By Berlin Sylvestre
Any police interrogator or clinical psychologist will tell you how much of human communication is nonverbal. When it has to do with flirting, anthropologists call these inadvertently amorous moves protean signals after the shape-shifting Greek God Proteus —but we know them today as “hips don’t lie.”
Just kidding. Humans are fickle and unpredictable things; no one can say with certainty that someone wants you because she fixed her hair or he straightened his tie as you spoke — overconfidence when someone is saying no is a surefire path to being guilty of sexual harassment. But if all else is clear, here’s the dish on the top six unspoken characteristics of “let’s get it on.”
Pupil dilation: Because it’s an irrepressible response of the autonomic nervous system, there’s not much you can do about those dilated pupils giving your intentions away. It’s long been known that pupils enlarge when you see something you like — fact, as far back as 16th century Italy, women used the herb belladonna to make eye drops that kept their pupils expanded, taking makeup to the next level. This is one of the reasons poker players wear those shades, and perhaps why strong eye contact is so important on dates.
Raised eyebrows: Just as furrowing one’s brow gives off the “steer clear for awhile” signal, raising them puts out the message that one is open to communication. A slightly raised brow says “I find you interesting,” but it can happen in a flash — less than a second, even. If that sweet-faced gent across the coffee shop does it at the moment of eye contact, you’re cleared for approach, you magnetic thing you.
Preening: In an ongoing effort to say (without saying) “I want to look good for you,” those who want to make themselves available can’t stop fine-tuning their look in real time. Women often neaten themselves by adjusting their clothing and moving their hair, men will pick imaginary bits of lint off their clothing and posture themselves in “alpha” ways, standing taller and flexing slightly.
Mirroring: In an unintentional show of intimacy, you almost can’t help but mimic your interest’s body language. You observe him crossing his legs and whaddya know? She slowed her speech a bit and interestingly, so did you. Perhaps a little less subtle is mirroring hip position. Your inadvertent game of copycat is a giveaway — you’re game for some one-on-one.
Vocal tone: Both men and women tend to deepen their voices slightly below their normal range when addressing someone they find sexy. This display of sexual maturity takes the conversation out of the casual, “Oh, hello there!” realm and into the “Well, hello there … ” kind. By presenting the voice in more mature tones, potential suitors are signaling they’d like to engage in playtime that’s a little more … adult-centric, shall we say?
Touching your face: If that scintillating Adonis keeps casually rubbing his chiseled jawline while you’re helping him with his taxes … or that gorgeous lass keeps touching the edges of her bee-stung lips with that wine glass at the company dinner, it could be that those spots are exactly where you’re being asked to look. What’s more, rubbing one’s face is considered by some an act of autoeroticism; when we’re turned-on, the sensitive areas of our faces feel amazing when touched.