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A Staring Contest is a competition where a number of players (usually two) must lock sights with each other's eyes and stare as for as long as possible. The first player to look away or blink loses.

As an optional rule, the players may do anything they want (without touching the other player) to try to get the other player to look away or blink. The stock joke is for one participant to be something that cannot blink.

Compare Staring Down Cthulhu, which is a bit more extreme.

Examples of Staring Contest include:

Comic Books

  • In Judge Dredd, as of 2134, competitive staring is a professional sport in Mega-City one with a relatively small but growing following.

Fan Works

Literature

  • In the Discworld novel Lords and Ladies, Granny Weatherwax is challenged to a staring contest with a twist by up-and-coming witch Diamanda. They won't be staring at each other, but at the sun.
  • Aquarium described how, during his time in the Spy School, the narrator was taught that no man can be recruited unless you can win a Staring Contest with him; otherwise, he has the stronger will. Suvorov spent quite a bit of time in the zoo, staring down tigers as practice.
  • Forgotten Realms novels usually describe mind-to-mind fight like this, and usually the attacking side starts with making it impossible to avert gaze.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who Weeping Angels ability (they can't move but can't be hurt, as they lock themselves out of time, when being looked at) forces you to get into these for your life. If you so much as blink, the Angel is going to Flash Step next to you and kill you before your eyelids have time to open again. They also have a second sneaky trick in that if you look them directly in the eye, they will animate the image of the angel in your retina, which will claw it's way out of your eye and kill you anyway. To be safe, you have to look at them, but NOT in the eye.

Newspaper Comics

  • A Garfield strip has the titular character initiate a staring contest against a goldfish. Then Jon informs him that fish don't have eyelids.

Video Games

  • The fourth case in Ace Attorney Investigations reveals that Edgeworth once won a glaring contest against his own reflection. Somehow.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay, Guybrush places Hardtack and Trenchfoot into a staring contest, into which our hero can distract the pirate duo into looking behind them so he can place the Pyrite Parrot into the treasure chest, in hopes that he can find where they'll bury it along with one of the Summoning Artifacts later.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

  • The easiest (though admittedly underhanded) way to win a staring contest is to blow gently into your opponent's eyes so that they will be forced to blink due to dryness.
  • Derren Brown once challenged random passersby to a staring contest. Somehow, without saying anything, he would cause the other person to feel very uncomfortable and close their eyes. In one case, a guy actually screamed and grabbed his head, until Derren helped him. This only fuels David Tennant's conclusion that Derren is a witch. See the contest here.
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