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Narcissus and the Gaze

He looks at himself in the mirror and he liked what he sees.

Is it his actual looks that grant this confidence, or merely the Power of his Gaze whispering to his eyes that the world is his for the taking?

That if he fails to take it, it is not his fault—it just wasn’t ever even worth the effort.

He walks down the street and what does he see? Objects, his to be used or ignored or discarded. Occasionally an obstacle to be vanquished. The Gaze tells him which is which and if it happens to be wrong, it wasn’t wrong—the object was deliberately disguising its intentions to try to fool him, but he got the better of it in the end!

These are the words that the Gaze puts into his head. But he is not the only one who hears its whispers.

A girl minding her own business sitting on a bench or tending to a shop’s window feels the Gaze on her, and knows not what to do. She knows a man’s Gaze can be an indicator of a great many things and that she might be in danger—but does she dare turn around and meet it? It could just be a simple gaze grazing her but finding her unimportant, inaccessible. Yet if she turns around and introduces his Gaze to her own, it might decide to see her inquisitive challenge as an invitation to violence and worse.

She has known the Gaze all her life—not his, specifically, but it speaks to all men, whether or not they choose to heed it or to act on it. It speaks to women, too, teaching them dependence by rewarding them for using it correctly and abusing them for ignoring its call.

But she doesn’t want a man’s Gaze to define her, to be an object in someone else’s sentence. Which is why she turns her own Gaze to other things, to work and play and family, and away from his play on power—yet always keeps her ears open for the tell-tale whisper of a man’s lesser Gaze.

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About Polypsyches

I write, regardless of medium or genre, but mostly I manage a complex combined Science-Fiction/Fantasy Universe--in other words, I'm building Geek Heaven. With some other stuff on the side. View all posts by Polypsyches

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