It wasn’t until after high school that I found out the simple fact that the fine folks who occupy the women’s section know when you are staring at them, no matter how clever you may be, they have the usual vantage point of being behind you, like an enemy on the ridge machine gunning your soldiers down, they can tell when those eyes are taken off of the action up at the bimah and trained on them, however much strain you need to make your eyes do things in the peripheral department that they weren’t created to do. Based on my own experiences and of watching the pathetic ways of others I have come up with the different types of “moves” one uses to get a better look at the ladies without looking too desperate. One should note that most of these ideas are only for use in shuls that have a women’s section that makes it possible to look over. Shuls with little slots like those in mobster movies, impregnable cinder block walls with watch towers or the ever present “women sit in different room” type of women’s sections may need a whole different sort of strategy, as the women themselves cannot see you.
Classic in my mind, and very common. The person wanting to look over at the ezras nushim will do a series of stretches all the while turning his head to look over and see what goodies lay in the forbidden section. Stretchers are everywhere, keep your eyes peeled.
I never understood how folks could crack their necks and always found it kind of rude to do in shul, but then I realized that neck crackers usually sat in areas that were in sight of the mechitza and the casual rolling of the head to crack the neck offered great views of the women’s section, regardless of the fact that the women may appear to be sideways due to the angle of your neck cracking techniques.
Where’s the Clock?
I used to do this actually, but I had legitimate reasons, the clock was hanging after the downstairs women’s section just below the balcony. I feel that it was strategically placed there so that men could look at both women’s sections without feeling too bad. I always wear a watch of course, but no one knew this.
I am not condoning talking in shul, but by far the best way to look at the ladies is to chat with your friends in a sideways, arm on the back of the bench way. This allows you to stare most of the time without being noticed.
In many shuls they like to make you awkward by putting the tissues in some obscure front of the shul locale, so in order to get these you must walk in front of the whole shul and back reminding me of the runway at Bryant Park. This of course has its perks, it does allow you to slowly walk back to your seat and scan the women’s section for potential hotties to approach during the shabbos mevurchim Kiddush.
Where’s my Mom/Sister:
If you happen to be on your home turf, this could be a great excuse, unfortunately for most people I know, home turf is located far away from the masses of ladies that are “worth mechitza breeching” time. Most people know all the girls in their home towns, so its not as exciting as uncharted territory or the local singles scene. Of course I have a theory that women, no matter what their looks or how long you have known them, take on a new look when stepping behind the glass and wood walls of mechitzas and suddenly become intriguing.
The Wall/Bimah Lean:
The folks who like to droop their arms over the side of the bimah or the guys who lean on the walls on the side of the shul have a distinct advantage over all of us middle of the room fellows. You see they aren’t as noticeable and can sometimes throw down the stares without being caught. Bimah guys should wear glasses as I can never see anything from up there, although the walk down from the bimah affords the best views, that’s as rare an anything because the only job I ever get is gelila.
Bimeh Madlikin Bathroom Break:
I used to bust out a bathroom break during bimeh madlikin, I still do if I am in a shul with loads of ladies. Many of you may wonder where in the world girls go to shul on Friday night. I will tell you that anywhere the singles roam, is where you will find the ladies in shul on Friday night. I do remember distinctly going to the Bayit in Toronto on a Friday night about 7 years ago and being shocked at how many girls there were, it was a sight to behold, although most of them were rather young, hey wait, I was young as well.
Playing with the kids:
If you want some good looks without looking to obvious, bust out your stares while playing with the little kids that parents bring to shul on Friday night in order that they scream in the middle of kabalas shabbos. The kids are always running all over the place, so while you give them high fives you can use your peripheral vision to gaze into the ezras nushim.
Licah Dodi Lookback:
The only part of davening, besides for birchas kohanim that tells us to stare at the women. Not only do you get a great view, you can time it so it appears as if you have more kavannah and are catching up and this will allow you to delay several seconds so that you are bowing and they are already turned around.
I think this is the strategy of the old men in shul. The ladies just think, “oh that cute old man has lost his mind and is spacing out” but in his mind he knows very well what he is doing. I have no clue why old men are allowed to look at the ladies and we cannot, I mean look at all the products to increase their sex drives and make them feel like 15 year olds again. So to bust out a stare, you have to have some balls. It may require a little drool and acting, but I can attest that it can definitely be done.
Just Looking Around:
This may be the most common of stares, usually conducted after shmona esray while wiating for the chorus of kedusha to be struck up. These people will just casually look around, but since they do not want to be so obvious they will look at men and women.
Did I miss any?