Ask McFartnuggets: “How Can People Tell When I’m Staring At Them?

When people can feel you
staring it means you're
doing it too hard.
Dear McFartnuggets: 
Why is it that every time I’m people watching with my binoculars it’s only a matter of time before the woman turns in my direction and sees me? It doesn’t matter how far away I am, I could be 100 yards away and it’s like she feels my eyes on her and turns. Then I see her dialing her phone and that’s when I run because I’m assuming she’s calling the cops and it ruins my whole day of people watching. What the hell is this? Is it like something from my eyeballs that’s causing this? Should I wear sunglasses? Is there something I can change to keep from being spotted? -- Nelson from Chesapeake, Virginia

Dear Nelson:
What you’re referring to is actually an evolutionary phenomenon that humans among other animals have. It’s called gaze detection. It’s sort of a sixth sense that lets a person know they’re being hunted. It’s what results in that feeling of being watched that people get. More often than not it’s just a hunch that people feel when they’re exposed in the open. They might get paranoid and start looking around then they see some weirdo in the distance with his pants down holding binoculars and they call the cops. I don’t think it has anything to do with how intensely you’re staring at someone. Unless you’re Cyclops from the X-Men sunglasses won’t help you. I would just recommend getting more powerful binoculars and staying farther away because the effect is stronger the closer you are to someone. I’m sure you’ve noticed how easily a woman can tell you’re staring at them when they’re simply walking up the stairs in front of you. It’s a proximity thing because you’re a more immediate predatorial threat when you’re closer.

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