Stepping out of her Lancer, my friend and I may as well have been stepping out of the Batmobile. She was, of course, the mysterious hero in sleek black with red lipstick and I must have been the colorful sidekick in my magenta pleats and coordinating black and platinum accents. “Goal of the night?” I asked as I checked my hair. She replied with, “Epic niiiight!” Looking back, I see that this was the very attitude that made our Friday a success.
We strutted the three or four blocks to Hemingway’s with very few expectations. This is possibly because up until this point of the night, our adventure had been distinctly flawed. With a stop at the Roosevelt Hotel due to some misinformation, a traffic jam on Hollywood Boulevard where we were harassed by a passing bicycle gang, and an apparently disoriented man in the parking lot who was oblivious to the fact that he had wet himself, there was no telling how the night would end up.
Luckily we weren’t fazed. As we walked, we unwittingly set ourselves up for success. We talked about how someone was probably going to offer us their extra tickets to the Dead Mouse show that was just down the road. We observed our fans on the opposite side of the street cheering for us and trying to get us to walk the red carpet for whatever premier was happening over there. We ignored the random shouts from passing cars and creepers on the street. Finally we arrived at our destination to find a group outside waiting to get in, but after a brief chat with the door girl, we were in. For as long as it took us to get there, it was surprisingly easy to get in.
Body Language tricks for making a good impression at the door:
1. Smile– when you smile, it automatically makes those who see you want to smile too. If you think of something that actually makes you happy, then your smile will be genuine and the effect is amplified. The more they smile in return, the better mood they will be in, if only for a minute.
2. Open your body– similar to the smile trick, when you open up your arms, whoever you are talking to will feel more relaxed. If they mirror you and open up their arms too, then they will be more receptive to what you are saying. Crossing arms puts up defenses and therefore closes out other people.One study noted differences between a group of students told to cross their arms across their chest during a lecture and a group told to sit with their arms open at their sides. The group with open arms not only retained more information from the lecture, they also had more favorable opinions of the professor.
3. Touch– If it is loud, lean in and touch the door person on the arm as you listen to what’s being said. Light touches on the arms or hands are not usually viewed as intrusive and are sometimes not noticed, but they have the effect of making you seem more likeable.
3. Relate– Nod head in understanding to whatever is being said
For the record, the bar is just as cool as it’s touted to be. Old books were stacked and shelved on every wall and pillar, Seating looked like it had come from a professor’s study, the lighting was extremely dim, and the clientele looked as if they might actually read some of the decor. The DJ helped the intimacy of things too because you had to be about two inches away from whomever you were talking to in order to hear anything he was saying. Though our observation and body language skills were certainly used earlier, this is where it really mattered. Two girls at a bar shouldn’t be buying their own drinks, talking by themselves or dancing alone if they don’t want to. And we weren’t for long.
Here are guidelines for women to use when first entering a bar:
- Smile– this makes you look approachable, pretty, and interesting.
- Strut-Walk to your destination with a purpose. Do not look lost. Shoulders back, hips slightly lead, stride narrow.
- Order your own first drink– this should be the last one you buy, but this way you don’t look like you’re fishing for drinks. You could order anything- water and lime, mojito, soda, beer. It’s important because it gives you a destination when you first enter the bar and a chance to meet people while you order. Drink this one slowly and use it as a prop so you don’t look awkward sitting or standing around.
- Talk to the guy who talks to you– whether you’re interested in the first guy who talks to you or not, talk to him. Have open body language by turning your hips to face both your friends and him. Uncross your arms and legs. remove any barrier between you. Smile and laugh. You don’t want to look like the cold, hard women who are too good to talk to people. It’s fun to meet new people and it gives you insight to the people who surround you. You can always end the conversation by ordering your drinks.
- Find a good place to chat– sit or stand with your friend and maintain open body language. Have a good view of the place and be separate from the bulk of the crowd.
- Find a target– You can’t achieve your goal if you don’t know what it is. Find a guy you think is attractive and interesting. If he’s with friends or (dread) already talking to someone, read his body language to see if he’s enjoying himself or looking for an out. Open body language, genuine smiles, and hips square to subject are signs he’s happy where he is. Hips don’t lie, people. Wherever they’re pointing is where he wants to be. If he’s vulnerable to leave, go to next step. If not, look somewhere else.
- Make eye contact– Hold his gaze for 3-4 seconds, smile a bit, then look away. Repeat two more times. Guys take longer to pick up signals than we do.
- Engage him- When he comes over, shake his hand, look in his eyes and smile as you introduce yourself. Lean in close and touch his arm with your other hand when you listen to him. After that, when you are talking, nod your head in response to positive things he says, keep arms uncrossed and palms facing upward, hold drink and purse so that it doesn’t come between you, and keep eye contact for a few seconds
We chatted a minute before we decided it was time to hit the dance floor where I nearly ran right into the guy who held my attention the rest of the night. We introduced ourselves and our friends, and we got right on to talking and dancing. He twirled me all over that dance floor with an occasional dip or lift to make things interesting. Obviously, he was used to dancing to the mash-ups and techno-ed pop music that was playing. Soon enough, he asked what I was drinking and we walked over to the bar. Aside from the facts that he was sticking to my side like glue and that he was at the bar buying my next drink, there were some scientifically helpful signs that he was pretty interested in me. When he held my hand he linked his fingers with mine, when we talked or danced his eyes didn’t wander, his pupils were dilated, and he held my face with at least one hand every time he kissed me.
He was super charming for most of the night, but by the end he became rather possessive, and this is where that all-powerful ability to pick up and pay attention to detail comes into play. Despite liking this attractive Australian (I mean, come on, how can you not?), I stayed objective and read the signs, or as my friend called them “red flags” and “vibes.”
Signs of manipulation – repetition of words or phrases (in my case, “come home with me”), repetition of hand gestures or movements, stories that are too good to be true (a Harvard grad from Australia who works in finance at Disney? Possibly true, but definitely suspicious.), unusually cool demeanor, conspicuous charm. Everyone tries to be charming when they’re hitting on girls, but some guys are just too good at it, and we should be aware of what is going on.
He was relentless in trying to get my friend and I to come over afterwards. “Do you trust me?” he asked accusingly. I answered, “What are you talking about? Of course not. I just met you. Do you trust me?” He said he did, absolutely, as he slightly raised one shoulder, which is where I caught him in his lie. “No you don’t.” He tried to protest, but I just led him back to the dance floor and tried to keep the conversation on my terms. He wasn’t having it, and feigning anger (real anger signs weren’t there) at my distrust, he stormed away. It was clear that his theatrics were an attempt to manipulate me, so I found my friend and after a successful night out we decided it was time to leave. She said bye to her truly genuine and nice new romantic interest, and I left without a word to mine.
Later, our judgement proved even more correct after I got a barrage of text messages from my guy using every trick in the book trying to get me to come back or meet him. He tried using flattery, anger, innocence, disbelief, and bribery to persuade me. Obviously, he had no idea I double as a super sleuth. His tactics were pathetically transparent. After me ignoring him awhile, he got the picture. The next morning I got an apology. Then I deleted his phone number and all the texts.
Women have such a huge advantage over men for stuff like this, it’s not even funny. We have 14-16 areas of our brain that are involved in processing and connecting details to men’s 4-6 areas. That means as a whole, women notice the detailed social cues and clues more naturally than men. When people say that women are more intuitive than men, this is what they mean. Even the subtleties that subconsciously fly under the radar are used in piecing together information. When my friend said she got a good “vibe” from the guy she was talking to, she probably unwittingly picked up on his face, honest eye contact, and open posture. She probably noticed that the tone, frequency, and words he used in his speech were those that honest people typically use. She likely picked up that his stories fit with his demeanor and that they didn’t contradict other things he was telling or showing her. While women may not know the scientific reasons they feel a certain way about someone, they have a better chance of detecting messages that people send in their looks, mannerisms, and speech than men do. The trick to reading people is being able to have faith in and paying attention to the information received. Once you have a handle on this and on managing your own body language, you will feel confident wherever you are, and you will be able to better control your surroundings.