Scientists say that before we could talk, we were communicating with body language, very much like those guys who wave airplanes in at the airport. And since our brains still operate much like they did in those days, we supposedly still carry around the inherent ability to communicate just with our gestures and expressions. Many say it is still our primary form of communication, especially when it comes to our emotions. Darwin even thought that certain body language was shared among all animals, due to the needs of procreation, emotion, spotting and reacting to threats.
To many, the business of body language and procreation is of primary interest because, well, we are interested in sex and not just for procreation (although the brain at it’s most basic level apparently doesn’t know the difference.) Even though we are supposed to inherently “know” the “signs” that someone is interested in us, I am posting some accepted body language cues for those of you who are not so in touch with your primal side. BTW, I will also be announcing an iPhone app soon that serves as real time guide to these things for you geeks who have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT with your reptilian brain.
For the female, the following signs seem to be pan-gender, but depending on the culture can have important differences and nuance. I make no representations or warranties regarding them.
1. Eye contact - anything more than a glance indicates initial interest.
2. Eye catch and look away - establishing eye contact then looking away or down is said by many experts to be the standard initial signal of interest designed to hook male reaction. The reliability of the signal meaning is strengthened when repeated and/or reinforced with longer eye-contact.
3. Eye-widening - interest, simultaneously increasing attractiveness/appeal.
4. Eyelash flicker - subtle movement of eyelashes to widen eyes briefly.
pupil dilating - interest, liking what is seen, arousal.
5. Looking sideways up - lowering head, slightly sideways, and looking up - also known as doe-eyes, with eyelashes normally slightly lowered - displays interest and vulnerability/coyness
6. Shoulder glance - looking sideways towards the target over the shoulder signals availability, and hence interest.
7. Smiling - obvious sign of welcoming and friendliness.
8. Moistening lips - lips are significant in signaling because (psychologists say) they mimic the female labia, hence the potency of red lipstick (suggesting increased blood flow) and moistening/licking the lips.
9. Parted lips - significant and potent attraction signal.
10. Preening - especially of hair, which exposes the soft underarm.
11. Flicking hair - often combined with a slight tossing movement of the head.
12. Canting (tilting) head - also exposes neck.
13. Showing inner wrist or forearm - a soft vulnerable area and erogenous zone.
14. Straightening posture - standing taller, chest out, stomach in - a natural response to feeling the urge to appear more appealing.
15. Self-touching - drawing attention to sexually appealing parts of the body; neck, hair, cleavage, thigh, etc. - additionally self-touching is said to represent transference/imagining of being touched - and of course demonstration of what it would be like for the target to do the touching; teasing in other words.
16. Self thigh-stroking - usually while sitting down - same as self-touching.
17. Standing opposite - normally a confrontational positioning, but in flirting allows direct eye contact and optimizes engagement. Refer also to personal space rules: less than 4ft between people is personal; less than 18 inches is intimate and only sustainable when there is some mutual interest and attraction, especially when direct facing and not in a crowded environment. N.B. Crowded environments distort the personal space rules, where implied permissions (e.g., for public transport and dense crowds or queues) override normal interpretations.
18. Leaning forward - sitting or standing; leaning forwards towards a person indicates interest and attraction.
19. Foot pointing - direction can indicate person of interest.
20. Knee-pointing - as foot pointing.
21. Leg twine - a tight-leg cross 'aimed' (combined with eye contact) at a target, or when sitting one-to-one, increases sexual allure since it emphasizes leg shape and tone. When employed flirtatiously, female leg crossing and uncrossing also has obvious sexual connotations and stimulates basic urges in males.
22. Shoe-dangling - positive signal of relaxation or of greater promise, especially if the foot thrusts in and out of the shoe.
23. Pouting - pouting involves tightening the lips together; the tongue rises to the roof of the mouth as if ready to swallow. Pouting displays various emotions, not always a sexual one, for example projection of the lower lip indicates upset. An attraction pout looks more like the initial forming of a kiss.
24. Picking fluff - removing fluff, hair, etc., from the target's clothes is playing in the intimate personal space zone, in which the fluff picking is merely a pretext or excuse.
fondling cylindrical objects - phallic transference, for instance using pens, a dangling earring, a wine glass stem, etc.
25. Mirroring - mirroring or synchronizing gestures and positions is a signal of interest and attraction. See mirroring.
The body language that men use is much more simple to understand. In fact, stunted, primal and sophomoric displays are the norm, further proving Darwin’s hypothesis. Most of the males signs signal their availability and attract female attention are summarized below. Perhaps my new iPhone app can serve to accelerate male body language evolution, since little has changed in the last million years.
1. Posturing - erect stance, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in.
2. Wide stance - legs apart (standing or sitting) - to increase size.
3. Cowboy stance - thumbs in belt loops, fingers pointing to genital area.
4. Hands in pockets - thumbs out and pointing to genitals.
'chest-thumping' - a metaphor describing various male antics designed to draw attention to themselves, often involving play-punching or wresting other males, laughing too loudly, head-tossing, acting the fool, etc.
5. Room scanning - males who are available and looking for females tend to scan the room, partly to look for available females, but also to indicate they are available themselves.
6. Dress - clothing: style, fit, cleanliness, etc - is all an extension of personality and is therefore part of body language.
7. Preening and grooming - adjusting clothes, ties, cuffs, sleeves, tugging at trouser crotch, running hands through or over hair, etc.
8. Smell - certain smells are attractive to females but it's a complex and highly personal area yet to be understood well.
9. Tattoos - here's an interesting one, commonly ignored in conventional body language flirting guides. Tattoos are significant attention-grabbers, and given the variety of subjects featured, also provide interesting talking points.
10. Body piercings - again more complex than traditionally considered, piercings do attract attention and signify the wearer to be different.
11. Dancing - dancing, in a suitable place of course, has for thousands of years been an opportunity for males and females to display their physical and sexual potential. With the exception perhaps of pogo-ing and head-banging most dance styles replicate sexual movements - lots of rhythmic hip and leg work, contorted facial expressions, sweating and occasional grunting, etc.
My iPhone app, iBodyLanguage 2.0, in combination with alcohol can translate and accelerate mutual body language exchanges in such a way to move two people out of the primal and into the 21st Century by just aiming the camera around the room. Even though most people will think you are looking at Facebook, the app will be reading body language from people in the room, giving you an instant guide to who may be interested in you.
BTW, the algorithm has a filter for the first reaction to the user which is “look at that loser checking his lame Facebook profile” and tests for secondary reaction which could be “for a loser he’s kinda cute”. Once at this stage, the app starts giving you specific instructions on how to proceed from there. Once you have used the app several times, much of the body language will become intuitive and you can turn the “loser” filter off.