I may be your quintessential faceless author, but I will confess to being irredeemably male. This article is a mix of research and personal experience, and seeing myself in many of these gestures and situations was quite an eye-opener. Some seemed a little far fetched too me, or at least easily misread. But the vast majority were strikingly true (of myself and other guys I know) simply because they are not cultural affectations, but are gestures, postures and signs that are genetically ingrained in us. Without further a-do, I give you…
Male Body Language
When it comes to attraction, as males, we are programmed to highlight what we believe are our primordial attributes (this isn’t a conscious process, the time’s have changed but our genes can’t tell) so that women can choose us for reproduction. This makes our body language wildly different from our female counterparts. Here are some examples of what a man seeking to impress a woman will do, and why.
Thumbs in pockets – Ah yes, there’s nothing more manly that this typical male alpha male stance. The reason why men do this is that it is the best way to subconsciously display the breadth of the chest and strength of the upper body. If a guy is directly facing you and seems to find a great deal of comfort in his pockets, chances are he’s trying to impress you with his manliness. Another slant to this is that it may be a way for a guy to “puff up” to combat his nervousness. Either way, he’s out to prove!
The eyebrow flash – While this gesture is not strictly limited only to men, it is worth mentioning because it can take a little training to spot. Be on the look out for his eyebrows shooting up very briefly when he first notices you. It is an unconscious exclamation of pleasant surprise and immediate interest.
Showing you his palms – What better signal to send a potential flirt than to communicate trust? An upraised wrist is a classic body language display of sincerity and good faith.
You’re his north pole – A man who is interested may subconsciously rotate his torso, knees and feet towards his object of interest. Given what we’ve discussed thus far, the picture to the right should begin to make an awful lot of sense to us.
Preening – The undivided or even partial attention of a woman we are interested in can make us very self-conscious. If he’s constantly adjusting his tie, buttoning his shirt or patting his hair, he may be a little unsettled and want to be sure he’s looking his best.
Decoding His Posture
Non verbal body language accounts for almost 90% of communication, making your ability to decode what isn’t being said more important than what is. The thing about male body language is that depending on how confident the guy is, he could give out very conflicting messages. For instance, he may talk far more than usual to mask his nervousness, or be very sparse for exactly the same reason! The only way to be relatively sure that he is interested, and not just trying to starve the conversation so he can buy his way out, is to tie in as many additional signs as possible. Here is a brief list of what gestures indicate interest and openness (open posture).
- Steady eye contact. If he is shy and looks away, his gaze will return again and again.
- His voice is undulant and far from monotonous. He may laugh a little manically at your jokes.
- He leans in and pays attention.
- He copies your body language subconsciously.
You can have a great deal of fun with this! If a man is hooked he may be prompted to mirror your gestures and movements. If you look at most couples and close friends, they tend to mimic each other as well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! If you want to double-check that he’s hooked, you can perform what is known as a suggestibility test.
My favorite test is the airplane check. During the course of the conversation look at the sky briefly and intently as if you were checking out a passing airplane. If he also looks at the sky curiously you have a healthy amount of rapport. You could also try looking at your watch now and then and see if he looks at his too. By far the most fun variants are non-verbal, however. Try leaning forward and backwards, lowering the tone of your voice or turning in your seat. In most cases if he is digging you, he will subtly copy you!
My My Aren’t We Touchy Today
Men can be quite possessive during flirting, and touching is a powerful weapon in any flirter’s arsenal. In short, being touched is rarely coincidental (even if it is not conscious). Where and how a touch is performed can speak volumes about what his intentions and feelings are. Let’s have a look at some common examples.
- Impersonal and casual – If he casually brushes your upper arm, waist, small of your back or shoulder when laughing or making a point, he may want to connect with you on a personal level. Men consider these area’s “safe”, which means he is conscious about looking too forward but enjoys your presence very much.
- Personal and casual – If he brushes your neck, stomach, neck, knee or thigh he may have more than platonic friendship in mind, as he knows that these areas are intimate.
- Impersonal and prolonged – If contact with your safe areas is prolonged, he has genuine interest in you (although there is a chance it is not primarily romantic in nature) and feels confident and at ease in your presence. If he appears possessive, and other people are around, it may also be a subconscious way of telling other guys in the area that you are his.
- Personal and prolonged – Simply put; he wants you.
These are general guidelines, but bear in mind that there can be a great divide between individuals. If a guy is insecure or shy, he may be very self-conscious about touching you and go out of his way to avoid it because he fears rejection or is embarrassed. Other guys are naturally very flirty and act that way with just about everyone. The key is to observe him when he is with his friends and use that as a benchmark. If his actions drastically change in your presence, there is a very real chance you have him on his toes!
Signs Of Disinterest
Not all change in behavior is a good sign. Be on the lookout for the following body language no nos during your conversation.
- Eyes which constantly dart to the side, and avoid eye contact. He often stares “through you” into the distance.
- His feet and knees point away from you, usually towards an exit.
- He becomes fidgety (boredom).
- He leans back and away.
- He offers a plastic smile that doesn’t reach the eyes.
- He slouches.
If you are on the receiving end of many of these signs, it may simply be safer to cut your losses and either spice up the conversation (we love daring and intrepid conversation) or pre-emptively move on and end his(and your) misery.
I always hate ending it on a sour note, but I hope this article was of interest to you! If you have any questions, concerns or criticisms feel free to let me know in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as humanely possible.