A reader named Nick writes in with the following question, wondering how to check out a girl:
Love the site! Incredible and concise/no B.S. information! I didn’t see where to shoot you a questions but I was interested in your take on checking out women. Is there a right and wrong way to do it. One that makes them feel sexy and shows my masculine presense vs just being another guy chicking out a great ass or pair of phenominal tits. Would love to see an article on checking out women the right way so that both parties (especially me) enjoys it. I live in NYC and it’s coming up on good weather. It’s sometimes hard (pun intended) not to look. Cheers!
The short answer to Nick is yes – there absolutely is a way to check her out in a way that makes you come off strong, masculine, and sexually appealing, and that turns her on and makes her excited to be getting checked out by you.
And there are also plenty of ways that instantly make you “just another guy” checking her out, too.
What’s the difference? It’s what we’ll discuss in this article.
So let’s have a look at how to check a girl out in a way that actually turns her on, and makes her want to get to know you – rather than the opposite.
3 Kinds of Glances You Should Not Steal
Guys employ a few different breeds of “stealing glances”, typically, when they want to check a girl out – and the most popular three of these are awful. They are:
The Sneaky Glance: this is when you sneak a glance at a girl, trying to check her out without her noticing. Thing is, the average woman is head-and-shoulders more socially savvy, perceptive, and aware than the average man, and chances are if you’re trying to sneak a glance at her she probably knows it. So, not very sneaky at all, and you’ve actually just “given yourself away.”
The Guilty Glance: this is a sneaky glance that got (obviously) caught – the girl you were evaluating turned and saw you looking, and you looked down or looked away and pretended to be staring intently at that blank wall behind her instead. It’s pretty obvious what you were doing to everyone remotely paying attention... you’ve been caught red-handed.
The Leer: unlike the sneaky glance or the guilty glance, the leerer makes no effort to try to hide his intentions, or his checking out – he stares at a woman very obviously, even if she’s looking right at him and can see him looking. Sometimes he grins at her or cat calls her or does something else bluntly suggestive, but not necessarily – the only key here is that he stares, openly, obviously, and holds that stare uncomfortably long.
There are two things wrong with these that do bad things for you with women:
The first two show your fear: trying to steal glances by sneaking them (or acting guilty when caught) communicates one thing: that you are ASHAMED of your sexual interest in her, and are trying to conceal it. You are, in other words, playing hide the banana – you don’t want her to know that you are a male with a sex drive who finds her potentially sexually appealing. You’d rather she continued to see you as a platonic non-sexual entity, until such time as you decide otherwise.
The second instills fear... in her: and not the “exciting” kind of danger a woman feels with a sexual man whom she likes. We’re talking about the real, visceral “this guy is bigger and stronger than me and I don’t know exactly what he wants or how he plans to get it, but it’s obvious he wants something and may attempt to take it” way. When you leer at someone – anyone – it’s a blatant disregard of social conventions and communicates that you really don’t care how uncomfortable you make them feel... and when you are a bigger, stronger male doing this to a smaller, slighter female, especially if she’s by herself, this will often make her feel very threatened, and make YOU seem quite unrelatable and scary. You immediately become a “creepy guy” – someone who represents a potential great threat.
Obviously, then, you don’t want to be “stealing glances” per se, nor do you want to be leering at anybody.
So how can you check out a girl in a way she actually likes and appreciates?
The Basics of Checking Her Out
I’m going to give you two (2) different takes on how to check out a girl, and you’ll use one or the other take depending on what stage of the interaction you’re in with her.
The first is for situations where she is:
- A stranger you haven’t met yet
- An acquaintance you have a mere friendly vibe with
- A woman you’re talking with but who has yet to hook
The second is for situations where she is:
- Someone with clear sexual interest in you
- Someone who’s clearly engrossed in conversation with you
- Someone you want to test or probe for sexual interest
But before we get to these two approaches, I want to cover a few basics first.
Now, when you check a girl out, what you will be trying to accomplish will be one of several things:
- You’re trying to see if she’s attractive enough for you to take a shot at
- You’re trying to get an idea about how open or closed her body language is
- You’re trying to turn her on by communicating your own interest
Any time you check her out, it’s going to be for typically one of these reasons: is she someone you want to talk to or sleep with; how is she positioned or how is she responding nonverbally to you if you’re already talking to her; and will she get excited by knowing that you are excited about her?
When you find yourself randomly checking out women on autopilot, that’s “prospective mate assessment” – you’re just autopilot evaluating the looks of women around you to see if they’re anyone you want to get to know better.
When you’re in a conversation with a girl and you start checking her out, it’s usually going to be because you’re assessing her body language or because you want to communicate sexual intentions.
Much of the time you do these things, it’s going to be totally unconscious – you might even find that once you start monitoring your “check out” behavior more that you can’t really even control it all that well, because you don’t even realize it’s happening until you’re mid-way through a check out.
BUT... SHE knows. Women are very close examiners of everything happening around them socially, and if you are checking her out, it’s safe to say she’s aware of it.
If not consciously paying attention, she at least knows subconsciously that “this guy is interested.”
You’re giving away power, and losing momentum in the interaction.
You will have to play the game on her terms – whatever those may be –
rather than on yours.
Needless to say, you don’t want her feeling like she’s GOT you, simply because you wanted to take a glance... so how do you check her out without showing all your cards?
How to Check Out a Girl You Haven’t Met Yet
If you want to check out a girl you have yet to meet, or whom you have met, but haven’t “clicked” with yet, there’s one simple secret to it you must employ, and that’s this:
Women use their peripheral visions almost to the extreme... it’s how they know you’re checking them out when you think you’re being sneaky.
Many men don’t use their peripheral visions much, but you’re missing out a lot if you haven’t tapped this yet. After a little bit of training and use, it almost becomes a super power.
For instance, I am sitting in a café writing this article right now. I have not looked up from my screen once since I sat down, and the café was empty when I arrived. Yet, I can tell you that there is a couple sitting two tables over from me, and the girl in that couple is slim, dressed in a black shirt, and keeps stealing glances at me, playing with her hair, and twitching her foot, despite the fact that her and her male companion (boyfriend? colleague?) are having an engaged and animated discussion.
I can also tell you that there is another girl dressed in a white-and-black tank top who is drinking a coffee and reading something on her phone sitting on the sofa a little ahead of me, and she seems a little receptive as well, though she isn’t quite as slim as the girl in the couple to my left (she’s not chunky though), and despite the fact that there is a decorative plant of some sort blocking her from much of my peripheral view.
Likewise, I can tell you things about the men in the café as well,
and the workers going back and forth from the back room to the ordering
area up front.
Using your peripheral vision, you can learn:
- Roughly what a girl’s body looks like
- What her hair looks like and how long it is
- How her body is positioned
- Whether she is looking at you
- Whether she’s talking to anyone else, or is bored
- Whether she is acting interested (playing with her, fixing her clothes, etc.)
- How she’s dressed
Of course, it isn’t perfect – you can’t tell:
- How pretty her face is
- Exactly how big her breasts are or tiny her waist is
- Whether she’s smiling or frowning, etc.
So, not perfect. But it’s enough.
Peripheral vision can take a little time to develop – you’ll have to
get used to staring straight ahead while taking in visual information
from the sides of your vision – but it doesn’t take long, and the
usefulness of this skill is quite high.
Using your peripheral vision to check women out allows you to find out almost everything you need to know about a girl (is she slim? Does she have nice hair? Is her body positioned in my direction, which will make it a lot easier for me to say “hi”?) without her ever feeling like you are looking at her.
In fact, what you will find is that WOMEN look at YOU a lot more when you use your peripherals instead of directly staring.
For the following reasons:
Women don’t want to get caught either. Just like you, she doesn’t really want you to catch her checking you out either. If she knows you’re looking, she won’t look, because then she’ll get caught. But if it’s clear you’re not looking, many women will stare away because they feel safe knowing you cannot see them (little do they know you’re paying rapt attention with your peripherals).
Women want to encourage you to look. You can “make” someone look at you much of the time by looking at him or her first... there’s a subconscious process in the human brain that seems to trigger the moment someone even deep in your peripheral vision is looking at you, whether you realize it consciously or not, compelling you to turn and look at almost everyone who is looking at you. Women use this hack to get men to check them out and take note of them – if a guy isn’t looking, a girl will throw glances at him until he starts paying attention to her... then act coy.
The person who isn’t looking retains the “power”. The person who’s looking the most obviously is also the person with the lesser “power” between the two. Just like in how the more interested party in a negotiation is always the one who has to make more concessions on terms, so too in dating does the more apparently interested party make more concessions to the apparently less interested party... in this case, if she’s stealing glances and you then just effortlessly turn and start talking to her, she’s a lot more likely to do things on your terms than had you stared her down hard before saying “hello” while she remained aloof.
This stays the same even once you’re into the early interaction; at that point, still, NO staring at her breasts, waist, butt, etc.... just her face, and particularly at the bridge of her nose smack between her two eyes.
The focus early on in a conversation with a new girl must be her face... if it’s elsewhere, she will feel like you are turned on when she isn’t yet herself, which, if she doesn’t feel either turned on OR very connected to you yet, makes you unrelatable.
This remains the case, anyway, until you reach the hook point, when her interest in you is clear and the energy hanging in the air is becoming increasingly electric.
Then it’s time for something else.
How to Check Out a Girl and Turn Her On
Let’s say you’re talking to a girl and now, at this point, sparks are flying, electricity is crackling, and love (or arousal) is pregnant in the air.
Should you STILL stick just to peripheral vision?
At this point, no – much like what I talked about in “Elegance, Sexiness, and Average, Normal People”, this is where you make the switch from elegant, refined, removed poise to sultry, wanton, cascading sensuality.
As such, not only will you set aside the elegant, detached use of peripheral vision, but now you will take up the very sexual “check out” tool I’m about to give you instead.
There are examples of this in the movies – I wasn’t able to turn up any on YouTube (if you have a good one, please leave it in the comments section and I’ll add it into the post here) – but if you look you can probably find them...
Thanks to some of our commenters below, I have some examples of this to share with you so you can see what this looks like:
A scene from Skyfall from Anonymous – watch Moneypenny’s (Naomie Harris’s) eyes as James Bond (Daniel Craig) opens the door in a towel (skip to 00:32):
Another, this from Man of Steel, courtesy another Anonymous commenter – watch Clark Kent’s (Henry Cavill’s) eyes as he acknowledges Lois Lane (Amy Adams) (skip to 00:56):
And one from Alfie from RL – notice Alfie’s (Jude Law’s) eyes as checks out the girl at the bar... once with subtlety, then again more overtly (skip to 01:10):
Here’s how it works:
You let the conversation die down for a moment. You know those “awkward silences” that occur not because there’s nothing to talk about, but because both of you would rather be doing something with each other besides talking right now? That’s what this is... you just let the flame of the conversation momentarily flicker out.
You smile sexily at her, while maintaining sexual eye contact. Your mouth should be a sexy part-smile, and your eyelids should be drooped down a bit into bedroom eyes. A slight cocking of the head to one side or the other is good for communicating a playful sexual attitude and interest, too, and rubbing your hands slowly, playfully, and thoughtfully together can subcommunicate that you are imagining doing something with them... like touching her.
You slowly lower just your eyes to her body, pause a moment, then slowly bring them back up. Now it’s time to check her out – and you do this by keeping everything else about you stationary (except perhaps your hands, if you’re playing with them), while you lower your eyes from her eyes down to the rest of her body, pause for just a moment, then bring them back up again. If you want a specific amount of time, it’s roughly one full second down, a full second or a half second of pause, and then another one full second to bring them back up again. So, it all happens in about 2.5 or 3 seconds, which might sound fast, but is much slower than the dart-like checking out most men trying to sneak a glance employ.
You lock eyes with her again, and smile a little wider and a little more playfully. Very important here – lock eyes with her again. You’re communicating that you are NOT afraid of being caught – in fact, you WANT her to see – but you’re also doing it in a playful, sexy, mutual way with her that is not threatening to her, like the men who leer at her. She knows that you are checking her out... yet, the feeling is mutual, and because of this, she finds it very, very exciting. Adding the slightly broadened smile at the end is another way of communicating that yes, this was intentional, and if you like you can also very slightly lower your chin at this point too, into a bit of an underlook.
You then slowly and deliberately resume conversation. You can start with a, “So...” and go on from there if you like – pick a conversational thread she’d mentioned earlier that you hadn’t finished exploring, or ask her something interesting about herself. The goal here is to move right back on with conversation, same as we do with chase framing, so that your sexual intentions are communicated and the sexual tension is sowed, but you’re not putting so much pressure on the situation that she feels a need to defuse that tension or make things less sexual. By getting her back talking about herself again after that brief sexy moment the two of you just shared, you also communicate that you’re very comfortable with sexual situations, and that you are someone who can very expertly lead her through these.
In this way, you can check a woman out and have it actually add to the vibe and increase the sexual energy in the air.
It causes her to respect you far more as a man and find you more exciting, erotic, and alluring.
And, it increases the comfort levels of the interaction for both of you, too – instead of that awkwardness that comes from her thinking you like her but you trying not to show it or to hide it or act aloof and disinterested, you clear the air and communicate to her right away that yes – you’ve examined her body and found it desirable.
And knowing that you have approved of her body and are still every bit as interested in her as you were when you were just looking at her face and assessing her as a person is a big turn on for a woman.
When can you do this?
There’s no hard and fast rule. If you walk up to a girl and there’s instant sexual chemistry between you, you can do this immediately, if you like.
Conversely, some women you may not get a sexual vibe with until hours into a conversation, or maybe not even at all until after you’ve already slept with them – you just have to play it by ear and go by her comfort levels with male sexuality.
Good rule of thumb: the sexier things get, the sooner you can use this one to help ramp them up even more.
Check Her Out and Wind Her Up
So let’s recap:
Most men use one of three (3) different sorts of glances, and all of these are quite bad:
- The Sneaky Glance
- The Guilty Glance
- The Leer
They’re bad because:
- They show fear on your part / play “hide the banana”
- Or, they make HER feel at risk and/or creeped out
Instead of using these, you can use one of the two (2) good check out methods:
- Employ your peripheral vision
- Slowly and sexily check her out
You’ll employ your peripheral vision when you haven’t met her yet, as well as early into a conversation before reaching the hook point. It works because:
- Women don’t want to get caught looking either
- Women wanting to encourage you to look will look more themselves
- The person who isn’t looking retains the power – here, that’s you
Once you’re deeper into an interaction with a woman, and you’ve reached the hook point with her and there’s electricity in the air, use the slow, sexy check out to communicate your sexual interest and turn her on:
- Let the conversation die down for a moment
- Smile sexily at her while maintaining eye contact
- Slowly lower just your eyes to her body, then bring them back up
- Lock eyes with her again and smile slightly broader and more mischievously
- Slowly and deliberately resume the conversation by asking her
... and she’ll practically be ready to grab your hand and drag you out of there.
You know now how to check out a girl openly and actually turn her on once you’re in a good conversation with sparks flying between you, and you know how to check out a girl without obviously checking her out at all before things have reached the point where you can use a check out as a tool for communicating interest and building sexual tension.
I suspect this is going to make it a lot easier for you to have fun walking about checking women out with your peripherals and watching them steal glance after glance at you as they try to encourage you to pay them some attention.
It’s also going to make it a lot more fun turning girls on with yet another tool in your tool belt for building sexual intrigue with the women you’ve already got a good thing going with.
Once you’re good at these two ways of checking a girl out, actually, you’ll be amazed at how smooth you feel – checking out women is an automatic part of male-female interactions that a lot of guys don’t get down right, but it shifts a nice chunk of control of the dating dynamic into your corner if you’re good at it, while allowing you to make your interactions with women a lot more exciting for them, too.
UPDATE: research from mid-2014 corroborates the anecdotal reporting here, finding that subjects interested in love only keep their gazes limited to a new acquaintance’s face, while those with lust on the brain moved from eyes down to body checks. I’d look for subsequent research showing that the person being checked out can recognize the eye movements of the person doing the checking out and register whether the other person’s feelings are love or lust, which would go a long way toward determining whether someone gets labeled as a potential sexual option vs. a potential romantic one.