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Part One for the Girls: The (body) language of love

Experts Barbara & Allan Pease's "The Definitive Guide of Body Language"

For those following my Five in Five journey, last night I had date #2 with date #1. Over delicious home-cooked steaks and a bottle of Pepperjack Shiraz, we got to talking about something we’d discussed on our first date – body language.

He had introduced me to the research and writings of Allan and Barbara Pease, who are experts on the topic in both personal and professional settings. My date was particularly enthralled with their musings about the sub-conscious messages we put out there using our bodies while ‘courting’ (loving the old fashioned lingo!).

Feeling a bit unnerved and all of a sudden very self-conscious of any movements I made (as if I wasn’t already!), he delved into explaining some of the bodily cues Allan and Barbara share that guys and girls subconsciously give off if they are interested in the other person. Some were quite obvious (playing with your hair, smiling, holding eye contact) while some weren’t as obvious (exposing your wrists, playing with a piece of jewelry, your stance or the way you sit).

It seemed as though most of them were skewed towards the signals that girls give out, with little attention to the blokes – hardly fair!

So I set out to do some reading and research of my own into the cues that the blokes give us. After all, if he had the distinct advantage of being able to “read” my body language as well as what I was saying (of which he’d already pointed out a few things…), I was going to need to get up to speed on what he was saying. And not saying (?!). Fast. And for two reasons – one: to know what signals my body is giving and therefore be a bit more self-aware; and two: to know what signals he was giving off as I’m terrible at reading the “signs” even at the best of times.

A quick Google search and within minutes I was laden with more than a dozen links from past magazine articles and studies into the body language of love and dating.

I thought I’d share some of the things I found with those of you who are still trying to decipher dating’s non-verbal language. I won’t overload you – I know it’s hard to remember these while trying to remain aware of your own body language AND maintain scintillating date conversation. Here are my favorites (well, the ones I’m confident I can remember to watch for):

  1. The eyebrow flash. When we first see someone we’re attracted to, our eyebrows rise and fall. If they like us back, they raise their eyebrows. A flash might be easy to miss but they’re so reliable, if you do spot one, you may know he likes you before he’s even registered it himself.
  2. His lips part. No, he’s not going in for the pash. If he likes what he sees, his lips will automatically part for a moment when your eyes first lock, like he’s drawing in breath. Awe, you’ve taken his breath away. Cute.
  3. He grins from ear to ear. A wide, toothy grin is actually very revealing. It means he is giving this his all, and he’s way into you. Probably the most obvious, but one that’s easy to miss and/or misinterpret. Sometimes a smile can be a friendly gesture. So look for the other cues while he’s smiling e.g. eye contact.
  4. He goes in for the stroke. Of your head (put *those* thoughts away!). Stroking of the head, back or arms is a sensual signal meaning he “loves” you and is highly attracted to you.
  5. He runs his hands through his hair. Just like a female giving the same gesture, he’s preening. It’s the visual way of saying “I want to look good for you.” So no. He does not have lice.
  6. He plays with the buttons on his jacket, buttoning and unbuttoning it. It’s a displacement activity (fiddling) because you’ve made him a little nervous, plus an unconscious desire to remove his clothes. The next stage is to push the jacket open and hold it there by putting his hands on his hips. If he takes it off completely, he’s imagining his shoes under your bed.
  7. He’ll touch his face a lot, while looking at you. This is my favorite. If he’s interested, he’ll stroke his cheek up and down with the back of his fingers, touch his ears, or rub his chin. It’s a combination of nervous excitement, preening and autoerotic touching. When we’re attracted to someone, our skin (most noticeably our lips and mouth) become increasingly sensitive to touch and other stimulation. If you’re drinking, you’ll take more sips. You start touching your own mouth more because your lips are ultra sensitive and it feels good. Plus, it plants the idea in the other person’s mind that it could be a good idea to kiss you.

I would love to hear if you know of any other body language cues and what they mean in the dating phase. Or is there something he/she does that you just can’t decipher? Let me know. I’d love to find out for you.

Stay tuned for Part Two for the Guys: A girl’s take (that would be mine…) on the signals we give you.

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