Everyone window shops, even when you’re in a relationship you window shop, it’s human nature. Being attached does not change the fact that we all have wondering eyes and we like to look at beautiful things. We like to imagine what could be—to fantasize. If you suppress this natural behavior I believe you doom your relationship. Window shopping is necessary if the relationship is to be healthy.
What I find interesting is that how I window shop changes depending on my personal life. When I am single and not obsesed with some new girl or pinning over some lost love, I look at girls and pick out the things that make the girl desirable: the color of her eyes, the shape of her hips or other, cruder thoughts. I don’t notice the things that may not fit into my plutonic ideal of a beautiful woman. I only see the desirable.
When I am in a relationship that is healthy and I am happy I find that I still look at all the other girls, sometimes it’s the same girls that I looked at when I was single but I am more critical, looking for things that I can say are not as good as my love: this girls’ hair is not as nice, her nose is not as cute or maybe she’s too much taller, too much shorter, fatter, thinner. I seek out those qualities that are not the same, to which I can say ‘my girlfriend is better because…’
I also find that I do this when I am pursuing a girl or when I just have a crush on her. She, as with the girlfriend, becomes the basis for all measurements of other women. And her features, her measurements are always better than the other woman—because I do not compare the features where she might not be better than the others.
The features which get compared don’t have to be physical. My girls’ car is better, or maybe she has an accent that I like more. I can find really petty things, even stereotypes about race or social status.
Another interesting part of this is when the ruler changes from one girl to another. I begin to find fault with the old ruler. Notice things that went unnoticed before; speech patterns that suddenly become annoying. Attitudes that start to offend whereas they were once accepted. Little things I didn’t notice before now become big annoyances.
There is another situation: the manic ruler. When a relationship has gone bad but I’m still in the relationship. Where one day your lover is always the better ruler and the next the stranger on the street looks better.
I’ve experienced all of these in the past. The manic ruler drove me crazy for a year and eventually drove me out of C’ville. Leaving C’ville in turn started me down the roads that led, eventually, to Singapore. And now I find myself using a new ruler to judge the women I see on the street here in Singapore.