Legend has it men make the first move while women – sweet, passive, delicate little flowers that we are – wait patiently to be chosen.
What a load of bollocks.
Women have always made the first move and orchestrated the pace, flow and direction of romantic relationships.
Masters of intuition and emotional manipulation, adept at body language, able to gauge the emotional temperature of a room quicker than our nipples stiffen in a breeze, you can bet your next G & T, if he’s on his way over, armed with courage and a chat-up line, you were the one who lured him there.
Women choose from no less than 52 moves to show men they’re interested.
The average bloke chooses from a maximum of 10 to attract a female.
(There’s a distinct lack of research on the flirting signals gay men and lesbians send but I’d say most adapt the basics to what suits them and their target – so use a mix of both genders.)
The average female is usually quite good at deciphering body language.
Just in case you’re not, here’s a crash course.
He’ll serve you an eyebrow flash.
When we first see someone we’re attracted to, our eyebrows rise and fall. If they fancy us back, they raise their eyebrows. The whole thing lasts about a fifth of a second and it happens everywhere in the world, to everyone regardless of age, race or class.
Lifting our brows pulls the eyes open and allows more light to reflect off the surface, making them look bright, large and inviting. A flash might be easy to miss but they’re so reliable, if you do spot one, you may know someone fancies you before they’ve even registered it themselves.
Deliberately extend it for up to one second and you’ve drastically upped the chances of him getting the message you’re interested.
His lips part.
If he likes what he sees, his lips will automatically part for a moment when your eyes first lock.
His nostrils flare and his face generally ‘opens’. The raised brows, parted lips, flaring nostrils and wide eyes give the whole face a friendly ‘open’ expression.
He’ll try to attract your attention.
For some men, this might mean a subtle tie adjustment along with a silent prayer you’ll notice the flash of movement. Others turn into Beppy the Clown and become so loud and boisterous, they’re practically juggling and doing handstands.
Any exaggerated movement or gesture usually means he’s trying to stand out from the group. Another giveaway: he’ll unconsciously detach from his friends by standing slightly apart, hoping to be seen as an individual.
He’ll stroke his tie or smooth his clothing.
We all know what these preening gestures mean. They’re the equivalent of the female lip lick – ‘I want to look good for you.’
He’ll smooth or muss up his hair.
Which gesture he chooses depends on his hairstyle and what’s going to make it look more flattering. Guys do this involuntarily and more often than you think.
Glance back next time you trot off to the loo and I bet his hands are already on their way to touch his head.
Next time you’re driving, give the guy in the car next to you a sexy glance, then surreptitiously check the side or rear-vision mirror. If he fancies his chance, he’ll be looking in one of them, smoothing his hair.
His eyebrows remain slightly raised while you’re talking.
A slightly surprised, quizzical expression means he finds you fascinating. Or completely bonkers. Quite frankly, either are preferable to a man who looks at you with a smooth, relaxed brow and eyes. He simply finds you boring.
He’ll fiddle with his socks and pull them up.
In the old days, men only dressed up on special occasions and while the suit might have survived months in mothballs, the socks invariably continued to get worn (to death). Hence why he spent half the night pulling them up, in an attempt to look the part.
It’s an extension of preening and it’s astonishingly accurate. If a guy pulls up or adjusts his socks in your presence, it’s an almost 100% sign he’s interested and trying to look his best.
Everything is erect.
Well almost. What I mean is he’ll stand with all his muscles pulled tight, to show his body off to best advantage. He’ll also stand directly in front of you to show full attention and lean forward to get closer.
He’ll let you see him checking out your body.
Some experts call it ‘visual voyaging’ – his eyes take a little cruise around your body, stopping momentarily at the prettiest ports. Don’t kid yourself: he scanned your body automatically the second he laid eyes on you. The difference here is he’s letting you see him do it. The message: I’m considering you as a sexual partner.
He’ll spread his legs while sitting opposite you, to give you a crotch display. He’s letting you have a good look at what’s on offer. Hopefully he’s still got his jeans or trousers on at the time.
He’ll stand with hands on hips.
This accentuates his physical size and suggests body confidence. It’s also a pointing gesture. We point with our hands at our own best sexual assets and also at the parts of our body we’d most like to be touched. If he spends the night with his hands on his hips, fingers splayed and pointing downward, he’s willing you to look, touch and admire the bit he’s proudest of. All subconscious of course. Well, it is in most cases…
He’ll move into ‘the cowpoke’ stance. A variation on the above, the Texans named this gesture after researchers noticed men-on-the-make – in this case cowboys – almost always adopted the same pose. Turned out it wasn’t just Texans who stood like this: the cowpoke is a primary male courtship gesture of the Western world. He locks his thumbs in his belt or belt loops, points his fingers down toward his genitals, spread his legs about shoulder distance apart and tilts his head to one side.
He’ll play 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.
He’ll touch his face a lot, while looking at you.
If he’s keen, 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 smoke, you’ll take more drags on your cigarette. If you’re drinking, you take more sips.
You start touching your own mouth more because your lips are ultra-sensitive and it feels good. Plus it’s a way of drawing attention to it, rather handily planting the idea in the other person’s mind that it could be a very good idea if they kissed you…
He’ll start squeezing his glass or can of drink or roll it from side to side, slightly squeezing it as he does so. When men are sexually interested in someone, they start playing with circular objects. Why? They remind him of your breasts and his body is ‘leaking’ what’s happening in his subconscious mind (Wouldn’t mind getting my hands on those babies!)
He’ll perch on the edge of seat to get closer and if he crosses his legs, the top leg will point in your direction. He’ll guide you by putting his arm on your elbow or in the small of your back.
The arm guide isn’t just good manners and a polite way of guiding you through a crowd, he’s making sure he knows exactly where you’re going by taking you there. He doesn’t want to lose you! It also shows you’re being ‘taken care of’ so no other men need volunteer. Along with the arm guide, there’ll be lots of accidentally-on-purpose touches.
He’ll lend you his coat or jumper.
Few guys would be happy, returning from the bar to find their girlfriend’s evening dress covered by another guy’s tuxedo jacket. Never mind if her teeth were clattering from life threatening hypothermia, he won’t like it because it’s a protective, ownership gesture which is undeniably sexy.
Not only does it say ‘what’s mine is yours’, something that’s been close to their skin is now close to yours (and vice versa when you give it back). It smelt of him to begin with, it’ll smell of you when you return it plus, it links you. He has to hang around to get it back.