There are many ways of decoding your date’s body language. A significant cluster of body movements has to do with romance, signaling to a person of the opposite sex that you are interested in them.
From afar, the first task of body language is to signal interest (and then to watch for reciprocal body language).
The eyes do much signalling. Initially and from a distance, a person may look at you for slightly longer than normal, then look away, then look back up at you, again for a longer period.
There are many preening gestures. What you are basically saying with this is ‘I am making myself look good for you’. This includes tossing of the head, brushing hair with hand, polishing spectacles and brushing clothes.
Remote romantic language may also include for example stroking arms, leg or face.
Objects held may be also used in enactment displays, including cigarettes and wine glasses, for example rolling and stroking them.
Attractive parts of the body may be exposed, thrust forward, wiggled or otherwise highlighted.
Pressing together muscles gives the impression of higher muscle tone. Holding out shoulders and arms makes the body look bigger. Holding in the abdomen gives the impression of a firm tummy.
This is often playing to primitive needs. Women show that they are healthy and that they are able to bear and feed the man’s child. The man shows he is strong and able to protect the woman and her child.
Leaning your body towards another person says ‘I would like to be closer to you’. It also tests to see whether they lean towards you or away from you. It can start with the head with a simple tilt or may use the entire torso. This may be coupled with listening intently to what they say, again showing particular interest in them.
A person who is interested in you may subtly point at you with a foot, knee, arm or head. It is effectively a signal that says ‘I would like to go in this direction’.
Close in and personal
In moving closer to the other person, you move from social space into their personal body space, showing how you would like to get even closer to them…
Standing square-on to them also blocks anyone else from joining the conversation and signals to others to stay away.
Imitating the person in some way shows ‘I am like you’. This can range from a similar body position to using the same gestures and language.
When you are standing close to them, you will holding each others gaze for longer and longer periods before looking away. You many also use what are called ‘doe eyes’ or ‘bedroom eyes’, which are often slightly moist and with the head inclined slightly down.
Where the eyes go is important. Looking at lips means ‘I want to kiss’. Looking at other parts of the body may mean ‘I want to touch’.
A very subtle signal that few realise is that the eyes will dilate such that the dark pupils get much bigger. This is one reason why dark-eyed people can seem attractive. Light-eyed people (typically blue) make the pupil easier to distinguish, so when their pupils do get bigger the signal they send is easier to read.
Touching signals even closer intimacy. It may start with ‘accidental’ brushing, followed by touching of ‘safe’ parts of the body such as arms or back.
It’s fun decoding your date’s body language, but it is not a fool proof method of understanding everyone, so for more in depth research material the New York Bestseller ‘You say more than you think‘ by Janine Driver is an interesting read.