A word does not exist for people’s evasive glances or stares while they are trying to avoid eye contact with someone they have seen, but do not want to talk to. People pretend that they did not see the person, and look in every direction other than into the person’s eyes. Here’s a term for this action: OhNo!–NoLook.
OhNo!–NoLook – When you see someone you know, in a public place, and pretend that you did not see him or her. You look in every direction instead of into the person’s eyes hoping that he or she does not see you.
I spend a lot of time at the North York Central Library. The librarians are friendly — that is at the library. When I see them outside the library, especially while traveling on public transit, they give me the Ohno!–NoLook. What contrast to their super-friendly behavior at the library! They look in every direction except my eyes for fear I will talk to them. Their actions scream, “Please don’t see me! Please don’t see me! Please don’t see me!” How comical to watch people pretend that they do not see me.
The librarians do not know that I would not talk to them. If they made eye contact with me, acknowledging me, then I would only nod “Hello.” I would find my space where I can retreat into my private world and not talk to anyone.
Because of the extent of their panic during the many times they have given me the OhNo!–NoLook, I told the librarians that they did not have to worry about me talking to them if they acknowledge seeing me when we are outside of the library. They admitted that they enjoy their private time, and do not wish to talk to library patrons when not at work. I assured them that I would only talk and bother them while we were inside the library.
I confess to doing the OhNo!–NoLook when not wanting to talk to someone I know. I look in every direction hoping that he or she does see me. What is funny is when someone is giving me the OhNo!–NoLook while I am giving it to him or her. While looking in every direction to avoid eye contact with each other, somehow we make eye contact. Then we pretend to be surprised and glad to see each other. During our conversation, we never acknowledge how we were trying to avoid talking to each other.
What a phony bunch we humans are!