I caught pretty much the same look one night at the Posse East after I finished an open mike set. A table of college age kids featured one attractive young girl who looked a me in exactly the same way that barista had done many months before. At that point I'd never even tried to talk to this young woman at the Posse or anyone in her party. I just continued to go about my own business and leave them alone. Soon after this young woman looked at me this way, she came up and talked to me. She told me she liked my set and asked general questions about whether I play out and stuff like that. I stood there with my hands clasped behind my back and politely talked to her until she went back to her table with her friends. They left soon afterwards.
I couldn't quite put my finger on why these two totally unrelated young women looked at me in precisely the same way on two different occasions. I'm now prepared to conclude that they both had something of an interest in me, but that they had serious reservations about throwing me any kind of bone of attention. The same fearful looks they both had in their eyes tell me that they thought that if they showed any interest in me at all, that I might not leave them alone, so to speak. In other words, that they might suffer negative consequences for showing the slightest bit of interest in me.
I can only come to these kinds of understandings about women I very much have an attraction to by following my buddha. By following my buddha, I mean continually working the experiment I first tried with Sara in 1988 where I "turned my back on love." In other words, by seeing what would happen if I just let perceived opportunities slip through my fingers and go on my way. If I had a love interest at this current time who seemed to 1) just want me to let go and walk away from them, or 2) wanted things to stay in exactly the same stalemate, or 3) wanted me to move things forward by jumping through her hoops, I think following my buddha and just letting all of this stuff slip through my fingers would help me to see that she probably would, as in the case of these two young women I've mentioned here, not like for me to pursue her to the ends of the Earth and back, and therefore, she really doesn't want to give me some kind of really affirming, validating, positive attention.
If I were to have a love interest at the current time who felt too inhibited to show that she liked me because of what I might do in reaction, the most reassuring thing I think I could do is not much of anything, really. This current era has brought to light a whole spectrum of male misconduct towards women ranging from grabbing some woman's ass at a gathering to sexual assault, and I think I can see that such apprehensions on the part of young women in my world to show that they like me seem pretty understandable.