Flirtation Body Language
"We signal our interest in
the opposite sex as instinctively as peacocks flare their tails or fish
behaviors used by women.
gazing (short and
primping, preening, smiling,
lip licking, pouting,
giggling, laughing and
eyebrow flash (an
exaggerated rising of the eyebrows of both eyes, followed by a rapid
the coy smile (a tilting of
the head downward, with partial averting of the eyes and, at the end,
covering of the mouth,
and the exposed neck
(turning the head so that the side of the neck is bared), swayed their
backs, forcing the buttocks to tilt out and up and their chests to thrust
Women often begin with a
room-encompassing glance, in actuality a casing-the-joint scan to
seek out prospects.
When she'd zeroed in on a target she'd exhibit the short darting glance -
looking at a man, quickly looking away, looking back and then away again.
There was something shy and indirect in this initial eye contact.
Research shows 52 different nonverbal courtship behaviors used by women.
By swaying her hips, or
emphasizing them in a form-fitting dress, a flirtatious woman is riveting
attention on her pelvis, suggesting its ample capacity for bearing a child.
By arching her brows and exaggerating her gaze, her eyes appear large in her
face, the way a child's eyes do, advertising, along with giggles, her youth
and "submissiveness." by coyly averting her gaze and playing "hard to
get," she communicates her unwillingness to give sex to just anyone or to
someone who will love her and leave her.
When a woman was interested
she showed this with her giggles and soft laughs which were followed by hair
twirling and head-tossing.
Flirtation behaviors used
Body arching, stretched,
Grand gestures with their
They often point their chin
in the air
Bursts of laughter
Leaning back in the chair
and placing his arms behind head
and grandiose gestures were a
pantomime of the prancing and preening indulged in by male baboons and
gorillas in the wild.
The signals all said, "Look at
me, trust me, I'm powerful, but I won't hurt you." And "I don't want
All the silent swaying,
leaning, smiling, bobbing and gazing eventually brought a pair into full
frontal alignment. Face to face, they indulged in simultaneous
touching of everything from eyeglasses to fingertips to crossed legs.
"This kind of sequence - attention, recognition, dancing, synchronization -
is fundamental to courtship. The sequence is look, talk, touch, kiss,
do the deed."
For his part, by extending a
strong chin and jaw, expanding and showing off pectoral muscles and a hairy
chest, flashing money, laughing loudly or resonantly smiling, and doing all
these things without accosting a woman, a man signals hi ability to protect
offspring, his resources and the testosterone-driven vitality of his sperm
as well as the tamer side of him that is willing to stick around, after the
sex, for fatherhood. It's the behavioral equivalent of "I'll respect
you in the morning."
Body language that stops
the flirtation. A woman can slow down a flirtation, by orienting
her body away slightly or cross her arms across her chest, or avoid meeting
the man's eyes. to stop the dance in its tracks, she can yawn, frown,
sneer, shake her head from side to side as if to say "No," pocket her hands,
hold her trunk rigidly, avoid the man's gaze, stare over his head, or resume
flirting with other men. If a man is really dense he might hold a
strand of hair up to her eyes as if to examine her split ends or even pick
In "Psychology Today"
January/February 1999 issue it was stated
that each of us
"turns on" not to mankind or womankind but to a particular member of the
opposite sex. Certain stances, personal styles, gestures, intimations
of emotional compatibility, perhaps even odors, automatically arouse our
interest because they are not only instantly advertise genetic fitness but
they match the template of desired mate we all carry in our mind's eye.
The rational thinking part of
our brains gets people to the place where girl meets boy; but in the first
meeting, their capacity to react with their instinct and hearts, not their
heads, overrode their cognitive brains. Otherwise, they might not have
had the nerve to look at each other. The rational brain is always on
the lookout for dangers, form complexities, for reasons to act or not act.
If every time man and woman met they immediately considered all the possible
risks and vulnerabilities they might face if the mated or had children,
they'd run screaming from the room.
The flirtational operating
system appears to kick in without conscious consent. The moment of
attraction, in fact, mimics a kind of brain damage. Professor Damasio,
M. D. has found that people with damage to the connection between their
limbic structures and the higher brain are smart and rational - but unable
to made decisions. They bring commitment phobia to a whole new level.
In attraction, we don't stop and think, we react, operating on a "gut"
feeling, with butterflies, giddiness, sweaty palms and flushed faces brought
on by the reactivity of the emotional brain. We suspend intellect as
least long enough to propel us to the next step in the mating game -
flirtation, as a relationship progresses, courtship gets under way, and with
it, intellectual processes resume. Two adults can then evaluate
potential mates more rationally, think things over and decide whether to
love, hone and cherish. But at the moment of attraction and
flirtation, bodies, minds and sense are temporarily hostage to the more
ancient parts of the brain, the impulsive parts that humans share with