The Stink Eye

Until about a year ago, I did not know the term “stink eye”, though I have received a bunch in my time and have shot out more than a few myself. Apparently it originates from Hawaiian surfer slang and means a stare of suspicion or doubt, in other words, a dirty look.

I have witnessed Skinnyhead, our top silkie hen, give it to Stella and Stella return the favor in a stare down contest that Skinnyhead usually wins when Stella gets bored with the game. I have seen it from my kids back in the day, from co-workers, from other drivers (and even passengers), and as I mentioned, if I had bothered to pull out a mirror, on any number of days, I walked around with the stink eye toward shoppers at the grocery store, cashiers, my kids back in the day, and even people at church. I might as well admit it. Other people were bound to notice the dirty look on my face even if I didn’t. God certainly knew.

Of all the dogs I have ever known, not one comes close to the perfected stink eye that Snoopey, one of our Olde English Bulldogges, has developed.

Snoopey lives on alert. Her senses are keen, eyes and hearing sharp, and she works her nose better than many bulldogs are able. She is a natural-born watchdog and pack leader, always looking out for the welfare of the others. (Well, not for Tiger’s welfare so much. They are still feuding.)

But…she is suspicious. She casts her stink eye around generously. In fact, she starts in stink eye mode and then switches to her “hi there, nice to see ya” face when she recognizes who it is.

Seldom does she completely relax. I have been petting her and watched as she cocked her eyes over to check on what Tiger was up to.

Suspicious is a hard way to live. You’re always suspecting that someone is about to jump you. Maybe you got jumped before. Maybe you grew up that way, always on guard, learning to use your face as a shield. And as a weapon.

In the Bible, King Saul was suspicious of David (1 Samuel 18:9). Read the entire story. It did not end well for Saul.

Generally, giving the stink eye is just going to earn you a stink eye in return and there is no real winner in that kind of staring contest. Dirty looks can start a fight. Instead of suspicious, we can be observant and aware. That way we don’t get jumped and we don’t jump someone else.

I am learning that lesson. I wish I could teach it to Snoopey. The last stink eye she gave Tiger almost started a fight.


Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.


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