A face never shuts up.
That’s the opinion and the livelihood of one of the Top 100 psychologists of the 20th century and University of California psychology professor Paul Elkman, author of Emotions Revealed and inventor of the highly-accurate Facial Action Coding System (FACS).
Elkman is the main man to figuratively strip an emotion from the non-verbal body, hired by everybody who wants to know what’s going on beyond a person’s spoken words, including the Dalai Lama and the U.S. Defense Department.
Elkman scientifically head-butted some of his old-school colleagues, no less than über-anthropologist Margaret Mead, who felt that human emotions were determined by culture.
In his Wizards Project, Elkman discovered that the basic emotions—surprise, anger, fear, sadness, disgust and joy–were universally expressed the same way, that biology beat culture hands down and that those body signals could be translated. And now you’re wondering…
What Does This Have to Do with My Guy?
What a man is actually saying during the time he is not opening his mouth is all in his kinesics—body language interpretation.
That’s how humans, including humans who are men, express themselves, either along with the words they say or without uttering a single one. It’s guys’ super-secret language and Elkman looks without listening.
Elkman’s specialty is human facial expressions. Like Santa, he knows when you’ve been bad or good, whether you confess or not, for goodness sake.
Without letting words get in the way, Elkman can tell a liar by the subtle ways that eyelids crease—an ingeniously clever, but unnecessary talent when you want a whole body read on that mysterious book you call man.
Talkin’ the Guy Body Talk
A woman looks at a man and hears what he says, but there’s a part of her that wonders what he’s feeling—really, really, truly, truly feeling.
There isn’t a straight woman alive who hasn’t lost sleep over what a guy was thinking. Is he being polite? Is he telling the truth? Is he playing me? To know if a guy is into you, you have to be an artful observer and a crafty translator.
Remove as many distractions as possible and enter into a situation where it’s just the two of you.
You want your date to be as defragmented as you can get, since body signals are easier to read without being scrambled by two-outs-in-the-ninth interference. With this helpful key, you can map his language of love, lust or dead-as-a-doornail disinterest.
The worst is first.
Not So Good Kinesics
*Eye Contact, limited – your brother but not your lover
*Eyes move left and down – liar, liar, nasty bad-boy pants on fire
*Eye Contact, staring – wants you tonight or else, causes arm hair to rise
*Invades personal space – way too much, way too soon
*Smiles halfway – half-interested
*Smiles too wrong and too long – check your mace supply
*Leaning backward, head in hand – bored, passed out
*Quivering Adam’s apple – a curious case of Jim Carrey-itis
*No facial expression – disinterested, dead or halfway between
*Touches your hair or shoulder on first meeting – brass knuckles are your friend
*Looks around the room – doesn’t click but has found the location of the men’s room
*Fidgets(shuffles feet/taps feet/checks cell) – late for the door, help him through it
*Hands on Hips, facing you – open to your love or waiting for High Noon shoot-out
*Adjusts clothes – trying to look better for you than he ever looked for mom
*Leans toward you – wants to be inside your aura or the bar is deafening
*Touch, hand grazes your arm – hoping for shivers, allow them
*Muscle flex, non-dramatic – shows he hasn’t wasted $69.99 a month at the gym for nothing
*Eyebrow flash – flash-fast, first-meeting indication of interest (not useful for guys with shaved eyebrows)
*Sucks in belly – displays 2-pack and championship breath-holding ability
*Stands Tall – offering you a vertical challenge
*Hands to the belt buckle or pockets – subconsciously outlining his assets
*Stretching – showing off his big and tall to see if you can reach way up there for a kiss
*Turns toward you with every fiber of his being including knees, legs and feet – you are his total, absolute, wonderful everything
*Touches his own cheek, chin, ear, hair or lips – imagines your lips in all of these places
*Visually checks you out – inspecting your total package so he can dream about you later
*Dilates pupils – the better to see you with, my dear
*Smiles, wide with must-have eye creases – time stops, angels sing, kisses follow
*Lips, slight parted – preparing to drink…you in
*Eye Contact, steady – you are the light at the end of his tunnel vision
*Squeezes glass – you’re next
Mirror Mirror – Let’s Dance,
There are one or two more little strange things that people, who are interested in one another in the fledgling stages of a relationship, do.
One is called mirroring, which is exactly what it says, but which isn’t done consciously. It has a basis in Charles Caleb Colton’s saying “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
A man who is interested in a woman (or vice versa) will begin to copy and match some of her movements, expressions and even her ideas, in order to make her feel relaxed.
She subconsciously enjoys the experience because she sees in her new guy a mirror of her own familiar image.
When those flattering repeats happen together, like when a couple swimming in one another’s eyes sips drinks at the same time, psychologists ramp up the romance to name it “interactional synchrony” or a “gestural dance.”
That’s an extra nice touch on a date resume.
It’s All in the Decoding Details
As a woman, you are officially now armed and ready to decipher your man’s body talk. Maybe you’ve already descrambled his moves and are preparing the appropriate synchronicity or slap. Charles Caleb Colton had something for you for that, too–
“Deliberate with caution, but act with decision; and yield with graciousness, or oppose with firmness.”
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