"I have to admit that I don't really look at a lot of the younger guys. It's really the energy that they put out. If you're a guy that's a showoff and looks arrogant, I'm not going to want to even look at you. I mean, I'd rather have a conversation with a nice guy who's funny versus somebody who's hot. I went through a phase when I was younger where I was going to clubs a lot, only looking at certain guys, and really being a bitch sometimes, too. You know, getting free drinks as much as I could. But again, that's a phase. You go through it, and then you're done with it. And you learn from it. You learn that not everybody wants to sleep with you. I mean, you're not that hot all the time. People aren't that interested in you all the time. You know? It's better to be humble and take people at their face value and just see them the way they are."
Aurora Sanchez, 23, lives in National City. Twelve years in San Diego, grew up in Tijuana.
"In general, people get sometimes intimidated when people make eye contact. Like myself, I might get a little neurotic or paranoid if somebody makes eye contact with me, just because it forces me to look at the other person, and I wonder what they want.
"Although I think people in San Diego do make eye contact because they're friendly and they want to meet people. But in Tijuana, where I'm from, it's more like, 'Why are you looking at me?' Almost like a judgmental thing.
"I've changed since I've been here, though, and I don't mind eye contact as much. I try to smile at people when we look at each other. I try to be friendly. Because I think San Diego is a pretty friendly place."
Tiffany Jobbagy, 23, lives in Chula Vista. Five months in San Diego, grew up in Connecticut.
"I go by first impressions a lot, so if someone's looking at me, and it seems like some weird guy who I feel uncomfortable about, then I won't give eye contact. Or, if I feel like a guy is looking at me just to pick me up, and he's looking at me for the wrong intentions, then I don't return eye contact. I return eye contact mostly when I think someone else's look has good intentions. If someone's just saying 'hi' and being nice, then I'll return eye contact back. But if it's for the wrong reasons, then I avoid it.
"For the most part, I think eye contact is important, and it says a lot about who you are as a person. And I think that people who have good communication skills have good eye contact, because they're secure.
"I do find that there are times when you can sense somebody's security right away just based on the way that they approach you, based on the way they interact with you. And I do find that there are times when I'll have a conversation with somebody, and you can tell that they're uncomfortable because they won't look at you. But I wouldn't say that I've noticed any eye-contact trend in San Diego versus New England.
"I don't check out guys. I'm old school that way, old-fashioned. I guess I wait for the guys to check me out, if they're going to. The guys who do give me eye contact, or who give me that little glimmer of, like, 'I'm interested,' I most of the time don't return it back, because I get bad vibes easily. I think I might come off as arrogant or bitchy, but it's because I'm a to-myself, mind-my-business type of person. But if I'm approached and someone interacts with me, then I'm good. I'm good to go. I'm open to that. But I think initially people might get the wrong vibe from me."
Chi Essary, 31, lives in University Heights. Four years in San Diego, grew up in Oregon.
"It's a little more feminist in Oregon, where I'm from. The feminism is really kind of in-your-face. So the men were even less likely to make eye contact with you there than they are here. When I came here, I was, like, 'Wow, the men will actually talk to you and make eye contact.' Because the thing was, the women could be very rude to men up in Oregon. Very rude. It was like it was an affront to women to approach them. You had to be careful to treat them like complete equals. So if you approached a woman, then it was a sexual thing, and you were a male chauvinist pig. Or something like that. I never really agreed with much of that. But I saw a lot of it.
"Like, one time, at Reed College, which is this bastion of extreme feminism, these two guys were walking out of the student union, and one of the guys held the door open for this girl, and she called him a rapist. Can you believe that? So I kind of grew up in an area where you weren't supposed to acknowledge that a woman was a woman and a man was a man, and by being flirtatious and approaching a woman, you were being the dominant one, and it had to all happen more organically. And when I talked about that with my girlfriends, they would say that it was so hard to actually meet a guy, because it couldn't look like he was trying to come on to you at all. You could only meet through friends or accidents.
"So here, in San Diego, it's a lot more laid back than that. But I'm shy, in general. So when a guy tries to make eye contact with me, I look down. So then of course he's not going to come talk to me because I look down. And my friends always tease me about that."