This is a nice summary of a tricky problem. I like the "mountains" bit at the end.
My Sensei used to say that you only look at the person's eyes if you are absolutely sure that your will is going to be dominant in the exchange. It's better not to take a chance.
He told the story of an ex-yakuza that he met. The fellow was reformed, but was full-on gangster with tattoos and everything. He had left the yakuza and become a Christian. Apparently he was very relaxed and friendly.
Anyway, they were talking about this topic, and the man told Sensei that in the yakuza, they work very hard on their "intimidating gaze". He volunteered to show Sensei what it looked like. According to Sensei, it was absolutely terrifying - not just the face or the eyes, but the way it made him feel. The guy "turned it off" and laughed. According to the man it takes a lot of practice in the mirror to learn how to do that.
I don't want to learn how to do it. I would rather stay calm and look at the mountains.
I much prefer looking at old episodes of cowboys on the telly.As far as gazing intently at someone, this can and often results in a confrontation.In general I like to have eyes / look that appears benevolent [and 99% ]of the time is a benevelent gaze.It is only when the chips are down and the situation is serious do I become a little bit more intimidating.I believe you can train to swich on and off how you project your demeanour.
I have met doormen , loan sharl enforcers in my day.Socially they were goodd guys, happy smiling eyes , quite witty.Totally opposite when they put on their Mr Nasty hat.You knew when they were up for it ,and willing to exchange blows.
I think a apparent pleasant manner can get you out of a sticky position, and if not thats too bad. Cheers, Joe