’s 12!”

Although I probably wouldn’t have exactly said jerk.

I know that it’s a sad rite of passage for every young woman to endure being looked at like that. Honking car horns and rude shouted comments will no doubt be in her future as well.

Sixth grade, though.

She still rides her bike around the block and plays with the other neighbor children.

If you’re the kind of creep who ogles a child like that maybe you should focus your gaze somewhere else, like a mirror.

If you’re honest with yourself, you may not like what you see.

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