Empire Waists

Dear Inconspicuous,

After sweating it out for the last six hours, I took a quick trip across the street to get a coffee with my wife.  While waiting for our beverages I watched two women totally check out this other attractive woman.  I thought it was very cavalier of the two women. 

Simple question: Why do women do this?

I know there’s the clothing aspect and such.  It’s just really intriguing to watch grown adults look one another up and down with so little regard for others who might be watching.  I think one of the women had a thing for the subject of their gazes, but that doesn’t matter.  Is it really so compelling to study another woman’s wardrobe so thoroughly? 

I sort of get why it happens, but I’m perplexed by how obvious some can be.  What’s better is the banter between the two women about the subject’s attire.  The snotty face, the smile, the laughs, etc.  is there a true purpose?


Man in Trenchcoat


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
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44 Responses to Empire Waists

  1. Airam says:

    First! Damn that felt good … haven’t done that in a while!

  2. Airam says:

    I agree. With what you ask? With the whole staring thing. I do it too sometimes BUT if I am doing it because I admire an outfit then I actually compliment the outfit and ask where she got it from so as to not look like a total douche.

  3. egan says:

    Airam – congrats on number! I haven’t had anyone get excited about the top spot in a long time.
    Airam – would you ever compliment a woman by telling her “your dress looks like wallpaper in my mom’s bedroom”? Let’s hope not.

  4. naynayfazz says:

    Women are such bitches.

  5. naynayfazz says:

    Yup, that is all I have to say about it.

  6. Deutlich says:

    Women can be royal b*tches.. that’s really all it comes down to.

  7. Cheryl says:

    It’s jealousy. Unless of course the woman being oggled looked really weird or bad and warranted the stares. If not, she probably knew it was happening..

  8. Chris says:

    Number 8, go me!

  9. Chris says:

    Even more interesting to me that watching woman sizing up each other is watching litle kids do it.

  10. ms chica says:

    Sorry Im too busy watching males watch females, to watch females watching females.

  11. JLee says:

    Women look at other women as much as men look at women (in a different way of course) I always tell other women if I admire something, that way she won’t think I’m being a bitch and staring her down. haha

  12. churlita says:

    I check out women’s outfits all the time but not in a snotty way. I will always go up to someone and tell them that I like their shoes or their dress or whatever.

  13. Aaron says:

    The only thing more exciting than people watching is watching people people-watch other people. And then make jestures that say, “I saw that!”

  14. Oh. my. god. Becky, look at her butt! It’s so big!
    I chalk it up to boredom (or insecurity) with one another, thus they prey on the unsuspecting innocents. And trust, guys do it too!

  15. sizzle says:

    women can be such catty bitches. i wish more women went up to each other and COMPLIMENTED one another. that’d change the whole world i tell ya!

  16. Tall Chick says:

    That sounds kinda catty.
    My friends and I don’t do that. But we did stand around comparing bras with each other the other day. ^_^

  17. Golden says:

    OH man.. I do this with my girlfriends all the time. I’m a nice person, truly. And if I’m being honest I do it sometimes because I’m jealous (man, if I stare long enough I will find something wrong!) I do it sometimes because I CAN NOT BELIEVE WHAT SHE IS WEARING! And.. I do it sometimes because I’m sizing her up, comparing, hoping I look better. It’s pathetic, but true. And, don’t let any other woman tell you otherwise. I speak the truth. Yes, I speak for ALL WOMEN. 😉 Okay, not ALL women.. but.. still.

  18. Golden says:

    Oh, one more thing.. I compliment women on their attire, hair .. whatever is groovy.. all the time. Doesn’t mean I’m not a little jealous sometimes though. I find complimenting them takes the sting out of the internal dialogue that I’m a having with myself.. Ok. I’m done. Really.

  19. Diane Mandy says:

    Women are getting such a bad rap in these comments! I can’t speak for oters, but I tend to peek usually to admire how someone has put an outfit together. Women dress for other women, you know. It would be wrong not to look.

  20. Women can be catty and scary-competitive. My little sister has the maddog up-and-down look MASTERED when it comes to checking out other women and she gets frustrated with me for being so oblivious. She prepared me for Spain though, because here it’s actually PART OF THE CULTURE to check people out, analyze their appearance, etc. I can’t tell you how many times the girls here have been catty. Thanks to my sis, I know how to turn these oblivious doe-eyes into maddog ones >:)

  21. Allison says:

    Women are only bitchy to one another when they feel threatened. It’s rare that I hear a woman verbally tear a new a-hole for a woman who actually does look crappy. It’s just the whole competition thing (I think). Feel free to tell me I’m wrong. Oh, I guess, too, there are some women who are just royally bitchy, naturally (or maybe they’re just threatened by EVERYONE). Seems like a waste of time to me. I think if we all got together (all of us bitches and hoes), we could really help each other smile more!

  22. CAPTCHA is my bi-atch says:

    Maybe these women just got done watching The Bad Girls Club on Oh! and think that it’s cool and OK to be this way.
    I don’t know – I have to agree with a few of your other commenters – women who feel threatened or insecure are usually the culprits of doing things like what you describe. I know for me, I always notice other women (usually more than men do), but it’s to compliment or appreciate. But if I’m having a bad day or feeling especially crappy about myself, I have been known to say not nice things about a woman who probably doesn’t deserve the acidy words spewing from my mouth to my friend.
    p.s. nice recovery post.

  23. Amanda says:

    Its just a fun thing to do. I know I do it all the time with my friends, my mom and even my husband! Of course, if its a person I know, I do also compliment them directly if I like what they are wearing.

  24. Allison says:

    Say what??

  25. justrun says:

    This may have already been said, but women dress for other women. And with that, we judge other women, too. Some more harshly and less open-minded than others, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
    Sometimes, this is a good thing. I was shopping over the weekend and looking at a top when another woman said to me “I bought that and it’s the most comfortable thing I own. You’re going to love it.” When I thanked her it was genuine. Some people really do care and yes, some are just bitches.

  26. Think Jacob says:

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but some women like women. Maybe they were actually “checking her out” simply because she was attractive. That, or they were jealous bitches. One or the other.

  27. Marriage-101 says:

    I check out other women, but it’s usually out of envy or admiration. Such as, “Good Lord look at her ABS! I haven’t seen abs like that since Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation album (circa 1989)”
    or “Where did she get those pants? I NEED a pair.” But sometimes I do tend to stare and utter things such as “Woh, the 80’s called and they want their hair back.” and “are those jeans tight-rolled? I think they ARE!”

  28. qt says:

    All I can say is – I agree with Golden 100%. No, make that 110%

  29. kristen says:

    before meeting one of my clients at work for the first time, my other female co-workers told me the client will check out what i’m wearing. i think she does it to judge the person on how expensive her style is. i don’t think i check girls out head to toe, but i definately look at what other people are wearing. either as a way to get good ideas for myself or in a “i can’t believe she is wearing that” way.

  30. tori says:

    Do you know how many times I have tried to comment here???? I am getting annoyed (not with you).
    I said something about agreeing with Golden. I have one friend who does the mean way and I have told her it makes me very uncomfortable.
    It doesn’t seem to occur to me that anyone has faults until someone else points it out. I guess that is both good and bad because I am totally trusting that what people tell me about themselves is true even when what they are showing me is totally incongruent with what they are saying. It is good in the respect that I never seem to criticize anyone else because I honestly don’t notice that they are dressed funny/have whatever fault until someone else tells me.
    If this doesn’t make sense, rest assured that my first thousand tries at this were much better.

  31. sprizee says:

    I love that song by Simon & Garfunkle called Bleeker Street.

    Voices leaking from a sad cafe
    Smiling faces try to understand
    I saw a shadow touch a shadow’s hand
    On Bleeker Street

    They just don’t write them like they use to.
    Gimme gimme more
    Gimme more
    Gimme gimme more

    Um, yeah. No thanks Britney.

  32. egan says:

    EVERYONE – I love the feedback on this post so far. Just go with your bad selves and share your take some more. There are some very good observations here. Thank you for your contributions. Keep them coming.

  33. Pants says:

    Girls can be such bitches.

  34. Tall Chick says:

    Wait, what? Women dress for other women? One of these days I’m going to have to get a clue.

  35. Golden says:

    Yeah, I seriously don’t dress for other women. I don’t get that.

  36. egan says:

    Naynayfazz – now don’t you think you’re being a bit harsh?
    Deutlich – really? Is that how you honestly feel?
    Cheryl – I’m fairly certain the woman being oggled had no idea. She was too busy shuffling things from hand to hand. My bet is jealousy since the woman was very attractive.
    Chris – number 8? You love Maria.
    Chris – little kids size up adults? I’m not sure it’s the same thing as what I witnessed, but I know kids watch our every move.
    Ms. Chica – yeah, guys are pretty fun to watch as they observe women. I know, I’ve seen it and know myself.
    JLee – really? You always tell a woman? A few others said the same thing in their comments. I’m sure you do compliment, but always?
    Churlita – just like I said to the commenter above you, you always will provide feedback? For some reason I don’t believe this so I apologize for sounding so surprised.
    Aaron – yeah, when I do that I tend to grin and turn my body around as I know I’ve either been busted or as not to ruin my cover.
    Big Bro – oh, I know guys do it too. Guys have slightly different motives if you ask me. For guys it becomes a lust thing, that’s what me thinks.
    Sizzle – from what others have stated here, many do compliment women. I don’t hear (or see) the compliments very often so I’m a bit skeptical about this. A little compliment does go a long way.
    Tall Chick – of course you do the bra comparison thing. So you.
    Golden – hmmm, so this is honestly what you do when you size a woman up? I like it. You speak for all women, how cool.
    Golden – since you’re being so honest, can you really confirm that you compliment women as often as you imply? I have a tough time swallowing this one.
    Diane Mandy – I get the sense there’s quite a bit of debate about the intent of the stare down. So you think women dress for other women? That’s a new one for me. I know as a guy I don’t dress for dudes, but that’s just me. Don’t you dress for yourself?
    Emmaenlighted – oh, the other cultures are quite different in this regard. Even more blatant than the two women I saw.
    Allison – I do sense the comparison and competitive thing. There’s nothing more fun than sitting in a room full of women while an episode of The Bachelor is on.
    Captcha is my Bitch – thank you for the kind words about my recovery post. I like that you fessed up to making snide remarks under your breathe. Hold me!
    Amanda – good on you for admitting this. So you compliment as well? This makes up for when you’re mean right? (wink wink)
    Allison – say what about what?
    Justrun – this “we dress for other women” thing is a new one for me, but someone else said it too. Your example is a great one. I think it’s cool she shared this with you. It makes the decision making process all that easier.
    Think Jacob – oh my god, I never even thought about that. Never. Man, you’re brilliant. That or you’re a huge smart ass and didn’t actually read the content of my first paragraph. Either way, I’m coming to get you.
    Marriage 101 – okay, that’s fair enough. Janet’s abs were amazing back then. Does she have abs again? More importantly, are you part of the Rhthym Nation?
    QT – that Golden women speaks the truth eh? Good to know.
    Kristen – I totally get checking someone out, but just not when they are only two feet away. Let them walk away and then peek. Your co-worker reminds me of a male co-worker of my wife’s. He has this issue with staring at chests though, it’s a nervous habit me thinks when he can’t make eye contact. By the way, welcome to my blog and thanks for the comment.
    Tori – I have to humor you then with this: I am the coolest man you will ever not meet. There, I said it and now you will have to take my word on it. Just try flushing that out of your brain. I haven’t a clue what’s up with TypePad. Maybe you should hit the Post button and not Preview? Egan is being a smart ass.
    Sprizee – I’m so not Bleaker. He’s a muppet.
    Pants – I hear this to be the case. I don’t think any bitchy women blog.
    Tall Chick – is that true? I didn’t know women dress for women.

  37. egan says:

    Golden – the “dressing for other women” thing really confuses me. Is it like a parade of fashion?

  38. tori says:

    1. I’ll never meet you????
    2. I have it noted now that you are a cool smart ass of a man.

  39. sprizee says:

    Double EE, Egan, on both fronts.

  40. egan says:

    Tori – well, it’s highly unlikely we will meet, but who knows. I’ve met 10 or so bloggers in my days. Maybe next time we’re in Chicago we can try. The meeting bloggers while away from home is very hard. Just ask Armalicious. You nearly live in Cheese Country too. Good, taking notes is key.
    Sprizea – fine, you’re right. I swear IMDB said Bleaker, but today it says “Bleeker”. You read the script so I know you know your stuff.

  41. mez says:

    Okay I’m going to be totally explosive and say something I fully believe to be true (and that women who say “yes I get a brazillian and wear 4 inch heels for ME because I really like doing that FOR ME – did I mention it was all FOR ME, please believe me…pleeaaasse” will disagree with what I’m about to say). The women dressing for other women thing is a piece of shit lie that was made up to
    a) deflect from the truth that women dress for admiring glances of potential suitors – that is, in love AND in the workplace and all areas of our lives because women are explicitly judged on how they look. People are kinder to better looking women and people give jobs to women who look good too etc.
    b) support a backlash against feminism and in particular people like Naomi Wolf who wrote probably the BEST example of why women take part in the beauty industry that I’ve ever read – which put industries (mostly run by men may I add) in the hot spot (in her book “The Beauty Myth”).
    If women don’t agree that they dress for themselves and other women can you imagine the fallout for not only the fashion and beauty industry which is geared towards attracting men and keeping us “acceptable feminine specimens” but also in bringing up the ultimate and much too explosive for our society question of; well, just who exactly are we doing it for then? Which might cause a great cultural shift in the way we think about women and beauty. Plus if that were the case then more women would have to admit to siding with a primarily feminist point of view and we just know how poisonous it is for women to admit they are a dirty femmo in this day and age don’t we?
    Okay I’m being a bit snooty today.
    AS for the topic – I totally look at women all day long. If I’m honest I probably look at women more than I look at men. It’s totally not a bitchy thing though – though I notice big time if a girl has her boobs and arse on display (mostly because I think it’s crass) but by the same token I notice if a man has a plumbers cleavage too). Often I’m wondering how they put that outfit together. Sometimes I go up and ask where they got a handbag or shoes (some women incidentally are really bitchy and won’t give out where they got stuff – damn them).

  42. mez says:

    (also women compare ourselves to other women. Why? Basically an extension of the above – we’re often pitted against each other in many different ways… We notice exactly who the men we are with look at. Don’t think you can get away with a sneaking look – we’ve already noticed it and compared ourselves to the woman you look at and then size ourselves up accordingly).

  43. naynayfazz says:

    No, I am not being harsh. It is true. I think women can be the harsh ones by being bitchy and catty.

  44. SSC says:

    I look at people all the time!! I especially look at men and when they are nicely dressed I wonder if their wife dressed them.

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