||[Nov. 4th, 2005|02:26 am]
Panel of Experts
by Alex Hazell
Why a basic understanding of body language and a direct approach can improve your success rate with men.
Allan and Barbara Pease
You're in a bar and spot a nice-looking guy across the room. You look over at him, trying to catch his eye. On the third time of trying he looks over at you, you maintain eye contact for a few seconds, then look away. You try to repeat the exercise, but he is now chatting to one of his mates/the barmaid. You deduce he isn't interested, comforting yourself that there are 'plenty more fish in the sea' and order another round of tequila slammers.
Sound familiar? Well it could be that the guy wasn't interested/had a girlfriend, or that he just didn't pick up on your signal. Women have around 14-16 areas of the brain to evaluate others' behaviour, while men have only four to six areas, which means that women are much better at reading body language. Allan Pease, co-author with his wife Barbara of The Definitive Book Of Body Language, explains, 'Women have the most signals, it's just that men are really pretty basic and can't pick up on them.'
Attracting his attention
So what is a girl to do? Allan continues, 'Extended eye contact is a good way to get someone's attention, but most men take between three to five gazes from a woman before they catch on! Women need to be a bit more obvious. Your female friends will probably tell you off for being too forward, but it's best to be direct, to the point of going up to them and actually telling them you like them.' Barbara adds, 'Men need training in how to pick up signals. Most men need a female friend to tell them that a woman in a bar fancies them, they just don't pick up on it!'
What men look for
OK, so the bottom line is that it all comes down to basic biology, for example, have you ever wondered why one of your mates always attracts all the guys, while you sit on the sidelines? The good news is that it isn't that she is necessarily more beautiful than you, it could just be that she is better at showing males that she could be available. Overall, a woman's perceived availablity is just as important as her physical attractiveness. So that is a no to crossed arms and legs (you are creating a barrier) and a yes to smiling.
Courtship signals and gestures
Barbara explains, 'Around 60-80% of our communication is non-verbal, so it is often more important than what we say.' Women have many courtship signals and gestures, including the hair flick, pout, hip roll, shoe fondle, etc. Men, on the other hand, have very few, which include talking (when 'on the pull' they discuss things other than facts and solutions, most men's preferred topics of conversation), re-arranging their clothing and, yes, that old favourite, the crotch adjust. Women make the first move 90% of the time, as without encouraging eye and facial signals from women, men won't approach. One word of warning though: don't bombard men with too many signals or they'll become confused.
In previous generations courtship used to be set around organised events like dances, and couples were generally introduced to each other via friends and family. Nowadays the world seems to be in the grip of a singles epidemic and men and women are prepared to pay good money for dating agencies, speed dating, online dating and so on in the hope of meeting a partner. The problem with this is you generally know nothing about the person and, having no connection with their past, you have no one to ask. Barbara says, 'When you go for a job interview you have to provide references and these are followed up, but attend a dating event and meet a handsome stranger, you have no way of knowing that when he tells you, "Yes, I am single and have no kids," he is telling you the truth.' There may be no background checks, but you can read his body language...
Keira says: 'Can you read men's body language?'
Are you telling me the truth?
As I have already said, the most reliable signs of a person's true feelings are in their gestures. Women are better at lying than men because we are more skilled at reading emotions, so we are better equipped to manipulate with an appropriate lie. Thus, women tend to tell more complicated lies than men because women are generally better at it. The key signs of deceit, according to Allan and Barbara Pease, are symbolised by the three wise monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. In simple terms, when we see, speak or hear lies we are likely to attempt to cover our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands.
There are many signs to tell if someone is lying - from the mouth-cover, the nose-rub, the eye-rub, the ear-grab etc - but Allan points out, 'These gestures shouldn't be interpreted alone. They are part of a larger gesture cluster and you should take into account the overall context they are used in.'
So when you do meet someone you like the look of, be aware of the signals you are giving out and, just as importantly, the ones he is sending back. Don't simply rely on what he is saying - read his body language. The handsome stranger at the bar isn't going to stand a chance!
The Definitive Book Of Body Language, published by Orion and Why Men Don't Listen And Women Can't Read Maps, published by Orion, both written by Allan and Barbara Pease.'