I recently had a conversation with my best grad school friend, Brett, about summer in Madison, Wisconsin. Apparently living in a town that is super stupid cold most of the year makes the residents of Madison desperate to be outside and half-naked whenever it rises above freezing. Since Brett moved there just a few months ago, he does not yet have this desperate need. Conveniently for him, lots of attractive, male runners do.
This, of course, presents a problem: How to stare at the eye candy without looking like a Creeper. Fortunately, I can totally help Brett with this, and by extension, help others who deal with similar problems.
Currently, the subject gawks at hot, shirtless runners from his car. This is bad for many reasons.
1) Cars move faster than people, providing little time to gawk and/or fully appreciate the view.
2) Cars are heavy and make good weapons when operated by distracted people.
3) No really, I'm serious. He could kill someone over a nice chest. Not okay.
I will now propose a few solutions to this problem, in order of escalating creepiness.
Non-Creeper Way: Coffee shop near trail
It's so simple it's brilliant. Find a coffee shop with outdoor seating (or a big window if you're scared of sunburn) near a running route, bring a book, order a latte, and gawk away. If a hot, shirtless runner glances over and looks annoyed, pretend to read or glaze your eyes over like you're zoning out and clearly not staring at him. You might be a creeper, but he'll never know. If a hot, shirtless runner looks over and winks, wave him over for a closer view and buy him a drink.
Kinda-Creeper Way: Take up running (Health Bonus with this one)
Buy some running shoes and run with the hot, shirtless guys. Pretty soon, you could be a hot, shirtless guy too. They never need to know you started running just to ogle without seeming like a Creeper.
Definitely-A-Creeper Way: Take up "running"
Buy some running shoes, find a bush that looks out onto a running trail, watch the men run by. When hot, shirtless runner passes you, splash some water on yourself, start panting, catch up and pretend you've been running for a mile or so. Strike up conversation about your "mutual" running hobby.
Pointers: Remember the details of your story (Where did you start running today?), claim you usually run later or earlier so he can't wonder why he never sees you on the trail, try to splash the water on your shirt where you would have been sweating, make sure no pieces of the bush are stuck to you.
Embrace-the-Creeper Way: Hold up score cards as they pass the coffee shop near the trail (CLEARLY THE BEST CHOICE)
Remember that coffee shop we found for the Non-Creeper way? Go there, but don't bring a book. Sit outside with score cards. As hot, shirtless runners pass, hold up their score.
Warning #1: Do not score the ones that would get below a 6.5, it's just cruel. There's a difference between Creeper and D-Bag.
Warning #2: Though this is a bluntly excellent way to meet hot, shirtless runners, most of them will be straight and some of them will be crazy, violent, and/or threatened by the compliment of a high score. For this reason, it is imperative that the subject wears running shoes to the coffee shop. If it looks like getting punched in the face (or any other location) is imminent, the subject should not hesitate to use evasive maneuvers and, if necessary, flee the scene.
I hope this guide has been helpful for more than just Brett. If any of you have questions on this subject or further advice on shirtless runner staring, please comment below. Your feedback is appreciated.