Monday, May 14, 2012

Read the Signs

Okay, I'm cheating this week. This is an advice essay I wrote for a dating blog a couple of years ago.  In lieu of enough time to write something new today, I thought I'd share this instead.  I don't claim to be an expert in body language by any means, but I did spend a lot of time, thankfully not anymore, in the nightclubs in Los Angeles.  Enough said.  

It’s Friday night.  You’re at the latest and greatest club with your buddies, ready to toss back a few drinks, groove to the beat, if you’re into that sort of thing, and most importantly, get a little face time with a pretty girl.  The odds look good – the female to male ratio is high, and you’ve already spotted an attractive blonde at the other end of the bar.  Hold on there, Tiger.  Before you head in for the kill, put down the Jack & Coke, take a step back and get a good look at her body language.  Say she gives you a quick glance, maybe even half a smile and then looks the other way.  If you have no idea what it means, think she’s just being coy, or are planning to ignore it altogether and make your move anyway, then it’s time to bone up on your foreign languages.  Or just one in particular.

We all use body language to convey unspoken messages to those around us.  I can’t speak to men’s expectations but I can tell you that as women, when we are out at a club, or a bar, or even a party – anywhere where we are meeting men – we expect you to be able to understand what we mean, and respond accordingly.  Failure to do so on your part could result in either a missed opportunity or an unfriendly rebuff, depending on the girl in question.  Neither of those sound like good options, so don’t let them happen!  Here are some basic pointers to get you through a night at the club without a stiletto through your shoe, and maybe even help you head home with some new digits in your phone.

The Approach
I will tell you right now, that one of the worst things you can do at bar/club/party is approach a girl who has attempted to give you a non-verbal signal that she does not want to talk to you.  When you see a girl you want to talk to, look at her.  Repeatedly.  Eventually, she’ll notice you looking at her, unless you’re way across the room or hiding behind a ball cap or something.  If, once she notices that you are noticing her, she looks away from you and does not make any further eye contact, she is telling you politely and silently, to please leave her alone.  I’m asking you, if that happens, to please leave her alone.  If you go over anyway, you do so at your own peril.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  And don’t take it personally, there could be a million reasons why she doesn’t want to talk to you.  Move on, there are lots of pretty girls at the club, remember?  Go find one who wants to meet you.  You’ll know, because when you catch her eye, she’ll smile.  She might look away for a bit, but give it a minute.  Because if she’s interested, she’ll look back.  And possibly smile again.  Even if she doesn’t, you got the double look.  And that’s your clue.  Go say hi.  I can’t promise what’ll happen when you get there, but you should at least get a friendly greeting. 

The Conversation
So you got the smile, the nod, maybe even the wave, and now, after the introductions have been made, the small talk has started.  If, while you are talking, she is constantly looking away from you, or at her watch or at the bartender, she does not have a lazy eye.  She is just not interested in the conversation.  Same goes if she keeps turning her body away from you.  If that happens, tell her how nice it was to meet her and take your leave.  If, however, she keeps eye contact, leans in towards you, reaches out to touch you as she’s talking, well, then you’re golden.  Pat yourself on the back for your stellar conversation skills and your wicked ability to read women, and keep the banter going. 

The Dance Floor
Do not, and I repeat, do not EVER assume that because a woman is on the dance floor and is dancing next to you, that her body language means that she is dying to dance with you.  And do not, I repeat, do not EVER take that as an opportunity to sidle up next to her and get your freak on.  When that happens to me, I usually respond with unkind words, and will use any means necessary to shove or push the offending leech off of me.  If the girl of your dreams is next to you on the dance floor, smile, look her in eye and keep on dancing, at a respectable distance.  It might also be a good time to throw in your best moves.  If she likes what she sees, she’ll continue to face you while you’re dancing.  If she then starts to mirror your moves, or get closer to you, it’s an invite.  When in doubt, it is always acceptable to ask politely, just don’t give her a hard time if she says no.  Move to another part of the dance floor and test out that moonwalk on someone else.  And remember, as a general rule, if a girl is dancing with her back to you, unless she thrusts her booty into your pelvis and pulls your arm around her, she does NOT want to dance with you.

The Fail Safe
If you’re still having trouble figuring out what she’s trying to tell you with that shrug of her shoulder, or you can’t seem to catch her eye to give her a chance to smile or turn away, then you can always resort to a little trick that rarely backfires.  Ignore all body language, head straight towards your dream girl, tell her you think she is pretty/beautiful/has great eyes/is a smokin’ hot dancer/insert compliment of your choice here.  Then tell her you hope she has a great evening, and then, here’s the most important part, WALK AWAY.  If she’s interested, she’ll come and find you.  And if she’s not, she’ll still be flattered by the random compliment and you won’t have made an ass of yourself. 

Enough said.  Now pick up that Jack and Coke and go get ‘em Tiger.

1 comment:

  1. Karen, the walk away maneuver is an interesting approach. It seems a bit schizophrenic to confess to being so enthralled by a girl and then in the following moment, walk away in feigned indifference. But I've tried it--with mixed results. It has been my experience that many women don't like to be burdened with that responsibility--any responsibility--and feel they are worth going the whole way for. Sometimes, they are; sometimes they are not. But I still subscribe to this strategy as it weeds out the self-entitled and feeble-hearted.