Luv Doc: The Up / Down
A good excuse is never something that comes out of a funky armpit
Dear Luv Doc,
My boyfriend is always checking out other girls when we are out in public. I don't think he even realizes he is doing it, but I sometimes look over at him and he is giving some girl the up/down while he is walking along holding hands with me. I caught him doing it this weekend on Rainey, and he claimed I am making this up. What do I say to him? It's not so important that I would break up with him over it, but it feels disrespectful.
You are right; it is disrespectful, even if it isn't a willful act. I think you're also right that he probably doesn't realize he is doing it, but that doesn't make it OK. Some people pick their nose, scratch their crotch, or mine for earwax without knowing it, but I doubt you would give them a pass just for being oblivious. Grown-ass adults generally have been trained up in those areas in order to function in society. For the most part, Americans shower, brush their teeth, apply deodorant, and put on wretchedly tailored clothes in order to be accepted in normal society. People who don't generally take shit for it. That may not be totally fair, it just is.
I'm sure there are plenty of decent folks who consciously eschew deodorant or other types of grooming for a variety of reasons – some of which are completely well-founded. Bully for them, but a good excuse is never something that comes out of a funky armpit. Most of the time, those pioneering folks don't get a chance to explain how they're saving the planet or avoiding rosacea. They just get their own lonely, smelly corner of the room.
Similarly, your boyfriend may well be able to continue his lecherous and disrespectful behavior indefinitely, but eventually, if you don't call him out, some random woman will ... in public, and very likely embarrass you both.
If you recognize a problem and you don't address it, your silence equals consent. This guy may be hotter than a pistol and ridiculously awesome in the sack, and maybe even charming and sweet in every other way ... but that still doesn't excuse this behavior. Like most of us, he has room for improvement.
So, as uncomfortable and potentially destabilizing as it may be to your relationship, you need to call him out on that shit every time he does it. Yes, he will become self-conscious and defensive about it, but consciousness in this case is the thing he's lacking. And even if he does act like a childish prick and break up with you, at least you will have done a valuable service for the next girl he dates.