The [Washington] Post reported that some career diplomats working under Tillerson “have been instructed not to speak to him directly ― or even make eye contact.” The report also said career State Department workers “swap paranoid stories about Tillerson that often turn out to be untrue,” so the veracity of the forbidden eye contact rule is unclear. (Twitter Loses It Over Report Rex Tillerson Doesn’t Allow Eye Contact via HuffPo.)
So apparently Rex Tillerson, the United States’ most formidable foreign policy advisor shares at least one characteristic with Rain Man: he can’t make eye contact. Twitter collectively lost it’s shit last night when the news broke. Whether it is true or not, I couldn’t help but think that Rex Tillerson is the Doug’s dad’s Mercedes in the Hangover and the help at the State Department is the proverbial old man …
Besides the slew of political implications, there are some real fears that we shouldn’t overlook. Like that fact that the first symptom of Autism according to WebMD is …
Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
Now I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure being on the Autism spectrum bars you from being the main line of communication between the United States and foreign governments. But that’s neither here nor there. On second thought, actually it kinda is.
JFK said that the only thing to fear is fear itself, but I think the real fear we should have as citizens of the United States is that Rex Tillerson might be Medusa. Forget about the Russians hacking us, we’ve got a Gorgon from Greek Mythology running the God damn State Department. Get out your tinfoil hats, here is Wikipedia’s description of Medusa:
Gazers upon her face would turn to stone.
If there is another reason Tillerson’s aides shouldn’t look him in the face, I’m hard pressed to find it.
So should I not make eye contact like Rex Tillerson?
“If Rex Tillerson jumped off of a bridge would you?” – me (and your mom, probably)
Besides lack of eye contact leading to rumors about you riding the short bus to school and wearing a helmet in public and/or being a mythical God, it could cost you a whole lot more. Like a job, padding of your sexual partner stats or a modeling contract. Not even Ben Stiller can make a Blue Steel pose look good when your peepers look like a pair of googly eyes from arts and crafts time.
Conversing with someone who can’t make eye contact is more awkward than telling your Roman Catholic grandmother that you are gender-queer. Eye contact is the first (HR-approved) trait an interviewer will notice and think about how hard it would be to keep a relationship with a set of wandering eyes that just so happen to focus on the private parts of a passerby when out for half-priced apps with bae.
Quite frankly without eye-contact the world would fall into disrepair. Personal relationships would cease to exist, the economy would screech to a halt and reproduction would creep to a stand still since we couldn’t gaze into your partners eyes while making love.
So do your career and humankind a favor, maintain unsettling eye-contact. Or at the very least, gaze in other humans direction.
And shame on you Rex for Making Lack of Eye Contact Great Again!
Looking for some actual advice? We’ve got you covered. The Muse can teach you how to make eye contact without seeming like the leader of a cult who just had his pupils dilated. Because, science.