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From Ian Brown's argument that it's ok for men to look admiringly at women to the story of a tycoon who ponied up $63-million to get a man to marry his daughter, we give you the best-read Life stories of the year

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1. Why men can't - and shouldn't - stop staring at women



Ian Brown's article on the irresistible (and, he argues, acceptable) urge men have to admire women struck a nerve.

"I ask a woman sitting in an outdoor café if she minds being looked at by men," writes Brown. "Her name is Ali – a 26-year-old student with an Italian boyfriend who looks at everyone. That used to bother her but doesn't any more. 'Just looking, I don't think it's offensive. But I think it's offensive if there's comments.'Every woman I speak to says the same thing, without exception. So why does girl-watching have such a terrible reputation? Maybe because it's an act of rebellion."

The article garnered over 1,400 comments - with reactions ranging from total agreement to utter disgust.

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1. 10 signs your spouse may be planning to divorce you



"January is one of the busiest months for divorce lawyers, Globe Life reporter Tralee Pearce observers in this piece.

"Major red flags that are often overlooked during a season characterized by fresh beginnings include a spouse suddenly taking a greater interest in the kids’ activities or convincing their partner to do some major financial shuffling – all ways in which they may be trying to secure the most custody and the least costs possible," she writes.

More than 400 people commented on this story.

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1. From a mistress, advice for wives



Marsha Lederman talks to Sarah Symonds about turning her past as a mistress into a career, ahead of the debut of Symonds' reality show and book.

“Nobody ever wants to talk about the other woman, but we’re people too – making bad decisions, but we’re not bad people,” she told Lederman. “Everything is about the wife, everything is about the man who’s cheating. What about the woman who’s discarded? She gave her heart to this man. What happens to her?”

Some 600 readers chimed in with reactions to this story.

Rafal Gerszak/rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

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1. Awkward! CTV anchor accidentally propositions colleague on air



"Which of the following words is not a synonym for chat: yak, gab, canoodle or blab?" asks Amy Verner in this Hot Button blog post.

“If you guessed canoodle, you have a better mastery of old-fashioned expressions than CTV news anchor Andrew Johnson, who unintentionally proposed an amorous interlude with his colleague Astrid Braunschmidt on the local Vancouver Island channel yesterday...The make-out mix-up came about after a segment on Union Bay, a small community near Courtenay, B.C. An elderly woman recalled a time when guys would bring their girlfriends to a wooded area to 'canoodle or whatever.' In his transition to the weather report, Johnson announced, 'It’s time now for a full look at your forecast with Astrid. Maybe we can canoodle before you get into it.'"

This light-hearted story gave Globe readers a good chuckle.

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1. Tycoon offers $63-million to any man who marries lesbian daughter



The headline of this Hot Button post sums it up pretty well. Globe writer Erin Anderssen looks at a story out of Hong Kong, where a real-estate tycoon, after hearing of his daughter's marriage to her long-time girlfriend, offers a $63-million cash prize to a man - any man, anywhere - who will get her to marry him. (It seems dad was in denial about the lesbian marriage.)

"He did, as reported by the Telegraph, offer some praise for the prospective bride in this business arrangement," writes Anderssen. “'Gigi is a very good woman with both talents and looks. She is devoted to her parents, is generous and does volunteer work.'”

Bizarre, yes, but apparently true.

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