26th Nov 2020
Is it just me, or do people who speak with their eyes closed freak you out too?
He was the most beautiful specimen I had ever seen – huge, deep brown eyes with the kind of thick, luscious eyelashes that makeup bloggers would sell their left arm for. When I approached the group he was at the centre of it, showing off a photograph of his three-legged cat. I swooned uncontrollably, feeling absolutely compelled to talk to this fair-haired, free-spirited feline-lover.
As I floated towards him he suddenly got up and headed in the direction of the toilets. In a flash of panic that he may never re-emerge, I barked “HEY. ARE THEY YOUR REAL EYELASHES?” Oh, god. Of all the things I had to say. He looked at me with a glint in his eye and I could sense he was endeared by my question. Every moment felt like it was in slow motion; him putting his phone in his back pocket, letting out a coy smile, a slow hair flick, and then just as he went to speak, raising his eyebrows he –
HE CLOSED HIS EYES.
Yes. That’s all it took for the boy of my dreams to turn from irresistible to entirely unappetising. In the time it would have taken him to blink (had he chosen to actually re-open his eyelids after their initial close) his allure vanished and all that was left was a guy babbling on with his eyes closed for at least 60% longer than is socially comfortable. *Shudders*
He was one of them. One of those people who continue a conversation with lids locked for a solid four seconds longer than any blink requires. He did not see the immediate horror that spread across my face (because his eyes were closed) and so he continued to speak for another few seconds in that eyes-closed-with-eyebrows-raised-as-high-as-the-forehead-will-physically-allow way that elongated blinkers tend to favour. It’s a habit that results in considerable premature wrinkles on what should otherwise be tight, taut foreheads.
I don’t believe that I am alone in my perturbation in the face of people who speak with their eyes closed. And for the record, I’m not talking about the way people close their eyes pensively when considering a thought, or trying to recall a memory. That’s endearing. That’s the complete opposite of what I’m trying to convey.
Don’t these people realise how many social cues they are missing by keeping their eyes shut mid-conversation? More still, I could literally go out, grab a drink from the bar, have a quick glance at my emails and then quietly nip back over to the guy without him realising I had been missing for any time at all, if I did it quietly enough.
Sometimes the worst bit isn’t even when the eyes are closed as the person continues to talk, but the moment when they open their eyes again, because they open them WIDE, as if to make up for lost time. That’s intense.
So let this be a warning to people who continue to speak with their eyes closed. In the same way that recent GDPR regulations are stipulating companies should only keep the personal information of customers according to what is actually needed, we human folk should really only blink for as long as is actually needed. Which is 0.3 of a second, to be exact.
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