Flirtation in the Discotheque – Body Language Tells4 Flares 4 Flares ×
This 15-minute segment was aired on the UK’s Channel 4 – Body Talk “Sex” show, and is a good starting point for familiarizing yourself with the “tells” or body language of the nightclub, or discotheque — these body language “tells” are what makes flirting possible (and fun).
In these romantically charged environments, it pays to be able to tell when an attractive stranger is (dis)interested in you.
Here’s a quick guide based on my viewing:
- Hair / head flipping: “Hello, boys.”
- Eye contact lock-on: “I want that one.” (see 5:05)
- Eye contact + smile: “Come on over.” (5:23)
- Leaning in and getting no love: “Go away.” (5:44)
- Shoulder shrug + wink: “Digging you.” (7:00) Plus, good example of jealous female friend.
- Neck exposure + face touching + hair preening: (7:30) “Like me, like me, like me!”
- Bum pat: “Don’t forget me while I’m gone.” (7:50.) Not a bad idea if you’re going to the bar to freshen your drink. Oh, and be sure you offer to get drinks for others while you’re there, that’s the true Fierce Gentleman.
- Crossed legs / feet: “I’m not going anywhere.” (8:15).
- Lip touching: “Like me!” The body language expert narrating doesn’t mention this, but lip touching is generally a flirtatious signal, and it certainly is in this case.
- Feet pointing away: “She’s just not that into you.” (10:35)
- Joining a conversation in progress + hugging behavior. (11:40) Notice how the more attractive woman modulates the effect of a more attractive man entering the group with the body language of the hug.
- Chin tuck: “I’m feeling defensive or threatened.” (13:15)
- Drinks held high: (throughout) “I’m feeling slightly defensive.” (The drink is a shield.) This is a default for most people. Watch out for people who hold their drinks loosely at their sides, below the belt; they are usually more confident than everyone else there.
The post-night interviews are fun, and give us a chance to see how much of this behavior is unconscious. A huge amount of flirtatious behavior just slides under the rug as “being nice.” (Also note how disappointed Sarah is when she says “No (he didn’t flirt with me.)”
The segment ends with a good question: if women are always “being nice” to men, how are men to tell legitimate interest from harmless, casual flirtation?
For more body language brilliance, see Amy Cuddy on how “Power Postures” can boost testosterone, and this article on open vs. closed, go-away vs. come-here, fixing your own body language, and lie detecting.