Sunday, December 31, 2006

Your First Body Language

Let Your Body Do the Talking Science documents that the early body language of both partners is crucial to whether love will develop or not. One of the most tireless researchers in the laboratory of love was Dr. Timothy Perper, who spent more than two thousand grueling hours perched on stools of singles' bars, scrutinizing men, women, and their early courting moves. Like researchers tracking the mating habits of hamsters, Dr. Perper spotted the identical courtship pattern repeatedly in his singles' bar laboratory. Night after night, he stayed resolutely at his post, scribbling notations, devising charts, and hypothesizing formulas as men and women picked each other up. Then, in the finest scientific tradition, he broke the body language pattern of couples getting to know each other into five very specific steps. Dr. Perper's findings reveal that when both partners stuck to a precise sequence of moves, the couple wound up leaving together or making a date. However, if either partner broke the sequence—even accidentally—the couple drifted apart. Many people looking for love take lessons in social dancing hoping to meet a Potential Love Partner. They painstak- ingly learn the steps to the fox trot, the waltz, the cha-cha, and the rhumba. But they fall flat on their faces in the most important dance of all, the one the good doctor dubbed the Dance of Intimacy. What are the steps to the Dance of Intimacy? They are as clear and as carefully choreographed as those of the Tennessee Waltz. They are the sequential movements you must make if intimacy is to develop with your PLP . Pay attention to each of the following five subconscious body language steps because, if you slip on any of them, your Quarry will lose interest and wander back into the singles' jungle. The Dance of Intimacy Step One: Nonverbal Signal After the two partners are within speaking range, one or the other makes his or her presence known (as described in the previous chapter) by a smile, a nod, or a glance. Step Two: Talk One of the two then speaks. Perhaps he or she makes a comment or asks a question. Even a simple ''Hi!" will do, but something verbal takes place. Step Three: Turning Now it gets interesting. When one partner throws out the verbal signal, the recipient must turn at least the head fully toward the speaker and acknowledge the comment receptively. If he or she does not, the Hunter seldom tries again. However, if the partner does turn warmly toward the speaker, they fall into conversation. Then a crucial pivoting takes place. Hunter and Quarry gradually switch from just their heads turned toward each other to their shoulders. If they like each other, their torsos soon turn, followed by their knees. Finally, in successful meetings, their whole bodies wind up facing each other. This head-to-head, belly-to-belly, knees-to-knees gradual sequence can take from minutes to hours. With each increas- ing turn, intimacy increases. With each turn away, intimacy decreases. Step Four: Touching Concomitant with talking and gradually turning toward each other comes a powerful aphrodisiac, touch. A slight brush of his hand while he passes you a pretzel. A light touch on your jacket as she whisks away a piece of lint. The touch is fleeting, almost imperceptible. How you respond to his or her first touch is a big factor in whether the interaction continues or not. If he or she brushes your jacket and you slightly stiffen your shoulders, your partner can subliminally interpret this as rejection—often wrongly. But it's too late. At this point in the progression, Dr. Perper tells us, it becomes impossible to tell which is Hunter and which is Quarry. Once the initial touch has been executed, well received, and even returned, the man and woman are on their way to becoming, at least for the duration of the evening, a couple. At about this point, yet another phenomenon takes place. Eye contact takes on a different character. As early as 1977, a researcher observed escalating eye contact in couples as they went from more formal eye contact to gazing. Their eyes gradually embarked on travels all over each other's faces, hair, necks, shoulders, and torsos. 22 This is the visual voyage we talked about earlier. Step Five: Synchronization The final step is the most fascinating to watch. As though to confirm their newfound affection for each other, the couple begins to move in synchronicity with each other. For example, the man and woman may reach for their drinks at the same time and put their glasses back on the table together. Then they progress to subconsciously shifting weight together, swaying to the music together, turning their heads to some outside interruption together, and then simultaneously looking back at each other. Dr. Perper wrote, ''Once synchronized, couples can stay in synchronicity seemingly indefinitely until the bar closes, until they finish dinner and drinks and must leave, until their train reaches wherever it is going; to put it another way, until the business of the outside world intervenes and causes their interaction to stop." 23 However, if either partner tripped up on even just one of the above five steps (for example, not getting in synchronicity with each other), Timothy Perper and his research associates knew they could start humming the couple's swan song. Recently, I had the pleasure of watching a couple who were obviously very much in love. I was dining in a restaurant at a table facing the bar where a young couple was sitting. Their bodies were completely facing each other, and they were leaning toward each other, practically falling off their stools. They smiled and nodded as each crooned out bits of conversation. Their hands occasionally brushed each other's and their movements were in total synchronicity as they lifted their glasses and returned them to the bar. They laughed together. They frowned together. Except for the moments when an outside noise invaded their private world, they maintained total eye contact. Even then, they turned their heads away and looked back toward each other in unison. People would say they're in love. As I was paying my bill, the waitress noticed my watching the couple. Smiling broadly, she said, "Yeah, I've been watching them, too. Aren't they cute?" "Yes," I agreed. "They look like they're very much in love." "Oh, no," she said. "They just met ten minutes ago!" I thought, both of them must have read Perper's Principles. Or they were, as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun says, "jes' doin' a what comes natch-ur-lee!" When You Are Quarry The Dance of Intimacy takes two partners. Even when you are Quarry, you must remember the steps. Sadly, many potential relationships never get off the ground because, accidentally, the Quarry repels the Hunter with his or her body language. Unlike deer or bear hunters, human Hunters and Huntresses suffer from a malady. It's called insecurity or shyness. When a Hunter or Huntress levels sights at you, you must show you are willing Quarry and be a good follower in the Dance of Intimacy. I was once at a party with a girlfriend, Diana. An attractive man smiled at Diana, and she looked away. She confided to me, "That good-looking guy over there smiled at me." "Great," I said. "Smile back." Soon after, the fellow was standing near us. I don't know whether it was shyness or a desire to play it cool, but instead of turning toward him and smiling, Diana just kept on chatting with me. A few minutes later, we saw the good-looking stranger in a warm tête-à-tête with another woman. Diana was crushed. She said to me, "Oh, I guess he saw me close up and decided not to talk to me." "No, Diana," I said, wanting to shake her. "You just didn't respond to his overtures." She missed step one in the basic dance of lovers—turning toward him to show receptivity. Missed opportunities like this one are happening round the clock, round the globe. Often willing Quarry crying to be captured becomes the one that got away. The Word That Can Save Your Relationship As you are chatting with your new Quarry, it begins to dawn on you: "This person really is special. It's not just physical attraction. This individual has relationship potential." Within thirty seconds, your heart starts pumping a little faster and your throat suddenly goes dry. Could this be the start of something big? Instead of mission control directing all the parts of your body to make all the right moves, your brain suddenly begins wondering about the impression you're making on your Quarry. Your breath becomes short. You sense a delirious drowning feeling. Unfortunately, that's a side effect of PEA shooting through your brain. Watch out! You can't be your engaging and scintillating self if nervousness sets in and you start thinking about your every move. There's no time now to concentrate on Perper's Principles and try to recall if touch comes before synchronicity. Or was it turning before touch? At high-anxiety moments like these, you need a simple technique to make your body do precisely what Dr. Perper prescribes so you can pay attention to what your fabulous new Quarry is saying. Hunters, the following is especially important for you because men often forget that times have changed. In the old days, a woman had to be impressed with your muscles or your speed and know you could go out into the jungle and trap a wild pig or a rabbit for dinner. However, many women today can afford their own Pork Pàté or Rabbit Chasseur at a fancy restaurant. The name of the game is no longer impress a woman. It's show how impressedyou are with her. Huntresses, most of us were weaned on boosting the male ego. Perhaps some chemical in mother's milk told us to kowtow to all the men in our life. By age five we had already learned what worked: "Oh, Daddykins, you're so wunnerful. I know you'll buy me that Barbie doll." Then something happened: We grew up. Some of us became feminists. Like throwing out the baby with the bath water, many women threw out the "Oh, you're so wunnerful" attitude along with their tattered Barbie dolls. The modern woman feels she needs to express her capability, her independence, her superintelligence right away. Wrong! There is plenty of time to show a man these qualities later, and you must show them if you want to have a good relationship with mutual respect. But now is not the time! Now is the time to make the man feel that you think he's just absolutely, positively "wunnerful." Both men and women are infinitely more drawn to someone who instantly likes them. In several studies, men and women who didn't know each other were told, falsely, by researchers that another participant liked them. When later questioned whom they liked in the group, practically every participant chose someone of the opposite sex who supposedly "liked them." Unfortunately, you don't have a researcher whispering in your Quarry's ear how much you like them, so you must demonstrate that all on your own. Since saying "I like you" sounds a tad abrupt in words, leave it to your body to do the talking for you. While chatting with him or her, think of this one word: soften. Match your body language up against the acronym which spells soften. It's an insurance policy against tripping in the Dance of Intimacy.
TECHNIQUE #9: SOFTEN YOUR QUARRY'S HEART S is for smile. As you are listening to your Quarry, let a soft smile of acceptance frame your lips. O is for open body. Face your Quarry fully, nose to nose, belly to belly. Keep your arms open in a relaxed, inviting position. F is for forward lean. Lean toward your Quarry or stand or sit just a tad too close to show you are physically attracted. T is for touch. Gently, even "accidentally," touch your Quarry's arm or brush a piece of lint from his or her clothing. E is for eye contact. Remember to use all four of the eye allure techniques we discussed. N is for nod. Nod your head gently in response to whatever your Quarry is saying.
"But This Is So Basic!" After reading this segment, some of you may say, "But this advice is so obvious! Why, in a sophisticated exploration of the complexities of love, do you suggest such mundane movements and have the temerity to call them techniques?" For two reasons, my friends. One, because some of my most cosmopolitan and urbane friends still stumble over these simplistic steps. Two, because of their supreme importance. Research has proved that these are the specific moves that really work when first meeting someone you want to make fall in love with you. Now let us explore two other areas where even very smart women and men mess up: the first conversation and the first date.

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