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March 18, 2010

The Look

The Look

by Nancy Go to fullsize image

On Monday evening, my friend Ruth (Hi, Ruth!) called and asked if she could stop by my house with a book for me to autograph for a friend's birthday.  Of course, I said. 

So, later that evening, after dark, when I was alone in the house, I heard someone pound assertively on the front door. Naturally, I assumed it was Ruth, because she's a bit of a character and might pound on a door just to be amusing. I left my desk and went upstairs to greet her, assuming she had a funny story to tell me.

I opened the front door without looking out the window first, which was Wrong, I admit.

There, with the storm door open, one foot on the threshold and himself halfway into the house, was not a home invader bent on mayhem, thank heaven, but a kid--er, young man with a big smile and a clipboard.  He said brightly, "Hi, how are you?"  And I said in a less than friendly tone,  "You just scared the hell out of me."

I don't know about your neighborhood, but I live in a part of the city known for its liberal politics, and we tend to get swarms of kids with clipboards this time of year--all of them gathering names, signatures, addresses, phone numbers and/or email contact info that they swear will only be used for:

1. The Sierra Club or

2. Some organization in favor of clean water or

3.  Another organization in favor of jobs or

4. A third organization that says it provides books for children who don't have enough books.

Now, I defy even Sarah Palin to object to any of those causes, but the truth is?  Despite what they promise, the clipboard kids scamper out of the neighborhood and immediately sell all that contact information to any politician, liberal cause or fundraiser for every medical charity on the planet. Call me a Communist, if you like, but I find that really annoying.

So I indicated to the kid with the clipboard that I wasn't interested in having any conversation with him. I used no words, just one hand up in the "stop right there, young man" position. He stopped speaking at once, but kept his foot on the threshold.  Not in a threatening way exactly, but in an "I'm not leaving yet, lady" manner.

At which point, it was up to me, in a split second, to sternly order the kid back into the darkness, off my property. Did I have a baseball bat behind the door?  Did I--God forbid--have a loaded weapon in the nearby drawer? A slavering pitbull at my heels?


I used The Look.

Those of you who are mothers need read no further, as you have no doubt instantly concluded that I emerged from this small confrontation victorious. Those of you who have had mothers should also understand what I mean by The Look.  It is a simple stare that packs the energy of no less than a plutonium bomb.  It is capable of rendering grown men completely helpless. And it certainly has the power to command a kid with a clipboard to back off.

I will admit that this particular kid was still of an age extraordinarily susceptible to The Look, but I assure you, he was off my porch in a gratifying heartbeat. 

I learned The Look from my mother, who learned it from her mother.  And I'm very, very proud to report that I have recently witnessed my own daughter deploy The Look to control her 18-month-old son. The Look is an ancestral power passed from generation to generation doubtless via mitochondrial DNA, rather like red hair or the ability to predict the future in some families.

Ours is not the only family, by any means, blessed with this priceless skill. I feel certain nearly everyone reading these words has experienced and/or used The Look at appropriate times.  It's not a resource to be squandered on small potatoes, of course.  The Look should be reserved for important moments or it loses it's potence.

Those of you who use it wisely know exactly what I mean.

May The Look endure.

Me, I'm going to the Virginia Festival of the Book tomorrow and Saturday.  It's one of the most delightful book events around, if you ask me.  If you happen to be in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, stop at the Omni and look for me.  I'll be the one withholding The Look unless I really need to use it.

ps.  Yesterday, I was featured on a blog that asks authors to comment on th 69th page of their current release.  Check out The Page 69 Test.


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My mother had The Look. Not sure I do (since I don't have kids to practice on.) What I know for sure is The Look (i.e. The WIFE Look) doesn't work as well on husband (or at least MY husband) as The Mother Look.

LOVE the page 69 idea. Maybe one day all the writers here could post page 69 of their current WIP. Now I have to go look and see what is on my page 69.

Holy Hamsters! The Look! My mother could hit you with The Look from a hundred yards away while you were chasing a sibling. Many years later, I watched my sister stun a whole group of 7 year old boys with The Look. The Look, it burns us, my precious!

And let us not forget that wives have The Look, too.

Actually, come to think of it, all females can muster up The Look if the need arises.

We men just can't catch a break.

I might have The Look but I have to be really, really mad to use it on my kids. Ah, but people standing in the doorway with clipboards? I don't need The Look there, because I have two insanely barking dogs that I'm holding onto while the poor shmo tries to sell me something.

For a basically nice, occasionally gullible person, I have very little patience with anyone knocking on the door who's bigger than a Girl Scout. And i don't believe anyone selling magazine subscriptions (that I don't want AT ALL) is on the level. Ever.

I gave my husband the look yesterday for something quite annoying that he was doing (on purpose) and he flinched. He held his hands up, backed away slowly and later referred to it as "the death ray" to our sons. Who nodded with empathy. "Yeah," the youngest said, "you just don't even want to be in the same hemisphere when she uses that one."

I cannot wait to teach this to my granddaughter. ;)

The time I realized it would work on people Other Than My Children was when I was flying from Los Angeles back here. This is before 9/11 when people could go past security and hover around to see loved ones off, and when many a con artist hung out to take advantage of soft hearted people. On my way in to L.A., I'd been sort of harassed by someone and I'd been a little too nice to tell them to buzz off, though they got nothing for their time. On the way out, though, I'd gotten fed up with being the softie and the first time some guy started to tell me, in broken English, that he needed help (after scoping out everyone in the store and ignoring several men who'd exited before me), I help up my had, gave him the death ray and simply told him "No." He flinched, and backed off right away.

I wish I could bottle this sucker.

I have to admit I am afraid of my daughter's LOOK. She has it down to an art form and I hate it when it is directed at me. It's like she is warning me not tell the darling stories about her and spilling the beans about some of her childhood experiences.
My husband has the look. It warns me not to repeat the six degrees of separation story where because I brushed Paul Anka's sister's coat sleeve on the school bus that somehow I eventually could be connected to Frank Sinatra or the Pope even.
The look is also directed to me by the master of the household when we go to a movie like "The Hangover" and I am giggling like crazy and Mr Semi-sedate semi glares at me. I must spend the rest of the evening earning his approval and being brought back into the bliss of couple hood.
Of course we all remember Mom's LOOK, the teachers who gave us a million LOOKS and finally all the Bosses' LOOKS who could either make or break you in a flash of a second.

I may not have kids but I have the look. It's been passed down through both the maternal and paternal sides of the family. My father was an only son with five sisters and his sisters have the look. My mother and her mother were exceedingly well versed in the look. They could stop a thundering herd of children in the blink of an eye...or was that in the unblinking of an eye?

No one wants to solicit at our door DH gets a kick out driving them crazy--he has nothing better to do other then drive me crazy so I have no pity for them.

Situations as described, I really really miss Burke; 95 lbs, Malanois/Rott mix, he was a Big Baby when I was around. Someone comes to the door, he had a bark/howl that would make the Baskerville Hound sit politely and say, "yessir." Neighbors down the street could hear him when he was in fine form, and it was a source of amusement to watch solicitors/surveyors/salesmen turn and leave before the door opened. He was the best "No Soliciting" enforcement that ever lived. I went after a guy one time, laughing, asking why he'd given up so easily. He told me, "Mister, I got no idea where the dog door is, but I do know I don't want NO part of whatever's behind there."

Boo tries hard, but can only do so much. He sounds like a rusty diesel engine when he gets going, and it takes everything I have not to laugh at him.

And every man on the planet knows and has been trained to respond to The Look. I don't think it's something that needs to be trained, I honestly believe females are born with it, and they know how to use it. As proof, I will say I recently received The Look from the seven month old daughter of a friend of mine. She and I had been playing "Oooga Booga", a complex game of holding her little feet and pumping her legs in rhythm to whatever Sinatra/Martin/Darin/Buble song is playing while chanting "Ooga Booga". Foolishly, I stopped in mid-game, picked up my cup, and took a sip of coffee. When I turned back and leaned over to resume, trust me... I WAS getting The Look from her.

It's not trained.... it's genetic, I swear it....

My The Look is very lame and only works on my dog, who is the last person who needs to be Looked. (Yes, I know I called my dog a person.) But I have been known to yell "Go away, I'm busy!" through the window next to my front door if I see a kid with a clipboard or, worse, religious-looking elderly ladies.

I checked out that Page 69 site~very cool! I'll be checking out page 69 of all the books I read from now on, I think.

Holy Hamsters! I'm using that one, Doc.

I am so gratified by the number of you who can deploy The Look so effectively. (And I am feeling a little jealous of you who have big dogs, since our Dalmatians have finally passed on. I miss having their backup.) If I had to hazard a guess among us, it would be that Toni McGee Causey could lay waste to the Middle East with her version of The Look. Although William's playmate is clearly gaining ground.

I forgot to mention that I'll be seeing our very own Kerry this weekend! YAY!

I, too, have inherited The Look. It seems to be effective on males of all ages. Although, now that my boys are grown they try to get The Look on purpose sometimes.

Nancy: There is a time and a place for the “Look” when it is cast upon an unwanted knocker at the door. Some years back the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a lovely feature about my second or third book with a half page color picture of me at my desk. The problem, the reporter, bless her heart, pretty much told all 750,000 Sunday readers my home address.

I started getting letters and phone calls from every weirdo in North America. My next two books were under a different name and I have not granted a local interview since. About a week after the article appeared there was a knock at the door and I discovered a scruffy guy probably in his mid-forties on my stoop. He said, and I quote, “I just got out of prison and I’ve written a novel that has been turned down by 50 publishers. What do you think I should do?”

I asked the obvious question. “What were you in jail for?” Ten years for manslaughter in Supermax would get a much different response than say 10 days for littering in County. When he told me he was an accountant and had done less than a year for embezzlement he got the Look.

Hey, I just put The Look in a book. But there are many looks, all subtle variations of the same theme. There is the:

Look of Grave Disappointment

Look of You've Gone Too Far (in words, thoughts or deeds)

Look of Oh, No You're Not! (to head off the look of You've Gone Too Far)

and, finally, the..

Look of I Thought I Raised You Better (when all of the above fail)

I would have given that kid a kick in the crotch.

BTW - in an ongoing saga today about how a local cop tasered a homeless woman, one cop's report described her as "elderly." She was 58!!!!

Mom is a retired Deputy Juvenile Officer. Her look can stop freight trains, or felons, literally. As it is election season, she moderates local candidate forums. You do not want to be long winded when Mom has the clock.

Since I knock on doors for a living, you would be surprised how many people call Domino's, place an order, and are then shocked, shocked I say when someone is knocking on their door. And most of them are even sober.

I have been known to use my maglite to knock on a door. You would be amazed how fast you can get someone's attention when they think the cops are on the porch.

The one time "The Look did not work was on a salesman who refused to really meet my eye. He also would not go. Having caught me out in the garden I had no door to shut.However, my dog, that looks like a cross between a black bear and a wolf, was waiting for a sign to do something. He finally decided the best way to get rid of this guy bothering me was to walk up to him lift his leg and let it go. That man left faster than anyone I have ever seen.
My Children have informed me that I definitely have the look and try to avoid it at all cost.

Leslie! How did you train your dog to do that? I could have used it the time the preacher came up the driveway with a posse to engage me in an extended conversation about my soul---in a high wind, blasting snow and me with a shovel in my hands.

Sarah, I would submit that there's also The Look that says: "I'm working here, and you want to read me paragraphs from the sports page???"

I'm sure our readers have even more Looks to suggest.

Reporters who give out addresses should get more than a Look.--Maybe a visit from Leslie's dog. Daily.

Alan, one of these days we're going to ask you for a blog about your worst delivery experiences. Start a list, will you?

My mother never really had to use "The Look". And I don't remember seeing it. I can tell from personal experience no child with a direct genetic link to Dear Hubby is phased by the look. I don't know if they are just sociopathic or what. DH's mom has a great look. It just doesn't work on any of her kids or grandkids. She scares me to death.

I'm going to have to develope one.

Nancy, Elaine suggested I write the confessions of pizza guy. It may be a Manly Monday soon.

I can and have used The Look on children not my own who are acting up in public places, like restaurants. Especially when their parents are apparently oblivious to the disruptive behavior of their little darlings. Works like a charm. My grown up, adult daughter still flinches when I use it but admits it really really really works.

My mother totally had the Look. She had nine kids, so I imagine it was self-preservation. It scared the hell out of me, and at times still does. My five sisters and I inherited this Look, although I never had to use it much with my daughter. My sister works in a city school in a program which tries to keep at-risk kids in school and graduate. She had her picture in the paper once, talking to a large teenage boy who towered over her, giving him not only the Look but the finger point. I think those two combined make her program a success.

I have to say, though, that my sisters and I may have even more successfully perfected the eye-roll. Sometimes combined with a heavy sigh.

** OT but good **
Suzanne Beecher, mavin of on-line book clubs selected for the St. Martin's Press...Read-It-First Program this week:
OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE DECEPTION by Nancy Martin To read "From the Book Jacket" and to find out more about "Our Lady of Immaculate Deception" Go to: http://tinyurl.com/RIF031510


My mom raised five, and definitely used THE LOOK. She said it worked because we all knew there would be trouble if we did not heed the warning.
I have used it teaching, and it seems to work best on students who were raised with that idea of consequences. I once used THE LOOK to stop a truck -- the driver seemed to need a reminder that he needed to stop, and he did.

My mom had the Look in spades, she used it in combination with sarcasm and the seas parted in front of her. The last time she used the Look on me I was 24 and I used it right back. It never had the same effect on me after that.
I didn't have kids but use the look with great effect to get salespeople out of the office, really, do I look like I need a new photocopier?
I have found one situation where the Look doesn't work at all. Here in Vancouver we have lots and lots of English as a second language schools. The kids in these schools often block sidewalks when they are on breaks, outside smoking their brains out. Apparently the Look doesn't work as well across languages - at least not for me.
I often use the Look when crossing the street as a lot of drivers in Vancouver seem to think that the walk signal really means they can make a right or left turn and those pesky pedestrians just happen to be in the way. Yep, I have stopped traffic with the Look.

I meant to post this earlier, and don't know what happened, so here is my official advice:

NEVER let anyone in to your house (unless they are an invited guest). NEVER.

Not even law enforcement - once they cross that threshold, pretty much anything goes - and I know and trust lots of police officers and other LEOs - but we have the RIGHT to keep them out of our homes unless they have a warrant.

As far as The Look goes - one of my classes told me my 'Look' was worse than Dr. Bailey's on Greys.

This is funny!!! Since I never got The Look from my mom....she never quite learned how to use it. However, her mom was another story.

At 4' 10", she could give the beam of death glare to a mobile mountain multiple feet taller and rounder. Within moments, these pathetic people would be a quivering mass of apathetic noodles just hoping to survive to another day.

I learned The Look good, too! I rarely have to use it as all of the munchkins know that there is nothing better than Aunt Debby Love, and all seem to clamore for my approval. All I need is the raise of one eyebrow, and any impending chaos ceases.

Hmm, maybe that love thing is why I don't need the look for nieces and nephews . . . much.
One of my tall students taught me his mother's trick for scolding tall people, he would sit so I could be taller. I don't remember my brothers' height ever being a problem for my tiny mother because she was quite sure that "I'm still the MOM."

Kathy, you are right about never letting anyone in. I'll confess that I didn't used to know that, and the angels that protect the foolish probably put in overtime for all the bad choices I used to make.

OH, yes, love it. The look often comes wth the "tone"--meaning maternal sarcasm blended with an unanswerable question--

Well, where did you lose it?
Did you honestly think I wouldn't find out about that?
Are you going outside in THAT?
(Or--where did you leave the rest of that skirt?)
Did you forget to look in the full-length mirror?
and the classic:

(Beware, too, of people who come to your door and say they are meter readers or town inspectors--probably, they aren't.)

I always like the LOOK Contest..You know the one when you walk into a room and the child is about to rearrange something on the living room coffee table. The child has the gaping open mouth look and the parent has the "AHAH! I caught you look!" The child puts down the forbidden item and everything goes back to normal.

Best parent trick I ever saw -- the parents came to conference with a list, and as I discussed things with them, they smiled and checked them off. Then they explained that before leaving, they sat their children down to tell them what they would be hearing, with the promise of sterner consequences for any "surprises." Not only did their child cover everything I had to say (and more brutally honestly), but there were several things I wouldn't have even remembered or bothered to bring up. . . and their child was a really sweet kid, too.

I love the idea of Gaylin and Mary stopping traffic with The Look. Brava!

Also OT, but a tangent, kind-of: My grandson is learning new words every day. Yesterday, he discovered his mother's box of greeting cards and thank-you notes, complete with envelopes. He up-ended the box, scattering cards all over the floor. He tossed the box aside, looked up at his mother and announced, "Mess!"

She didn't have the heart to use The Look on him. But I say Harvard should just give him his scholarship now.

Just back from teh mall where I had my first bra fitting since I was twelve. Blog worthy? Oh, definitely.

But I read the headline that Sandra Bullock's biker husband cheated on her?? Did this happen when I was underwater or something? Is that man insane?? Can he set foot out of his house without being pelted with garbage?? HOW CAN HE CHEAT ON SANDRA BULLOCK AFTER THAT WEEPY OSCAR SPEECH??

Men. Yeesh.

Nancy! Twelve?!! Gosh you were lucky!
Try age 18 Plus! No that does not coincide with my then bra size!

Yep, saw that yesterday, Nancy. She has left the house and cancelled plans to be in London for the premier of 'The Blind Side'.

Can you just imagine how humiliated she feels? I was stunned when she married him. Just weird.

You're right, Nancy. Just give the kid the full ride, right now. How funny!

I can just imagine the LOOK that Jesse got when Sandra found out.

OMG - The Look of Grave Disappointment! That brings back nightmares. My Mom had that one down cold. She had the other ones, too, but that was The. Worst. Ever.

My Look wasn't that great when my daughter was growing up. Fortunately, she didn't need it that badly. I've gotten better, though; I frequently use the "Do I Need To Kick You Into Next Week?" Look at the karate school when the kids are misbehaving (at a karate school, "kick into next week" has a specific and not-quite-life-threatening meaning, you understand). And I've discovered that a polite and mildly quizical Look is very effective at getting students to stop talking in class. Mostly, I think, because it directs the attention of 100+ other students straight to the culprits.

Can't wait to see you, Nancy, and tell you how much my daughter loves Roxy!

First, regarding Mr. Bullock: I'm not saying it isn't true, but I've also heard suggestions that it was a set-up by his ex-wife to retaliate for Sandra and Jesse getting full custody of his daughter. Some of the things the skanky talker says could have been told to her. That being said, if it IS true...I hope Sandy rakes him over the coals and worse!

Now, the LOOK: My mom had the LOOK, and both of my sisters and I have it. But we received the "only works on males" version. It didn't work too well on my obstinate step-daughter when she was young, and it doesn't phase my now sweet and lovely step-daughter today. It does work on my son and his friends, though. And I've used it successfully on male strangers. But I don't think I've ever had to give the LOOK to my husband. However, we both use the "place hand on back" or "place hand on knee" communication when we want the other to drop a subject we're having with a third person.

Becky, I tried the "hand on knee" at a meeting once to prevent a friend from making a faux pas, and she was so startled by my touch that she jumped and went silent at once. The whole room knew I'd done it. Whoops. *My* faux pas!

Okay, the whole ex-wife side of things is starting to sound like a good mystery plot complication.

Becky, I hadn't heard that, but it did cross my mind.

As much trouble as they have had from his ex, I can't imagine she would leave if there wasn't something to it.

Nancy, that's so funny about your friend's reaction to the ole "hand on knee" warning. I can think of only two friends I could do that to without getting a strange look back.

Also, I can see the creative wheels turning in your head. Is Roxy going to investigate a retaliation-gone-bad in the next book?

If Sandra Bullock had listened to me and married Hugh Grant after that (dumbass, but adorable) movie they made together, she would not be having this problem. She might be having different problems, but not this one. I never could see anything attractive in this guy.

This on the heels of John Edwards' woman saying she didn't realize the GQ photos would be so provocative. Hello? You're sitting on a bed with the Muppets and you're not wearing any pants....

That's my rant of the day. No one dares come to my door, so I had to scold somewhere, LOL.

Nancy, time to teach that grandson a new sentence, "Clean up mess."

Another favorite teaching moment -- Young man sleeping soundly in class (high school boys excel at this). I stood by his desk and just stared quietly until the whole class was attentive and then quietly said, "My mother was right . . . when they're sleeping, they do all look like angels." ROAR of laughter woke the student . . . What??

Second favorite was when we set the clock ahead, all left the room, and had the custodian come in and ask, "What are you still doing here?"

I'm not commenting on "Johnny" Edwards and his idiotic mistress. (You didn't realize the pictures would be dirty because you took YOUR BRAIN OFF WITH YOUR PANTS??) I'm not commenting because I suspect she's going to be a blog topic here next week. (Actually, I can't believe our Sarah didn't blog about her on Tuesday, but I recall she did have a small matter of a deadline that day.)

Packing for Virginia. Is it warm there?? Better be.

Maryland is in the 60s and beautiful. I'm guessing Virginia is the same or better. And this weekend is supposed to be wonderful! Have fun at the book festival. Some day I'm making it down there. And some day (this year?) I'm making it to the Festival of Mystery near you: www.mysterylovers.com/books/events/20100503festival.php

We have so many book events around the Mid-Atlantic in the spring, it's hard to make it to everything.

And about your grandson, it's obvious he's a genius. You may need to sign him up for Yale, Princeton, Brown, Oxford and Cambridge too. Then he can have his pick of scholarships.

Ramona, you made me laugh out loud with the muppets and no pants comment.

Apparently I have the Look when my husband talks about girls. I don't really know how this Look looks like but my husband calls it a "pistol look". Very often he talks about girls on purpose just to see the Look and it seems that it always works.

This "Johnny" business goes back to that annoying thing people do when they "know" people in Hollywood. I think I've written about it before. Like Robert DeNiro is "Bobby DeNiro" and Patricia Cornwell is "Patsy." As in, "Patsy was in here the other day with her fully armed entourage."

So you know it's bad when the unreal Rielle starts talking about "Johnny." I mean, if I knew his name was "Johnny" even before all this shit, I would never have voted for him - and I come from a family of Johns. In a non-prostitution, legal kind of way.

Which goes back to Kathy's thing about not letting people in w/o a warrant.

Laura, I am outraged that they are dragging the Muppets into this sordid affair. That is just unconscionable.

On the other hand, Miss Piggy should slap a few people upside the head.

Ahh -- THE LOOK. It is one thing that does get better with age. My previous drivers license almost captured it, but it was a little on the ticked off, not knock it off side. It has been cross-shredded since the new one came and I'm more or less smiling.

The Look has worked on a bus full of band students going from Minneapolis to St Louis and also in a hotel in Los Angeles where some brianiacs decided that scooters would be fun to ride in the hallways. This was handled by the director in a very respectful way. He told the entire group that he would be at the instrument room (locked storage area) at a certain time and it would be open for anyone who wished to store their scooter or skateboard for the duration of the trip. If a chaperone found one after the appointed time, that child would be calling their parents and going home on their dime. A total of five scooters, two skateboards, and a mini bike were turned in.

I find that a discreet little cough along with a finger to my lips combined with the Look will make most teenagers quit texting or talking. If I get the *who me* look back, I just peer over my the top of my glasses and nod slightly.

AHHHH -- the power of age and the wisdom not to care what the little urchins think about you.

When I was a bank teller I had a rotten robber to be slip me a scribbled note..something about give me all the cash and a dirty word too. I was already ticked off by the Okidata printer being uncooperative and I looked up at him and said "What is this?" He looked at me and I kept looking at him and he ran away. The conclusion was that he must have thought that I was more dangerous than him or that I needed remedial reading in robbery demands.

So it must be true. Jesse James has apologized for hurting his wife and children, but not admitting to the affair. What is it with these women who don't mind being a married man's mistress and keeps all his texts to show in a gossip mag? Don't people have any since of decency any more? Ho #2, it's your turn now...

I bet Miss Piggy could talk about her texts with Kermit, but she's classy enough to keep it between herself and K.

Marie - I think you would win the Look contest. Scaring off a bank robber, you rule.

Thamks, Gaylin! Although stopping traffic with the Look is mighty impressive also!

Yep, stopping a bank robbery definitely wins The Look contest.

I think we should get a peek at Debrasue's driver's license, though, just to be sure. (She's the only teacher I can imagine using the word "urchin" to describe a student. It's that Minnesota niceness again.)

Both my parents could give the Look, even with the rearview mirror!I inherited it too. It worked wonders on my kids.
But I perfected it while on the PD. It is REALLY effective when your hand is resting on a .357! LOL things go from 'little lady' to
'yes ma'am' quickly!
When living in a rural area, I never answered the door without having the .38 tucked in the back waistband. I would rather have & not need, than need & not have.

Sweeney, better than Dr. Miranda Bailey? That's a LOOK.
When I was about 28, I enjoyed using the Look over several days of being the bouncer at a club in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break, charged with stopping alcohol at the door. Me: 5'5+", them: 6' bruisers armed with many sixpacks. They either backed off or surrendered the sixpacks, time after time.
More recently, I told a group of students (not mine--not even my school, thankfully) that if they surrendered all contraband copies of an important exam, I wouldn't flunk them. They didn't know that I didn't know if any of them actually had such copies, but a colleague tells me I gave them the Look firmly and steadily, and the students scrambled to open briefcases and book bags and purses and pull out about 20 copies of stolen exam materials. Wow, who knew the Look had x-ray vision?
My brothers, though, nah. My Look doesn't phase 'em, nor my sister. My nephews, yep, but I put in plenty of time spoiling 'em ripe with love so they sort of have to respect the Look.

Today, when a couple of women tourists cut in front of me in line at my sole trip to Starbucks in a few weeks, I gave 'em the sour-ish 'I can't believe you are so rude,' look, briefly. Then I turned my attention back to deciding what beverage I really, truly wanted. Imagine my surprise when the lead cutter-inner said to the barrista, pointing to me, "She was here first." I tried to shift into not-so-sour mode and thanked them, but the cutters were having none of it, and wouldn't make eye contact or acknowledge my thanks. Oops, sourmilk look.

I think the Look works across species too. I always have to laugh when I don't give the cat what she wants immediately and she gives me The Look. Loved this blog. Brought back memories of moments all the way down my family tree.

The photo reminded me of the Cosby show episode with Theo's "Dragon Lady" math teacher -- when she pulled back her hair and put on those glasses -- formidable!!

Oh, yes, I have the look as do my two sisters. We had a great teacher--Mum's look was such a death ray it would bring us to a stand-still immediately! And when we use this look on one another--we just laugh at the sister giving it to us. The Look may be inherited but it doesn't work well on other sisters!

My sisters and I also have a distinctive throat sound (also learned from Mum) that is very effective with dogs and cats. We can stop an animal in mid-air!

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