Sex

A Guide to Eyefucking, The Perfect Way to Flirt From a Distance

Making eyes at a hot, masked stranger doesn't have to "go anywhere" to make you feel good.
Alex Zaragoza
Brooklyn, US
October 1, 2020, 11:00am
A Guide to Eyefucking, The Perfect Way to Flirt From a Distance
Illustration by Cathryn Virginia
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It's not a set of rules—it's a state of mind.

Dating has long been a challenge for the awkward dummy community (of which I am a member). This has only been exacerbated by the dangers of a deadly virus tearing through the country, which has required many people to regularly cover their faces in public for the first time, limit in-person contact with people they might be interested in, and be newly and radically honest early into any interaction that could potentially lead to physical intimacy. All of this means that flirting takes a lot of extra effort right now.

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There has been one unexpected upside to the no-contact mask life, though. One which, in its simplicity and hotness, is a balm to the horny soul; a face-to-(distanced)-face pick-me-up that isn't hindered, but enhanced by mask-wearing; and a thrill that takes only a second to enjoy. I've embraced the art of eyefucking.

For women and non-binary people, one-sided public staredowns have long been a tool of predatory creeps. An eyefuck is different from unwanted ogling because it's all about reciprocation. It has to be fun for both parties, as in the following: Not too long ago, I stopped on my bike before crossing the street, and a good-looking guy rode up. He locked eyes with me and sustained eye contact for an inordinate amount of time. Finally, he looked away, probably to make sure he wasn't gonna get hit by a Subaru Outback—then gazed right into my eyes again. It wasn't the kind of eye contact that tacitly says, I need to cross into the bike lane, ma'am, so please stay where you're at. It was smoldering, and the implied message was, Why don't you make my face your bike seat.

I was shaken to my core. Sure, my eyes have the alluring coloring of fresh mud on a stable floor, but with a bike helmet on, fogged glasses, the bottom half of my face covered, and Jacuzzi tits (that's when sweat pools under your tiddies so it's like a pool of hot water under there), the eyefuck was unexpected, but hot as hell. That moment in which someone's son straight-up bodice-ripped the fuck out of my pupils for 10 seconds while straddling a road bike had me almost ready to risk it all. (That's what happens when sensual touch becomes forbidden. I'd absolutely be the first to die in a horror movie where horniness was punishable by Subaru Outback to the upper torso.)

Sorry to flex, but this is far from the only instance that the remnants of my Lasik eye surgery have been eyefucked within an inch of their near-sighted lives since the pandemic hit, by people of all genders, and I've been living for it. I asked around, and others have experienced and partaken in these same mutually appreciative visual bang sessions during their regular COVID-19 activities: walking down the street, at the grocery store, while hanging at the park. Someone on Twitter told me a recent eyefuck “was basically like second base.” My good friend Meredith was given a hot-and-heavy glimpse from a stranger she passed after leaving the hardware store with a plant: He tilted his head slightly, looking her up and down, and when he met her gaze again, he held it until they were no longer in each other's line of vision.

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“It was flattering,” she said, “and a little surprising, because my ratio of ‘wearing yoga pants’ to ‘actually doing yoga’ has definitely been out of whack during quarantine, so it was good to feel like, Yes, bitch, you’ve still got it.”

The likelihood is that you're also getting sight-seduced, even if you haven't noticed it yet. If that sounds fun to you: Look around! Given the dramatically reduced opportunity for physically touching hot strangers, everyone is likely feeling like a Little Caesars $5 pizza—hot and ready, in this case, to eyefuck attractive passersby. (But also like that Little Caesars pizza, acting on your desires might make you sick, so proceed with caution.)

If you want to learn to eyefuck like it's your job, consider the following scenario: You see a cutie at the opposite end of a crosswalk. Imagine yourself as Rihanna (great advice for any situation) and ask yourself, If Rihanna were walking across this street and A$AP Rocky was on the other side, would she be nervous about firing off a 500-degree Tyra Banks smize that would set his dick on fire? She would not. She would blaze those hazel stunners into his soul, simultaneously making and ruining his day in the process simply by being hot and confident, and continue on her way to Olive Garden to enjoy their classic Tour of Italy entreé and never-ending breadsticks, and A$AP would spend his life wondering what could have been. That's a power move. You want that energy.

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All you actually have to do to make this happen is sustain eye contact with a potentially willing party for roughly three seconds, and maybe add a tiny eyebrow raise or sly grin to give your eyes a twinkle, then see if they give you something back. (If not, move on!) This tactic is best employed when the "interaction" is fleeting, like with a fellow shopper in the frozen food section at Trader Joe's or as you leave the bodega with a bacon egg and cheese. Keep it cute and quick, then walk away. That's really all it takes. Do not, under any circumstances, just stare at someone for long periods of time without breaking the gaze. That is serial killer, telekinetic firestarter, or just plain clown behavior. No one likes that! The key is to show interest and be brief.

If you're sitting outside a coffee shop and you've employed a solid, non-weird eyefuck on a cute stranger at the next table, and it's returned more than twice, you can then take it to the next level by saying hi. Maintain social distance, and if the person makes it clear they're not interested, take your latte and scone and GTFO. Shoot your shot, but be cool and respectful about it.

Since I decided to lean into that eyefucking life, I've felt a surge of confidence first in myself—and in talking to people I'm interested in. When I moved into a new apartment last month, I hired a moving company infamous for employing a team of extremely hot dirtbag punks. To quote Saweetie, that's my type (despite my better judgement and being far beyond my teen years).

I got payment squared up with the mover who I thought was particularly cute, and we made  back-and-forth eye contact as I handed over my cash (and a joint for good measure). I walked him out, drenched in sweat and sniffly from the dust bunnies under the couch, and delivered a RiRi-level eyefuck; he stared right back with equal heat. The eyefuck emboldened me to text him after and ask him out—had his number from co-ordinating the move—because why the hell not? Everything is terrible, and we need to find ways to feel good. Turned out, he was super down.

It's sort of irrelevant whether the eyefuck leads to more, though. If it does, great, but eyefucking is a perfect activity all on its own. Adding momentary seductive glances to your day is safe and fun, and makes you feel like a self-possessed smokeshow even if you haven't showered in two days. In times like these, when we're all living in "athleisure" (read: underwear and oversized sweatshirts), struggling in a multitude of ways, and riddled with anxiety, depression, and/or fear, that's a win. Eyefucking helps you carry yourself like a bombshell, even if the contact you're making with others begins and ends with your eyes.