He’s Just That Into You

A side effect of the Lenten series was learning a lot about the basic signals of attraction. Because someone asked me for a primer, here it is. Remember, this doesn’t deal with long-term compatibility, or good relationships, or anything like that. It’s about the first glance, and the first conversation. Men and women have certain physical responses when they find someone physically attractive. Almost all of these reactions are quick, and you might miss them, so it’s important to watch. We’re very educational here at twelvefruits.

Immediate Physical Responses

  1. Eyebrows raise, up and then within a half second back down. This causes the eyes to open and get a better view. This has been shown across cultures as a sign of attraction, but it’s tough to catch.
  2. Pupils dilate, again to get a better view. This lasts a little longer than the eyebrow raise, making it easier to detect. This can also mean a change in light, particularly if someone is turning, so dilation can be for other reasons.
  3. Nostril flare, physically to search for pheremones. It’s more common in females than males. It’s also difficult to misinterpret, because nostrils open only to search for smell, not that frequent an event. It’s also fairly hard to fake.
  4. Lips open slightly, again an inviting and opening gesture.
  5. Preening gestures. For men it’s often a tie or hair, sometimes a lapel or cuff – something near the face so it can be seen, but the idea is to look better. For a woman it’s most likely hair. Lips are usually planned.
  6. Posture – men will try to look stronger or taller. Think cowboy, hands on hips. Women will giggle or tilt the head slightly, exposing neck.

Actions in conversation

Some of these responses are much stronger than others. Mirroring, the fifth point under “Both Sexes”, is powerful. Unlike the others, matching is generally subconscious and harder to fake. Of course, touch, and the progression of touch, is the best indicator.

Both sexes

  • Showing less defensive body posture and open positions.
  • Reducing distance.
  • Leaning forward. Forward shows interest. Men will lean back to attempt to show power and dominance.
  • Palms turned up and facing the other person. It’s harder to defend
    yourself with palms up, and it’s a more open position.
  • Mirroring actions or positions. Both men and women feel more comfortable when their conversation partner is close to or matching the basic position. Going further, not only will partners match positions, they will match actions, like taking a drink at the same time.
  • Actual physical touch. This is very cultural, though. In general, the warmer the home climate the more likely someone is to use touch
    non-sexually. Northern Europeans, Asians, and Americans will use
    friend-touch much less than Southern Europeans or Latinos. Arabs have lots of same-sex touch and no opposite-sex contact.


  • Playing with earlobes. Men use self touch less than women. When men do caress, the ear is common.
  • Adjusting socks. This is a really strong costuming act, because small things like socks only matter when everything has to be correct.
  • Standing tall, leaning against a wall, and showing good muscle tone.
  • When sitting, spreading legs and exposing the crotch. There are other possibilities, depending on the chair/couch situation, but in general exposing the very sensitive area is a sign of interest and trust.


  • Self touching and slow caressing or rubbing. It’s an invitation. Exposed skin is more suggestive than clothing. The signal strengthens as the hands get closer to the breast.
  • Stroking hair. This is NOT twirling or playing, which are signs of
    disinterest, particularly if playing while looking away. It’s slower and
    softer, usually while looking at the other.
  • Head tilting, exposing the neck. Like men’s crotch, it’s a vulnerable portion of the body.
  • Hip and chest jiggling. This one is tricky, because there are other
    reasons. Instead, it might be discomfort with clothes or shoes. Also, a
    highly energetic person will sway naturally. Large intentional movements
    are always come-ons, and for some women small shifts show energy, tension, and arousal.

About Adam

My quest is a world where calling someone "virtuous like a fairy tale hero" is routine, not fantastic or ironic. My vocation is the teaching and learning of statistics. My dream is a long happy life with a wonderful wife and kids. Who knows if any will become true? More information is at my homepage on the twelvefruits network: http://adam.twelvefruits.com
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