Friday, April 14, 2006

Watching the Girl from Ipanema

I love people watching. I love to sit in the mall and just watch the world go by. There is something about knowing that you are “in” on a tiny sliver of a person’s life as they walk by that can be downright exhilarating at times.

Of course, when the subject is “people” watching, it invariably turns into a discussion on “girl” watching. And for a very good reason.

Men use the act of walking to get from point “A” to point “B”. It’s nothing more than that to them. They are not trying to communicate anything. They are just moving their carbon-based molecules through space.

Women, on the other hand, often feel like transportation — pedal or otherwise — is a statement. (Not all women believe this all the time, but enough do to make it interesting.)

Women treat walking as a three-step process. They get ready for it, they do it, and then they admire their accomplishment.

Whereas men simply move through space, women actually take over and occupy the space for a brief moment. After a woman has walked by, it is natural to stop and take a poll — ask the audience what they thought of the message that the woman left behind. To do so after a man walked by would be an exercise in futility.

If you’ve done as much girl watching as I have, you will notice that women are naturally divided into two categories: the attractive women and the not-attractive women. Don’t argue with me on this one; you know I’m right.

I have also noticed that the attractive women tend to naturally fall into two sub-categories: those who are aware of their attractiveness and those who are unaware of it.

It is that last group that intrigues me the most: the attractive women who are unaware. They are the most innocent, the most alluring. They go through life making a statement, but they don’t even know what that statement is. As they pass men, the men acknowledge that they are a beauty to behold but are the same time untouchable. For unless a woman is aware of the effect she is having, it would be a sin to take advantage of it.

Whenever I think of girl watching, I have to think of music. It’s only natural. Heck, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass had a hit song on that very subject — “Music to Watch Girls Go By”.

But it is another song that epitomizes the very essence of girl watching. It’s one of the most recorded songs in the history of music — the one that introduced the rhythms of the bossa nova to much of the world.

The Girl from Ipanema
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim
Original Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel

Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes
Each one she passes goes "aah"

When she walks she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes
Each one she passes goes "aah"

Now there  is a beautiful girl who has absolutely no clue the effect she has on the men as she passes them.


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