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20 Ways to Read a Man Through His Eyes

eye contact“A person’s thoughts can be ascertained by looking in his or her eyes.”

England, Regiment of Life, 1545

“Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter).”

Cicero

 “Les yeux sont le miroir de l’ame (The eyes are the mirror of the soul).”

French Proverb

In a recent post I suggested that a man’s eyes will pretty much tell you what you need to know about him:

You can learn a lot about a man by looking at his eyes. Are they alive or flat? Cold or warm? Do they convey expression? Amusement? Are there crow’s feet at the edges that are the mark of a man who smiles and laughs? What do his eyes say about his intent?

Looking back, every guy you ever went out with told you everything you needed to know with his eyes, without saying a word.

Although some commenters agreed that they have found eyes a reliable indicator of a person’s true intent, personality or character, most felt that my advice was of limited value, and possibly even misleading. Knowing that I have relied on this assessment with good results, I set out to find out what science says about what our eyes reveal to others. 

One of the strongest impressions I had of my husband the first time I saw him was of his crow’s feet. They seemed to radiate interest, empathy and some amusement to the person he was speaking with. I found this almost unspeakably attractive. (This was no doubt aided by the fact that his eyes are the color of the Caribbean sea.)

It turns out that when people smile with genuine engagement and warmth, the eye muscles are involved and the smile extends over the whole face. In contrast, a smile that is not genuine, but manufactured, does not engage the eye muscles and involves only the lower half of the face. In observing his crow’s feet, already pronounced at the age of 27, I was gathering information about the authenticity of his smile not only with his conversation partner, but in general. That kickstarted a very strong desire to know him.

It turns out there are many interesting facts about how human beings communicate and perceive one other with their eyes. (Note: Most of this will apply primarily to western culture.)

1. A study headed by Stephen Janik and Rodney Wellens at the University of Miami in Florida found that 43.4 percent of the attention we focus on someone is devoted to their eyes. Here are some of the phrases we use to describe people’s motives based on their eyes alone:

  • shifty-eyed
  • wild-eyed
  • twinkly or sparkly eyes
  • lying eyes
  • Bette Davis eyes, bedroom eyes
  • evil eye
  • wide-eyed
  • kind eyes
  • dead eyes
  • eyes glazed over
  • puppy dog eyes

2. Blue eyes have only been around for 6,000 – 10,000 years. All blue-eyed people are descended from one common ancestor who had a genetic mutation, which prevented the production of brown pigment. Blue is generally voted the most attractive eye color, which probably reflects its relative scarcity in the population.

However, studies have shown that women deem brown-eyed males more trustworthy. Still, 20-40% of Europeans now have blue eyes, suggesting that blue-eyed people have reproduced very successfully in a short time.

3. “A study finds that guys with an open, normal gaze are preferred for a long-term relationship by women and as a business partner or neighbor by men. Women and men alike perceived the eyes-half-closed look as an attempt to secure a fling rather than a long-term relationship. Unfortunately, the look didn’t give those much of an edge: Men with a wider-eyed look were ranked as more attractive even for a brief affair.”

The researchers believe that because a wide-eyed appearance signifies youth, “sketchy” men use a heavy-lidded gaze to convey maturity and sexual readiness.

4. Blink rate can reveal how nervous or at ease a person may be. In presidential debates, the faster blinker has lost every election since 1980.

5. Scientists used to believe that a darting gaze was a giveaway of deceit. However, that theory has been debunked. It’s now understood that most people will look left or right when considering what to say. In fact, it’s the people whose gaze never wavers who you should probably suspect most. Practiced liars are very good at the “poker face.” Alder Vrij and others have found that liars tend to engage in greater eye contact because they know we are looking there for signs of deception. People who are conscious of the image they project, like politicians and cads, tend to be good liars. 

6. One of the first signs of arousal is dilated pupils. It is not unusual for a person to have dilated pupils throughout a period of courtship. Advertisers use this to their advantage, photoshopping in larger pupils in most photo ads.

7. A squint or narrowing of the eyes means suspicion or disbelief (the Clint Eastwood Effect). People are often unaware they’re doing this, so you can use that information to provide reassurance when needed.

8. People raise their eyebrows when they want to be clearly understood. It signals congeniality and a desire to get along.

9. Women use time-tested eye moves during courtship:

  • Women pluck their eyebrows higher up their forehead because it makes us look more helpless and this actually releases hormones in a man’s brain to protect and defend the female.
  • Women tend to raise their eyebrows and lower their lids to give the look of orgasming. (Think Marilyn Monroe)
  • Looking up and to the side is a ‘come hither’ look from a woman to a man.
  • Gazing at someone often engages their attention and encourages them to like you in return.
  • Researcher Monika Moore found that men often miss a women’s first eye-gazing courtship signal. On average, she needs to do it three times before the man takes notice.
  • A sideways glance over a raised shoulder highlights curves, the roundness of the female face–which signifies estrogen and exposes the vulnerability and pheromones of the neck. A great move for women trying to flirt.

I’ve also written about eye contact in How to Flirt Effectively.

10. There are three types of gazing:

  • Social: Ranges from eyes to mouth, shows comfort and is not aggressive.
  • Intimate: Ranges from eyes to mouth to lower body.
  • Power: Strictly focused on the eyes and forehead.

Women playing hard-to-get substitute social gazing for intimate gazing.

11.  A sideways glance is a gesture of uncertainty, but if one raises one’s eyebrows while doing this, it is a sign of romantic interest.

12. Darting eyes always indicate insecurity – the person is looking for a means of escape.

13. Eye contact norms vary a great deal not only by country, but by subcultures. The social convention for acceptable eye contact in New York City is only 1.68 seconds. Ten seconds is enough time to be very disconcerting just about everywhere. 

14. When we’re angry with someone we often avoid eye contact. “Talk to the hand!” or “I can’t even look at you right now.”

15. People who are rich or high status tend to exhibit more distraction and less eye contact. Looking away from someone during a conversation is a way of expressing your superiority.

16. Men stare more than women, and they use eye contact to mark status and dominance. Women use eye contact to read another person, bond, and communicate submission.

Tips for Effective Eye Contact

 

17. People are wary of initiating eye contact due to the risk of rejection. However, studies show that once one person initiates, the other person often welcomes the engagement and reciprocates.

18. If you make eye contact with someone and they do not engage to make it mutual, cease. Continuing to look at someone after they’ve looked away moves the behavior from gazing to staring, and staring makes people uncomfortable. This is generally referred to as “creepy.” Most of the men I’ve called creepy in my life were people who stared at me for way too long. This is bad enough on the street, but there is almost nothing worse than looking up to see your cubicle mate doing it again

19. Practice making eye contact with strangers to get comfortable with it. Then make a point of initiating eye contact with every single person you find attractive. It doesn’t matter if they are taken, too young, too old, or otherwise inappropriate. Eye contact is a friendly gesture that simply says you like what you see. Don’t forget: a man may need three separate glances to read your message.

20. Guys should use the following cheat sheet to interpret a woman’s eye contact:

  • If she looks down and then back, she’s definitely interested.
  • If she breaks eye contact, and looks to the side, she’s uncertain.
  • If she looks up, consider it an eye roll and move on.

For some people the ability to look into another person’s soul (and read it) comes more easily than for others. But it’s a valuable skill and one that can be improved with practice. It can help you lose the losers, win the winners, and know when you stand a fighting chance.

For more information, one excellent book is The power of Eye Contact by Michael Ellsberg.

  • OffTheCuff

    Heh, I love the first pic.

    I was taking to an old friend, and asked if she has ever noticed me looking at her chest – she’s a J, it’s difficult *not* to look, due to gravitational pull alone. She giggled, blushed, and said no, except for once. (That one time was when she was wearing an attention-getting joke T-shirt, and I specifically asked about it.)

    She did complain about getting stares from random people, naturally, but it appears people are really, really bad at taking a discreet eyeful. My take: you can do whatever you want, if you do it in a non-creepy way.

  • http://www.marvelousmanboobs.com/ David H. F*cktrelle-Male Feminist Extraordinaire™

    oh, the bestest ways I know is to pretend to be a feminist to male her trust everything you say-patriarchy,patriarchy, patriarchy….

    it’s all teh mnez’s faults, except, I’m the one enlightened good one….

    Stare, but not too hard….

    wearing glasses make the glare less intense, then there’s the old nudie beach trick-sunglasses….

    more plausible deniability than a flashing sarcasm button at the bottom of your blog after promoting misandry…

    just look how well it worked for Hugo Schwyzer….

  • http://www.marvelousmanboobs.com/ David H. F*cktrelle-Male Feminist Extraordinaire™

    oh, and homegirl, about the creepy thing….

    PUA sex god Rooosh doesn’t like being called creepy, I got banned from his blog….

    I said when I’m on my food vacation and he’s on his sex tourism vacation, maybe when I’m getting a crepe, he could show me how o be creepy….

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    This was something I was completely clueless about until a well meaning female friend made it her mission to point out girls that were checking me out or when waitresses/cashiers/etc started flirting with me when we were out and about. How is it that some people instinctively know this and others like myself would go through life completely oblivious to these subtle cues?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SDS

      How is it that some people instinctively know this and others like myself would go through life completely oblivious to these subtle cues?

      In researching it, it occurred to me that if men generally make eye contact to assert dominance, then they don’t have a good sense of the female use of eye contact. Because women use it more to “read” others and use that information to make a connection, they generally recognize pretty quickly when a guy finds them attractive and makes eye contact to assert his will.

      I think the gender differences in the use of eye contact strongly influence the gender differences in the perception of eye contact from others.

  • INTJ

    @ Susan

    In researching it, it occurred to me that if men generally make eye contact to assert dominance, then they don’t have a good sense of the female use of eye contact. Because women use it more to “read” others and use that information to make a connection, they generally recognize pretty quickly when a guy finds them attractive and makes eye contact to assert his will.

    Makes sense.

    However, given that men find ~60% of women attractive, compared to women finding ~20% of men attractive, and that male indicators of interest are so much more obvious to women than female IOIs are to men, wouldn’t it be much more efficient for wsomen to do the approaching? Just saying.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      However, given that men find ~60% of women attractive, compared to women finding ~20% of men attractive, and that male indicators of interest are so much more obvious to women than female IOIs are to men, wouldn’t it be much more efficient for wsomen to do the approaching?

      Well, if it’s reproductively efficient, perhaps we will evolve in that direction… :)

      BTW, are you quoting those percentages from the OKCupid post? If so, what it said was that in that sample, women rated 80% of men as below average looking. And yet they messaged a high percentage, indicating that those men had other things that made them attractive.

      Mike C recently made the point that for men SMV based on looks alone is not really accurate, as it comprises only a portion of our checklist.

  • Oz

    I love gazing into large, dark, deep beautiful eyes, but still don’t think a person’s “soul” or “inner life” can be read through their eyes.

    “A sideways glance over a raised shoulder highlights curves, the roundness of the female face–which signifies estrogen and exposes the vulnerability and pheromones of the neck.”

    I’d like to know more about pheromones. We don’t consciously smell them, do we?

    Also Susan, you mentioned somewhere else that women determine genetic fitness of mates through their saliva while kissing them? How exactly does this work?
    If she thinks he’s a bad kisser does that mean he’s not a genetic fit for her? Yet kissing is a skill that can be learned.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Oz

      I’d like to know more about pheromones. We don’t consciously smell them, do we?

      No, and I think that for all our discussions about mating, the truth is that a lot of it is unconscious – at least the “genetic fitness” assessment.

      Also Susan, you mentioned somewhere else that women determine genetic fitness of mates through their saliva while kissing them? How exactly does this work?

      That is a read on testosterone and other hormones in the male saliva. AFAIK, men do not test for this during kissing. As a result, women consider kissing an end in itself, while men consider it a means to an end.

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    I see what you’re saying but how exactly does that explain the “naturals”, the guys that almost instinctively know how to pick up women from a young age?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SDS

      I see what you’re saying but how exactly does that explain the “naturals”, the guys that almost instinctively know how to pick up women from a young age?

      Two possibilities come to mind:

      1. Naturals assume women are interested in them, they take the IOIs for granted. They’re also fairly immune to risk rejection, so they make a lot of approaches.

      2. Personality traits may play a role. My guess is that certain Myers Briggs subtypes are better at this than others.

  • INTJ

    @ SDS

    I see what you’re saying but how exactly does that explain the “naturals”, the guys that almost instinctively know how to pick up women from a young age?

    Having lots of sisters to learn body language from, or having early experience with women that helps them understand them.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @INTJ

      Having lots of sisters to learn body language from, or having early experience with women that helps them understand them.

      You raise a really interesting point here. IIRC you have a brother, no sisters. SayWhaat has a sister, no brothers. It would be interesting to know what the sibling distribution is among HUS readers. Having one of each, I witnessed how my son learned about girls, including menstruation, PMS, overly emotional interpretation of events, etc. Solipsism! And my daughter was regularly exposed to my son referring to girls as “floozies” and routinely condemning the guys she was dating as unworthy. Each of them got a very strong dose of the mindset of the opposite sex. And each of them still consults the other for advice in this area.

      Are smaller families making it harder for the sexes to connect? Are only children especially disadvantaged in the SMP?

  • http://kaneadvice.wordpress.com K

    20 is great advice for men. Ideally, a man will learn how to pick up other emotions through her eyes, but knowing 20 is a must.

    I’ve always read women’s emotions through their eyes but never thought about the fact they do this to each other. Most women have no idea how men communicate with each other through the eyes.

    I have twinkly eyes. Judging by my family members whon I most resemble, I will have sad eyes in old age.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @K

      I have twinkly eyes.

      FWIW, I have heard a lot of girls rave about this. There’s something truly infectious about a twinkle in someone’s eye. It’s like they know the secret of life, or something. I’m not sure if it reflects what’s in their soul, or is a fortuitous accident of biology, but girls love it.

      Ideally, a man will learn how to pick up other emotions through her eyes, but knowing 20 is a must.

      If I could tell guys one thing about IOIs, it would be this: If a woman looks at you, looks away, and looks back at you again, you’re in. Go over to her immediately. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of girls and guys trading these glances all night long! The interest is palpable for everyone to see, yet no one makes a move, the party ends, and they never see each other again. Such a waste!

  • Jonny

    If you’re not aware of the visual clues, the eyes tell you little about the person. I think men are very bad with this. Men are distracted by looks. Women are better at this since they don’t focus on looks.

    Men rely more on what the women tell them even though the women might be lying or shading the truth.

    I notice that some people, especially men, don’t often look people into the eye, or they have odd eyeball issues like cross-eyed, or one-sided, or lazy eye. They will be judged harshly.

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    @ INTJ

    You know I bet that’s it.. I’m an only child… and not only that only child, only nephew on my mom’s side and my closest cousins on my dad’s side are 8 years younger and 8 years older. That probably explains a lot.

  • JP

    “This was something I was completely clueless about until a well meaning female friend made it her mission to point out girls that were checking me out or when waitresses/cashiers/etc started flirting with me when we were out and about. How is it that some people instinctively know this and others like myself would go through life completely oblivious to these subtle cues?”

    Not being an intelligent introvert with ADD helps.

    Social cues are a skill that can be learned.

  • INTJ

    @ Susan

    BTW, are you quoting those percentages from the OKCupid post? If so, what it said was that in that sample, women rated 80% of men as below average looking. And yet they messaged a high percentage, indicating that those men had other things that made them attractive.

    Nope, I’m using the comments made by females at HUS (and elsewhere) as reference for that. As for the OKCupid post, the stats showed that women rarely messaged anyone (attractive or not).

  • Pixie

    I’m an only child, and I definitely think it put me at a slight disadvantage socially while growing up. People pick up tons of stuff from their siblings, ranging from social cues to what the “cool” band/tv show/ etc is. I think it also tied into why I didn’t really have any male friends while growing up. As a young girl, I was encouraged to play with other girls, and since I didn’t have any brothers, I don’t think it really occurred to me to try to socially connect with boys, because I wouldn’t have known how to go about it anyway.

  • Oz

    “Naturals assume women are interested in them, they take the IOIs for granted. ”

    Naturals and delusional unattractive older men. I’ve had men almost old enough to be my grandfather assume I’m interested because I was polite to them yuck.

    I also had my young, pompous cousin assume an older woman was lingering for 4 minutes in a grocery aisle just to give him time to approach her. She was reading labels. Her child is glutton intolerant.

    “That is a read on testosterone and other hormones in the male saliva. AFAIK, men do not test for this during kissing. As a result, women consider kissing an end in itself, while men consider it a means to an end.”

    But how would a woman read such things?

    The best kisser I ever experienced was someone who was not at all compatible with me, meanwhile the worst one was.

    Does that mean on the DNA level the good kisser would have given me a healthier baby, despite not being socially, culturally or intellectually compatible with me?

  • INTJ

    @ PJ

    But how would a woman read such things?

    The best kisser I ever experienced was someone who was not at all compatible with me, meanwhile the worst one was.

    Does that mean on the DNA level the good kisser would have given me a healthier baby, despite not being socially, culturally or intellectually compatible with me?

    I think it’s supposed to be more of a subconscious chemical attraction change than a conscious evaluation of his kissing technique.

  • OffTheCuff

    Sue: ” It would be interesting to know what the sibling distribution is among HUS readers.”

    Younger sister and older brother, both 7 years apart, so I basically had nothing to do with either of them. In my house, a sibling and/or parent was a much more formal/distant relationship, than a friendship. I think my oldest brother, despite being a lothario, talked to me about girls for a grand total of 12 minutes my entries life. These sort of families you describe sort of boggle my mind.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @OTC

      Younger sister and older brother, both 7 years apart, so I basically had nothing to do with either of them. In my house, a sibling and/or parent was a much more formal/distant relationship, than a friendship.

      Well you probably would have benefited a great deal from a couple of siblings your own age parading their own issues, crises, and coming of age episodes.

      Maybe the level of blue pill deception is related to this.

  • Oz

    “I think it’s supposed to be more of a subconscious chemical attraction change than a conscious evaluation of his kissing technique.”

    I’m interested in how our brain or body would process that.

  • JP

    “Sue: ” It would be interesting to know what the sibling distribution is among HUS readers.”

    Younger sister and older brother, both 7 years apart, so I basically had nothing to do with either of them. In my house, a sibling and/or parent was a much more formal/distant relationship, than a friendship. I think my oldest brother, despite being a lothario, talked to me about girls for a grand total of 12 minutes my entries life. These sort of families you describe sort of boggle my mind.”

    I had twin sisters 3 1/2 years younger, but it was from a pretty formal household, too.

    I don’t recall getting any useful information about the sexes or sex differences from anybody because they weren’t really topics of discussion.

  • JP

    “I think it’s supposed to be more of a subconscious chemical attraction change than a conscious evaluation of his kissing technique.”

    I’m interested in how our brain or body would process that.”

    Subconsciously.

  • tito

    this post made me think of the song “bette davis eyes” i think i’ll listen to it.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I see what you’re saying but how exactly does that explain the “naturals”, the guys that almost instinctively know how to pick up women from a young age?
    I think this is a function of restricted vs unrestricted. U-People are obviously actively looking for any possibility of mating while us R- Types are focused on other things. A man had to hit me in the head with a bat for me to get he found me attractive…maybe. I have 2 brothers and 1 sisters two years apart and we were really close,still clueless about men all my life.

  • Madelena

    Oldest of four children, two boys and two girls. Like OTC and JP, these things were not a topic of discussion at all in my household. It has gotten better now that we’re older.
    Brothers’ friends who dared show an iota of interest in me or my sis were never invited back to the house.

  • SayWhaat

    I’m surprised limbal rings didn’t make the list!

  • Oz

    “I’m interested in how our brain or body would process that.”

    “Subconsciously.”

    So then how would it help us in the day to day reality?

  • OffTheCuff

    Oh. Yikes. I misread limbal as something TOTALLY different…

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Older sister, younger brother.

    Family dynamic: take stereotypes of American rednecks. My family looked on it as a source of pride.

    “Iron? Who needs an iron? Here, have this NASCAR shirt!”

  • JP

    “I’m interested in how our brain or body would process that.”

    “Subconsciously.”

    So then how would it help us in the day to day reality?”

    I suppose it might make you want to take off all your clothes.

  • Allie

    I like eye crinkle so much better than crow’s feet. I am such a sucker for an eye crinkle…. I’ve always considered it endearing.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Allie

      I like eye crinkle so much better than crow’s feet. I am such a sucker for an eye crinkle…. I’ve always considered it endearing.

      Haha, what is eye crinkle?

  • Californio

    You can consciously manipulate the muscles around your eyes to make them “smile.” I inherited my mother’s eyes: very light green w/ gold flecks, upward tilted outer corners and long lashes. I can freak out my kids by moving the muscles around my eyes ever so slightly so they light up or go dead. And I knew how to use this physical feature when dealing with women from a very early age – from teachers, Nuns at school, etc. – even today I can watch their train of thought get side-tracked when I make strong eye contact. Windows to the soul? Suuuure they are.

  • Allie

    How I describe crow’s feet! :D hehe I actively look for it in men. When I read your story about when you were talking with your husband, instantly I thought:
    I do that too!!

  • http://happycrow.wordpress.com Russ in Texas

    Californio,

    I always thought that was normal. Have done it all my adult life, and have always “shot” my eyes at women when I wanted to give IOI, or my wife when I really want a cup of coffee (“cute” is currency in my house). Drawback is that I’ve made more than one woman shriek/freak out because when I’m being intense it shows in my eyes and can apparently be (literally) terrifying.

    My wife says it’s the eyes of “nothing else matters except this thing that I want you to understand, and you WILL understand it.” I have NO idea how that translates otherwise. When I model, I definitely work the eyes, especially out from under a hat or in profile.

    side note: the pic at top is hilarious; my father-in-law always approved of me and my twin because we DON’T stare at women’s tits.

  • JP

    @Russ

    “Drawback is that I’ve made more than one woman shriek/freak out because when I’m being intense it shows in my eyes and can apparently be (literally) terrifying.

    My wife says it’s the eyes of “nothing else matters except this thing that I want you to understand, and you WILL understand it.” I have NO idea how that translates otherwise.”

    Apparently, when I’m angry, I can apparently look like I’m ready to kill somebody, and it’s terrifying to people.

    I can confirm that appearing homicidal is absolutely useless in social situation, in case anyone ever wondered.

    I think it’s caused by intensity.

  • Allie

    Californio…. That explains someone I know. I could never figure out how he can “light up” his eyes and then have them “go dead” just as quickly. It puzzled me (which was probably the point).

  • Society’s Disposable Son

    JP @ 41

    “Apparently, when I’m angry, I can apparently look like I’m ready to kill somebody, and it’s terrifying to people.”

    Yeah I have the same thing about me. I got this look once at an old job when a female co-worker had been on a power trip since the chef was on vacation and left a note saying check with so and so before the morning crew leaves. I scared the hell out of my male co-workers so bad one dragged me outside because he was afraid I’d kill her.

  • J

    That is a read on testosterone and other hormones in the male saliva. AFAIK, men do not test for this during kissing. As a result, women consider kissing an end in itself, while men consider it a means to an end.

    This brings up an interesting question that a friend of mine recently asked me. Let me throw it out to the commentariat.

    My friend is divorced and has just begun to date again. She met a guy at a dinner party in December and is very attracted to him, both personally and sexually, but she doesn’t feel ready to “go all the way.” It’s been over 25 years since her last “first time” with a man, is a low-N woman, has not had sex in about 2 years and had a horrid sex life with her ex due to his lack of interest and skill. (She’s slim and beautiful with long, wavy hair BTW; I don’t know if he’s low-T or what.) Anyway, she is both excited by the prospect of the new guy and fearful of getting too involved too soon. She wants some sexual contact, like touching and necking, but is not ready for intercourse. He question to me was, “Would a 50 yo guy be willing to do that for a while or would he be frustrated?”

    What do you all think?

  • J

    I like eye crinkle so much better than crow’s feet. I am such a sucker for an eye crinkle…. I’ve always considered it endearing.

    Ha! I call those “crinklies.” I like them too on men. I even think men who like older women like women with crinklies. Crinklies make you look like you’ve laughed and smiled a lot, and happy people are attractive people.

  • Jesse

    I think if you’re trying to seduce a woman then it can be important to communicate with your eyes that you find her sexually appealing, but that would only work as part of an appealing package in the whole. A short glance at a woman’s breasts, or a slightly extended stare (at her eyes), can perhaps indicate dominance if done while you are close together. (Staring from across the room is probably a bad thing for a man to do.) However, this is very different from serious courtship and not really the topic of discussion around here.

    Marilyn Monroe was an absolute master of her facial expressions and eyes. Once you’ve seen photos of her it is jarring to look at glamor models today, because you can see often how uncomfortable their facial expressions are. They’ve no idea how to seduce the camera.

    It’s funny, but I tend to divide pictures of Marilyn into the playful and the imperious/seductive. Of course in the playful ones she looks absolutely lovely and cute, but in the seductive ones I also thought she looked very cute trying to be all seductive.

    I don’t know if this is related to dominance and submission at all, but my feeling is that when a woman is trying to be seductive, it is in a way a play for dominance on her part, because the implication is that the man will be helpless in the face of her allure and that she controls the gateway to sex. I’m not the kind of person to submit to this type of thing, so perhaps my reading of her seductive photos is different from most men. I’m not sure. I just found it strange how I read her as being very cute in those photos –because– she was trying to be all cool and seductive. It’s a sort of “aww, she’s trying to be the bombshell” type of thing.

    It’s strange, because admittedly she did it all very, very well. There’s nothing really lacking in how she did it. Maybe I’m just not the kind of guy to take haughty (not in a negative way) displays like that at face value. I don’t really dislike it at all. I like it when a woman is playful, and it can be interpreted as a bit of playful resistance. I’ve mentioned before I’d be bored by a woman who rolls over all the time.

    Off topic rant over. I’d be curious to hear how any other men responded to her seductive photos. You probably know the ones – semi-closed eyes, slightly parted mouth, often with her chin up just a little bit. In the playful ones she’s usually just smiling, and she really had a wonderful smile. Her eyes absolutely lit up – it was really out of this world.

  • Just1Z

    A lesson learned from Jeff Murdoch appropriate to the post’s picture.

    When speaking to women, a man should ‘Only smile at the face’.

  • Mike C

    As long as I am indicating my interest and she is doing the same and we enjoy the company, I’m not going to jump ship. Look, “options” are great, but its f-ing hard to find good matches.

    Word. We talk a lot here about things like SMV values and 9s should get with 9s, and things like N, and really it is about finding a match, and there a whole list of things that go into that.

    If we go 3 dates, we are a pretty good match. I may have options for sex laying about, but then the point is that I’m restricted. I’ve always had options for sex. I want a relationship. I’m not going to scuttle the ultimate goal because I might get sex easier from someone else. Thats the downside of the dual path. I know why guys do it, but I can also see how it can muddle the objectives.

    Well…I think it falls into know thyself. I didn’t indulge in the “dual path” for very long, but for the time I did I didn’t really feel muddled. For me, I can meet a woman…and have met women…where it is like you are cool, fun, and there is physical attraction but for a number of reasons it wouldn’t work long-term. If she is feeling that same attraction..well….I guess I can see where it could be a distraction from the main goal.

    Restricted or not, IMO if guys are willing to walk because escalation to sex isn’t happening per THEIR schedule, they are more interested in you as an opportunity (for sex or relationship, doesn’t matter) and less so as YOU as a person. If it is a restricted man that walks due to the 3 date rule or whatever, he is still more interested in “getting his” than what you two might create together.

    Totally agree. Now maybe I’m still sort of trying to nail down exactly what this restricted versus unrestricted dichotomy is, but it seems to me that one of the key parts of restricted is that you really have to feel a “connection” to the person and like you really know them as a person well. I’d submit that really isn’t possible on 3 dates, so to me it seems like trying to go for sex on date 3 for the restricted person is acting in direct opposition to what they naturally feel comfortable with.

    The whole price discrimination thing may show up, but then if two restricted people are dating, that stuff comes out in the wash too. I think the more we go into it “expecting” someone to deliver what we want, when we want it, is just asking for complications.

    If a restricted-ish man really thinks you are the cats meow, he will wait.

    FWIW, that may be true for some unrestricted men as well. I know the first time I went for it with my now fiancee she wanted to slow it down a bit, and I was cool with that.

  • Mike C

    Ehhh….sorry wrong thread (on the wrong browser tab)

  • someINTP

    The “eyes-half-closed look” is called les yeux en coulisse in French, meaning eyes in slide. I find it rather sexy in a femme fatale. To me it conveys emotional maturity.

    Though, I can personally attest to not noticing a woman’s seductive glance. I must have let this one girl burn half her daily calories batting her eyes before I walked over and offered her a refreshment.

    I have three younger sisters. Thankfully, I won’t get to see them chase boys. The household was pure drama without the romance. This did not impart any advantages. Once you have a nose for female drama, you move fast, not towards a resolution, but to the nearest exit.

  • JutR

    Lmao, Mike C. Just did that on the other post. Tabs can be fun.

    On the eyes, they aren’t exactly windows into the soul, but maybe into the subconscious. Read Liespotting by Pamela Meyer, her 3rd chapter deals with reading the face.

    Micro-expressions, around the eyes and lips tell a lot about someone’s first emotional reaction. Through some film analysis, they were able to capture and analyze, but an astute observer can consciously, and subconsciously find these reactions when observing closely. That being said, most cannot.

    Facial control is instinctive, which means that even the best actors need to put a guise over raw emotional responses. Surprise, disgust, contempt, happiness, joy, sadness, anger and fear are instinctual and we do not choose to feel those emotions, but we can impose conscious control. Before we do that, we have a ‘involuntary expressive system’ that gives indicators to mental states.

    Also, Diane notes that asymmetry in expressions or gestures can indicate lies or discomfort, where natural and truthful gestures (smiles, frowns, shrugs) tend to appear symmetrical on both sides.

    Anyway, good topic.

  • Joe

    @Susan

    It would be interesting to know what the sibling distribution is among HUS readers.

    I have 4 brothers and one sister.

    But, just to complicate the issue, I have a feeling birth order is just as important. Being the oldest of the brood, I felt like a bit of a trailblazer. I had to go forward before the next, or else I’d be falling behind, right? That applied to riding a two-wheeled bike as well as to dating.

    The downside was that I never felt like I was getting much benefit of my sibling’s experience, and my parents were (understandably) more concerned with “the baby” more than my wondering about girls. The let me figure it out and teach my younger brothers.

    I’m lucky they don’t hate me! ;-)

  • pvw

    “they generally recognize pretty quickly when a guy finds them attractive and makes eye contact to assert his will…”

    Me: This sort of thing tended to bother me in social situations; it seemed too intense and intimidating, ESPECIALLY if it was not followed by a nod or a smile. Nowadays I notice stares, ie., those of men who seem interested or attracted–not that I am looking, of course, but the intensity doesn’t seem to be there in the same fashion. Perhaps because I’m not interested, I take it in stride? Or if it is there, I downplay it more because I don’t want to think about it in any significant fashion? That is definitely something…On the other hand, knowing it is there gives me some measure of comfort that the men I’m around might find something interesting or compelling about me–something useful to know at work…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      On the other hand, knowing it is there gives me some measure of comfort that the men I’m around might find something interesting or compelling about me–something useful to know at work…

      Indeed. A woman who does not use her femininity at work is a fool. I got a lot of what I wanted in my profession not for just being a girl, but for acting like one. I still had to do the work of course, but I was liked better than some other women, who adopted a more masculine stance. (Those aggressive women couldn’t stand me, though.)

  • Iggles

    Are smaller families making it harder for the sexes to connect? Are only children especially disadvantaged in the SMP?

    Interesting question, Susan!

    I grew up, the youngest of 3 girls. My sisters were 6 years and 2 years older. In my youth, all good friends were also girls. Guys were only acquaintance. I think the lack of insight into guys did play a big role in my awkwardness with dating. My first relationship was until 20. (No, my kindergarten bf doesn’t count :lol: )

  • Cooper

    @INTJ
    “wouldn’t it be much more efficient. . .”

    Whew! There’s my first good laugh of the day!! LMAO.

  • SayWhaat

    Being the oldest of the brood, I felt like a bit of a trailblazer. I had to go forward before the next, or else I’d be falling behind, right? That applied to riding a two-wheeled bike as well as to dating.

    Ha, same here. My sister has me beat on most counts though…I settled on being the black sheep of the family.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    “wouldn’t it be much more efficient for women to do the approaching?”

    It would be, actually. I recommend the tactic of asking a man’s contact information to get to know him better, as opposed to asking him out for a date. The “friendly escalation” can also be very flattering to a man. She can always retreat back to “friendship” if the romance doesn’t spark.

    I actually did this all the time. If I found a guy interesting, I’d ask him for his e-mail address or instant messaging handle to talk to him more. This is how I got to talk to the guy behind theoatmeal.com, for example. Most of the time I gained a cool friend, but in the case of my husband, I got way more.

  • SayWhaat

    (Younger sister, btw. I hate(d) being the eldest child.)

  • JP

    “wouldn’t it be much more efficient for women to do the approaching?”

    That’s how my life always worked.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    SayWhaat, our baby boy definitely has defined darker rings around his eyes. I don’t think they alone make him adorable though. ;)

    It’s interesting to observe young babies, because they show unreserved emotions with their facial expressions, and they seem innate. For example he has a spectacular pout and frowny face when he’s unhappy, even though none of us taught him to do it.

    Also, babies stare for way longer than commonly accepted social conventions, but nobody ever calls them creepy… :P

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Hope wrote:

    It’s interesting to observe young babies, because they show unreserved emotions with their facial expressions, and they seem innate. For example he has a spectacular pout and frowny face when he’s unhappy, even though none of us taught him to do it.

    It is innate. There’s only seven basic facial expressions: angry, disgust, surprise, contempt, fear, sadness, and happiness.

    http://pln.mulgrave.com/tinaz13/2012/05/30/the-seven-basic-facial-expressions/

    Normally facial expressions get to short-circuit the rational brain. They get read in by mirror neurons and generally go straight to the amygdala, which is the center of the brain that controls anxiety. In people with autism, their mirror neurons are poorly developed and they lack the ability to intuitively read facial expressions. One of the tests for autism is a _timed_ test of the basic facial expressions to assess both how well a person can assess them, and how fast they can do it.

  • Passer_By

    #oz

    “Her child is glutton intolerant. ”

    Judgmental little bastard obviously didn’t get the fat acceptance memo.

  • Passer_By

    I had three older sisters. All it did is make me unwilling to pursue or approach for fear of being “that guy” who can’t take a hint.

  • Lokland

    Being the oldest rocks. Just saying.
    When I went off to school my mom cried.
    When my sister went off to school 5 years later they bubble wrapped her. And then my mom cried.

  • SamAyam

    Susan you’ve previously made statements about women not being too aggressive so as to not seem too easy, or attract the wrong attention from the wrong guys/cads (but you can also attract the wrong attention from the right guys, too). It has a lot to do with how the woman is flirting. Recently, as I was walking past a lady’s undergarment store there was an ad poster in the window for one of their push-up bras, the Flirt. With a model pictured in the Flirt in the typical way, the caption read “Be a flirt.” All I could think was “flirt with your teeth not your tits.” If you try to attract a guy with your sexuality, you are going to get guys attracted to your sexuality, versus if you used more your feminine charm (nothing elaborate, smile, laugh at corny jokes, a light touching, a simple compliment). I’m more on the restricted end of the SRI, but think things are way too over-sexuallized and I personally avoid females who show any shred of overt sexuality, its always over played, obvious, very off-putting, and the best way I’ve figured to filter for loyalty, character, and independence of thought/action (not being christian also rules out those restricted based mainly on religious belief – and narrows my market A LOT. . . ). Any man worth his salt will wait for a woman worth her salt. Why settle, I won’t.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SamAyam

      All I could think was “flirt with your teeth not your tits.” If you try to attract a guy with your sexuality, you are going to get guys attracted to your sexuality, versus if you used more your feminine charm (nothing elaborate, smile, laugh at corny jokes, a light touching, a simple compliment).

      I think this is a very common mistake. Women who are at heart more restricted get to college and adopt the unrestricted girls’ wardrobe and mannerisms. It’s no wonder they get played by some cad.

      I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from women who stick with the 1 in 3 rule – wear an outfit that shows one good feature off to advantage (bottom, breasts, legs) and make the rest of the outfit modest. I don’t know that cads approach any less, but they report that good guys who want to avoid sluts approach a bit more.

      That single filter, when applied correctly, can dramatically change a woman’s perception of the SMP. Suddenly, it’s not “all guys are assholes.”

  • Oz

    ” There’s only seven basic facial expressions: angry, disgust, surprise, contempt, fear, sadness, and happiness.”

    Actually there’s 8: confusion.

  • Oz

    Re: pheromones;

    JP January 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    “I’m interested in how our brain or body would process that.”

    “Subconsciously.”

    So then how would it help us in the day to day reality?”

    I suppose it might make you want to take off all your clothes.
    ——————

    Susan can you say more about this.

  • JP

    “Indeed. A woman who does not use her femininity at work is a fool. I got a lot of what I wanted in my profession not for just being a girl, but for acting like one.”

    That was definitely one of the reasons I left where I was.

    I really couldn’t change the fact that I wasn’t a young attractive woman, so I got pushed aside.

    One of the problems with being a man in today’s work environment.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Also, babies stare for way longer than commonly accepted social conventions, but nobody ever calls them creepy…
    You didn’t saw the link to the baby hating site I posted? They do consider babies creepy, is probably a tiny minority of people but they do exist.

    I wanted to mention that point were staring makes the other person reciprocate explains why baby do it. Is a way to connect with their caregivers and assure that they will continue taking care of them. Clever little bastards! ;)

    Being the oldest rocks. Just saying.

    Cosign. Parents are harder on us but is more fun and you develop resilience naturally, YMMV.

  • Oz

    “Indeed. A woman who does not use her femininity at work is a fool. I got a lot of what I wanted in my profession not for just being a girl, but for acting like one.”

    That was definitely one of the reasons I left where I was.

    I really couldn’t change the fact that I wasn’t a young attractive woman, so I got pushed aside.

    One of the problems with being a man in today’s work environment.”

    – tell me about it. its worse for other women who are not as attractive as the ones getting all the perks at work based on their looks.

  • Sassy6519

    I love it when a man get’s “crow’s feet” while smiling/laughing. I’ve always found it sexy. Every man I’ve ever dated has had them, and I always swoon.

    My boyfriend has them, and it’s just the cutest thing. Today I got a flat tire, in the middle of a snow storm no less, and he drove out to sit with me while the tow truck came. I was greeted by his smile, even under those circumstances. I melted.

  • Cooper

    “he drove out to sit with me while the tow truck came.”

    He couldn’t change your tire?

    “I love it when a man get’s “crow’s feet” while smiling/laughing.”

    I almost never thought of crow’s feet as remotely attractive, until I heard people reference the amount of laughter – which makes sense. As much as I didn’t necessarily get them, I was glad to realize I have them.

  • Sassy6519

    @ Cooper

    He couldn’t change your tire?

    I didn’t have a spare tire. He was planning to change the tire for me, until I told him that I didn’t have one.

  • SayWhaat

    Indeed. A woman who does not use her femininity at work is a fool. I got a lot of what I wanted in my profession not for just being a girl, but for acting like one. I still had to do the work of course, but I was liked better than some other women, who adopted a more masculine stance. (Those aggressive women couldn’t stand me, though.)

    IDK. Being feminine at work got me excoriated to the point I had to leave the team. I couldn’t keep with the ball-busters.

  • SayWhaat

    Sassy, your man sounds wonderful! I’m so happy for you! :)

  • JP

    @SayWhaat:

    “IDK. Being feminine at work got me excoriated to the point I had to leave the team. I couldn’t keep with the ball-busters.”

    The key is to be the *only* woman on your team.

  • Oz

    Susan, you have GOT to listen to the first 21 minutes of this video

    http://www.the21convention.com/2013/01/17/multiple-relationship-dynamics/

  • Richard Aubrey

    Sassy, sounds like he’ll have to be checking on a lot of things.

  • Richard Aubrey

    My senior year in HS, I got the lead in a play–Arms and The Man–by Shaw. My role was a Swiss mercenary officer. Apparently, the wooden Indian had a gig. The female lead and the director kept telling me to act with my eyes. Huh…?
    A couple of years later, a friend asked me what I was thinking about as we approached each other. Me: Huh? Him: You looked like you were wondering which knife to use to cut somebody’s throat.
    Couldn’t have been. I never carry more than one.
    I was born cuter than the Gerber baby and I have the pictures to prove it. Went downhill pretty quick. Now I could stare down an enraged water buffalo completely by accident while thinking of something else.
    Where we used to go to church, if the nursery didn’t have a mom to run it, I’d stand in it until one or another mom, looking at me, would volunteer. Worked pretty much every time.
    The other day, a guy eyeballing my DIL got a Message and looked at me looking at him. Nearly wet his pants. If you stare him down, you don’t have to fight him.
    I think reading my eyes would be a waste of time.
    BTW. Crows’feet come from squinting in the sun. Not only do you get wrinkles, you get pale lines in the tan skin. Nada whatsoever to do with personality, unless you stipulate the prospects don’t get outdoors much.

  • http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com dannyfrom504

    interesting post Tia. since i was a young Danny i’ve recieved compliments on my eyes. they are green. but change from grey to blue (depending on the temp or my mood…i’m wierd, i know). i’m not a girl so i don’t know how a woman can percieve me as having an “intimidating stare”. but i’ll just leave it at this.

    i wear glasses for a reason…..they draw attention to my money makers. lol.

    stay up Tia.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/marellus Marellus

    Suzan.

    How did you manage to gather all these studies ? Are you subscribing to some kind of site to get all of these links ?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      How did you manage to gather all these studies ? Are you subscribing to some kind of site to get all of these links ?

      Nope, just old-fashioned research.

  • INTJ

    @ Richard Aubrey

    Sounds like you have the infamous “INTJ deathstare”.

  • Jonathan

    I am frequently surprised at how much women will read into things.

    Richard Aubrey is correct about a frequent cause of crow’s feet. There are probably other causes as well.

    If you (female) are attracted to a guy with crow’s feet who reciprocates your interest, was it the crows’s feet? There is risk of confirmation bias here.

    To paraphrase a wise man, it’s easy to confuse intuition and into-wishing.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If you (female) are attracted to a guy with crow’s feet who reciprocates your interest, was it the crows’s feet? There is risk of confirmation bias here.

      Speaking only for myself, I think that crow’s feet are a proxy for EQ. It’s true that whether one has them depends on many factors, including one’s genetic propensity to wrinkle! However, I can recall that precise moment, which occurred while he was smiling. The crow’s feet made me think at the time that he was a person who was warm and emotionally sensitive. That turned out to be true. Also, FTR, the interest was not reciprocated, at least not for another 10 months.

  • INTJ

    @ Ted D

    I remember you talking about annoying neighborhood kids. Thought this might amuse you: http://goodmenproject.com/families/i-almost-stole-from-kids-to-protect-my-son-and-my-manhood/

  • Oz

    ” Crows’feet come from squinting in the sun. Not only do you get wrinkles, you get pale lines in the tan skin. Nada whatsoever to do with personality, unless you stipulate the prospects don’t get outdoors much.”

    Yeah and they show up on white people really early, making them look 10 or more years older. Sorry, das not racisss, its just a fact.

    I’ll never forget this party I went to: from a distance and with her back to me the petite hostess with the blonde pony tail looked 20 something. Then she approached face forward and my god I was like “wow, this 43 year old has kept her body in damn good shape.

    Then her husband comes out, I thought he was literally only 22. I’m like, “ok, this cougar thing is for real. You go girl!”

    Turns out she was only 27 and he was 32.

    And yeah, you guessed it. She was white, he black.

  • J

    It would be interesting to know what the sibling distribution is among HUS readers.

    I’m an only child.

  • J

    BTW. Crows’feet come from squinting in the sun. Not only do you get wrinkles, you get pale lines in the tan skin. Nada whatsoever to do with personality, unless you stipulate the prospects don’t get outdoors much.

    Smiling and laughing also cause crow’s feet.

  • Oz

    ” I’ve dated too many rape victims to have illusions. ”

    That was my take also. The “eyes are the windows to the soul” thing is retro active bias confirmation, isn’t it?

  • Stickwick

    It turns out that when people smile with genuine engagement and warmth, the eye muscles are involved and the smile extends over the whole face. In contrast, a smile that is not genuine, but manufactured, does not engage the eye muscles and involves only the lower half of the face.

    Basic Instructions had a classic comic devoted to this topic, and offered tips on how to convincingly fake a smile.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Stickwick

      That comic is hilarious, thanks for introducing me to it! I’ve subscribed and can’t wait to start getting that in my inbox.

  • Oz

    That was my take also. The “eyes are the windows to the soul” thing is retro active bias confirmation, isn’t it?
    (I don’t know what happened in comment 91. I guess I copied and pasted the wrong qoute).

    “To paraphrase a wise man, it’s easy to confuse intuition and into-wishing.”

    That was my take also. The “eyes are the windows to the soul” thing is retro active bias confirmation, isn’t it?

  • JP

    “I’ll never forget this party I went to: from a distance and with her back to me the petite hostess with the blonde pony tail looked 20 something. Then she approached face forward and my god I was like “wow, this 43 year old has kept her body in damn good shape.”

    Too much sun or tanning will certainly turn a white person’s face to leather.

  • INTJ

    @ Susan

    Btw, I know you’ve referenced this study before, but I think when you write a post on Girl Game, the Ask-Men survey is very good material: http://uk.askmen.com/specials/great_male_survey/dating.html

  • Robber

    I’m always a bit at sea when I read about what the eyes signify. I’m moderately Aspergers and have always found eye contact uncomfortable. Being the eldest of 3 boys growing up in a male dominated home (mum the only female) with a male dominated education and profession my prospects of reading a woman’s eyes have always been limited.

    Interesting the thing on eye colour. My eyes are heterochromatic mostly dark green with elements of light brown. In bright light they look khaki. My son on the other hand has stunning deep blue eyes. His mum had green eyes so I guess he got the benefit of some recessive genes.

  • Kiersti

    I grew up with 3 older sisters, all of whom were at least 8 years older than me, normally out of the house. I also have a little brother now who is 11 years younger than me. Least to say, When I even think of approaching a male to ask for his Facebook, I get all woozy and feel as If im being attacked by an air raid. Men make me offly uncomfortable, yet I found it very easy to make eye contact with a guy who made eye contact with me for about 10 minutes straight. Is it possible he didn’t like me, He was just curious as to if I were interested in the conversation?

  • judy

    I was raised to show respect by giving eye contact but my co worker cant stand it. CANT STAND IT AT ALL. I think hes intimidated by me idk though.im not going to train myself to stare at the ground when hes talki.g to me. Is there a happy medium?