Can you help me tell the difference between a guy who's staring at me like a piece of meat and one who's staring at me because he likes me?
Sometimes it's easy to tell because some dudes (a minority!) just give you this lurid look like they've never seen a woman before. But many times it's more subtle and therefore confusing, because even a decent guy can give you a cheeky look or lustful smile because he finds you attractive.
So how can I tell the difference and stop being so uncertain / suspicious?
Most Helpful Guy
Let's get a couple things out of the way, first.
The only real "pervy" gazes are the obvious-looking ones. After that, you shouldn't make any assumptions about his intentions based on his mere look.
Keep in mind, it used to be considered romantic to "longingly gaze at the one you admire." (That is, before everything a man did became bad.)
Also, if a guy likes you, he's going to have sexual interest in you. Heck, he's probably picturing you naked. Even the nicest and most kosher guys will "undress you with their mind", and this isn't something disrespectful. Not unless they actually ARE disrespectful people.
A pervert would be someone who views you as a piece of meat. That is: They have sexual interest in you without respecting or taking interest your personal self. But for some reason, people seem to only look at the "sexual" part and assume sexual interest means pervert, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Emotional and Sexual interest are too intertwined to praise one and condemn the other, like we are currently doing.
Good, that's off my chest.
A look isn't the place to look for this personality trait. If he stares at you for a long time, then yeah, that's just kinda rude to anyone. But looking at you and smiling isn't problematic. So I would focus mostly on being less suspicious and worried, lest you live in fear and push the best guys away.
If you want to look for better hints, it would have a lot to do with how he actually interacts with you. Namely, a good guy will try to explore your person before trying to explore your body. Trying to hold a conversation instead of trying to grind against you. This is a man who is interested in the whole package.
(So if you show much more body than personality in how you dress yourself, you'll attract more guys, yes, but probably ones you don't want to be around.)
So basically, just focus on not worrying about something like a certain look or smile, and focus on knowing where your boundaries are and how to make them clear should you run into one of our nastier brothers.1