By: Pradeep Paul
OKAY, it's time to get honest.
Hands up all you men who have looked - yes, even that sly peek from the corner of your eye counts - at a hot babe on the road, at the mall, in a restaurant, anywhere.
That's a whole lot of hands and, yes, mine is among them.
You see, men have to look. I know this is seen as a cop-out by wives and girlfriends, but we're engineered that way.
We need to look. We know you don't like it when we do so. But we can't help it.
Let me put it to you in another way.
Women take the trouble to look hot. We men get into trouble to reward you with that admiring glance.
Of course, some couples deal with it well.
Some of the couples I know have worked out a babe alert system.
Hot legs on the horizon. She surreptitiously nudges him and gives him a heads-up: '3 o'clock.'
He steals a look. He smiles at her in gratitude. She accepts. And peace is maintained.
Be warned. This requires years of togetherness and a high degree of comfort in the relationship.
Other couples have a less cooperative method.
Gorgeous bod coming up. She pretends not to notice. He gives in to temptation. She pretends not to notice. And peace is maintained.
Some other couples play tit for tat.
Hot woman within eyesight. She notices and lets him know it. He takes a look. She starts scouting for a hot guy to look at. And peace is maintained.
Well, if you can call that peace.
Other couples don't deal with it well at all.
I know of a few couples where the routine goes like this.
Kylie Minogue lookalike looms in sight. She notices all right. He takes a look. She notices all right. And a major sulk ensues.
Sounds familiar? This happens very often, especially when the relationship hasn't cemented into a feeling of comfort.
And then there are couples who dread it.
Dream woman on the horizon. She glares at him. He takes a look. She can't believe it. An all-out fight ensues.
It happens. I know men who know their dates hate it when they look at other women, but can't help doing it nevertheless.
They say it's genetic. The women say it's suicidal. I just order another drink.
But we do have a problem here.
Like it or not, men are lookers, and they make no bones about it.
Sure, they may make lame excuses like 'that's an interesting outfit' or 'doesn't she remind you of Lisa'. But you can't run away from the fact that they look.
A female friend once tried to analyse this with me. She said some of her former boyfriends would look at other women even while holding hands with her - which explains the 'former' part.
I explained: Men are lookers.
She snarled. Then she countered by saying women don't do that. When they are out with their man, they have eyes only for him. They slather him with adoring looks and make him feel so special.
I explained: Women would be lookers too... if they had as many great things to look at as men do.
I am realistic enough to accept that 90 per cent of the people who deserve a look are female. Very few men merit that look.
She gave up.
The men I've discussed this with can't understand it either - the women getting mad part of it, I mean.
One man likened it to window-shopping. He said that being in a relationship may mean he's not allowed to touch, but surely he can look, can't he? Not very original but, hey, I hear you.
Other guys have waded into the concept of insecurity. We may look, they rationalise, but at the end of the day, we are still with our women, right?
Right on, bro.
Eventually, it boils down to human nature. We humans are a curious lot. We look at things. And when we spot something that pleases our eyes, we take a closer look.
C'mon, even you women will agree with me on that. Imagine yourself walking down Orchard Road with hubby or boyfriend in tow and Brad Pitt walks past.
You look, right?
Okay, that's a bad example. He's a celebrity. We mortals all gawk at celebs.
But - humour me here - imagine the guy who walked past was in the Brad Pitt category.
You look, don't you?
It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean you're going to dump your man and run off into the sunset with this guy.
In fact, chances are you probably won't see him ever again.
Like I said, it's just a look.