We Give Them Power In Our Heads
Someone asks Dov:
Just a half hour ago, I was in the store, buying challahs for shabbos, and the married woman behind the counter was making my life very difficult! I hope I wasn't too rude, I just basically avoided eye contact. Is that the appropriate eventual end result?? There has to be a way of easing back into normal life - the girls aren't going away, despite my work on my self-improvement...
Yes, we need to avoid looking with lust at all costs. It makes us meshugah, as you know. But the real solution for people with our problem is actually treating these people like what they are: real people. Not potential trouble (lust) objects.
We do that by using their actual names (if we already know what they are) when we daven for them, by polite eye contact and saying hello, thanks, and good-bye, and in general, by plugging-in to their humanity and then letting go of them. We need to be able to walk past these people - when we cannot, it is because we are struck by their power... excuse me? Power? Yup, that is what they have because we give it to them in our heads.
That is where I am going with all this. I regularly daven for these cash-register people, say "hi" in a normal (not hyper, flirty, or attention-getting way), and walk away from them when our interaction is over. She is a cashier right now. A real person trying to get by and support her child by ringing up squash and Kool-aide from 7-3:30 every day. G-d bless her and her family.
That may seem like a wacked out way to associate with people, but for me, it leads me to normal living.