The Dog Days of December – a Holiday Fantasy

dog days blog pix

I blame the 10 days I spent taking care of my grand-dog. Somehow during that time of bonding I began to imitate animal behavior.

Let’s have some roasted sweet dumpling squash with red onion and pumpkin seeds , a doggie favorite, while I explain.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Leslie and I went to a museum holiday shopping fair. As we walked by the Phillips Gallery display, I spotted an attractive man at the next booth; I immediately sank to the floor and stared at him. Leslie, who had been trying to drag me to the hot chocolate table in the next aisle, saw me go down and stopped.   “Are you okay?” she asked, “Did you slip?”

In that moment I couldn’t answer. I knew I wanted that man and sitting waiting for him to notice me and come over seemed like the natural thing to do. Leslie reached down, and grabbed my arm. “Let me help you up,” she said.

I resisted, my eyes never leaving the object of my desire. I decided to call him Mr. H for hot.

“Did you sprain your ankle,” she asked. Then, in a flurry of Wonder Woman transference, she lifted me to a standing position. “Lean on me if your ankle hurts,” she said.

At this point, Mr. H who had been engrossed in a National Gallery of Art bin of prints noticed me. My gaze did not waver.

Meanwhile Leslie realized I was able to put weight on both feet and started to pull my arm. “Come on Nadia, I really need a shot of hot chocolate right now. It’s my favorite holiday indulgence.”

I pulled in the other direction – toward Mr. H. Leslie, as strong as she was, was no match for my swimming-trained arms.

I walked right up to Mr. H and started nosing around his cute denim- covered butt. Suddenly, a woman came up to Mr. H. “Max, look what I ….” She stopped and saw me sniffing around. “What the….” I swear she growled at me. She pulled at Mr. H/Max. “Let’s get away from this crazy person,” she practically screamed. Mr. H/Max looked at me longingly but followed the woman.

Leslie shook her head at me. “What did you put in your coffee this morning?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I said, “I don’t know what came over me but I couldn’t seem to stop myself from acting that way. Am I going crazy?”

“Hopefully not- maybe it’s your way of reacting to the political and societal madness of 2017. It seems like any behavior goes these days. Let’s go get that hot chocolate.”

We headed toward the wonderful aroma of cocoa only to see a man crouching on the floor looking right at me. I couldn’t help myself. He was even finer than Mr. H. I sprinted to him and we ran in a circle chasing each other. It was clear we liked each other and were not afraid to show it – so unlike humans!

What’s the moral of this fantasy? There’s a lot that dating humans can learn from animals. You might have to tweak some animal behaviors to make them suitable for human interaction (and to avoid arrest):

*Don’t forget the power of eye contact. Looking at someone signals interest and attraction. Put away that phone.

*Approach the object of your fancy and smile (sorry-sniffing only allowed in fantasy mode)

*Be active with your partner. It’s a great way to bond. Chase that tennis ball or go for a walk in the woods.

*If you’re lucky enough to be partnered, give your SO a great dog-worthy greeting. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of greeting a woman gives the man she thought was lost at sea.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Do You Speak Body Language?

blog post body language

Why can’t people come with subtitles that decipher their body language?

These translations could be on an LED light display fixed to a hat or headband. It would be so nice to have a shortcut to the meaning of subtle and not so subtle cues that people exhibit.

But, there’s still a lot we can figure out on our own without a magic chyron. Help yourself to some Japanese vegetable pancakes while we talk about this issue.

I’ve contemplated the importance of body language many times over the years and it’s a useful tool for the dating life. To help my own natural powers of observation, I took a couple of online courses and did some reading on this topic.

There’s a lot of research on body language and what it means. From my reading and online classes, I’ve learned not only about various forms of eye contact such as “deep gazing” but also about the importance of such body language behaviors as smiling (a no-brainer for me), microexpressions – brief facial expressions that reveal emotions, leaning toward someone you like, and mirroring where you imitate someone as a means of communication and approval.

I have added to this knowledge base with real life experiences of body language fails.

Body Language Fails from my Dating Files 

Not Seeing Eye to Eye

One of my more frustrating encounters involved a date with a man who wouldn’t look me in the eye. It was an early fall afternoon — warm enough to sit on an outside lounge sofa (think poolside couch in Miami). Feeling bold, I sat on the couch next to Mr. A and we began to chat. However, instead of turning toward me and holding my gaze, he looked straight ahead while talking. I was having none of that. Eye contact is critical for me. “I need to see your eyes when we talk,” I said and orchestrated our positions so we were opposite each other. I made some clichéd comment about the eyes being the window to your soul but that didn’t help very much.

We continued what turned into an interesting and far ranging conversation. However, although most people hold eye contact between 60 and 70 percent of the time, Mr. A was more in the 10 to 15 percent range. I couldn’t figure out his behavior. He was U.S. born so I didn’t think it was culturally based. He seemed to like me and went in for the goodbye kiss.

After the date, I reviewed our interaction. I did a little Googling and asked some friends and came up with lots of theories explaining Mr. A’s lack of eye contact – everything from being shy, to lying about his marital status to having Asperger’s syndrome. I’ll never know the reason. There was no second date (though he tried at one point to schedule one). But Mr. A’s failed gazing behavior was too big of a deal breaker for me.

An Imperfect Kiss 

Beyond the issue of whether someone is a good kisser, is the message via body language that the kiss sends to you. For example, I went out a couple of times with a man who kissed with his lips only. Okay, you’re thinking well, of course he kissed with his lips. But when a man kisses you and doesn’t put his whole body into it, he’s holding back on emotion for whatever reason. Even when those lips know what to do, if they are isolated from his body, there’s a weird disconnect that says, “I’m not really that into you.”

What you want is a whole body kisser! (Unintentional pun.)

Too Many to Count

And then there was the man who placed his cell phone next to his happy hour glass, crossed his arms, and proceeded to go into overdrive about his incredibly boring job and medical/surgical history. I kid you not. The sad part is he was a good looking, tall, and well-built man. But that couldn’t compensate for his poor body language and pathetic conversation style. My body language said escape with my feet pointing toward the door and escape I did after about 35 minutes.

Self-Awareness

One side benefit of being aware of someone else’s body language is the increased awareness of the signals you are sending out. Pay attention to your body and what it’s doing. It can sometimes provide clues about what you’re feeling before you’re fully aware of the emotion.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201412/the-secrets-eye-contact-revealed

http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/02/science-love-2/

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201112/body-language-vs-micro-expressions

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/learning-the-look-of-love-that-sly-come-hither-stare/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/150983-6-ways-to-tell-if-someone-is-into-you-according-to-science

http://www.signature-reads.com/2017/05/vanessa-van-edwards-how-to-interpret-micro-expressions/

http://www.improveyoursocialskills.com/body-language/comfort-field-guide

http://psychologia.co/mirroring-body-language/