It’s common knowledge that the contents of all those women’s magazines found in the checkout aisle of your local supermarket offering “sage” wisdom about the dating world and the behavioral patterns of the opposite sex range from “slightly embellishing,” to “downright full of shit,” on the truthfulness meter. Hey, I can sympathize; it’s fun to poke fun at the opposite sex in a lighthearted nature, make one’s own gender seem like the victim to evoke sympathy, and most importantly there are issues to sell, so what’s better than stretching the truth a tad to sell a few more?
But there comes a time when even a light-hearted article become so asinine and poorly worded that it needs to be called out on its bullshit. And fast. This is one of those times. Behold as we refute the tenets of the Marie Claire article, “Decoding His Body Language.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. Now if you don’t arch an eyebrow or stand up straighter I’m going to slap the shit out of you.”
1. When a guy first sees you, if he doesn’t react like this, then you’re doing something wrong:
Taken from: Seeing Him For the First Time
The first thing to understand about picking up male signals is that guys, above all else, are obvious. So if you see him for the first time and he looks at you, raises an eyebrow, stands up straight, smiles, and opens his posture to face you — guess what? You or someone behind you has his attention. If he begins to preen when you notice him, he is officially letting you (or the woman behind you) know.”
Body language. The reason we’re here right now checking Facebook statuses while at work or looking at pictures of (insert latest internet meme here) is because our ancestors could interpret it well. Sadly, I’m not so sure the same can be said for the author of this article. I’m willing to overlook the fact that the writer thinks that when a guy notices a good looking girl he’s going to morph abruptly into Jim Carrey or some Tex Avery caricature complete with eyebrows awaggling and torso and limbs and pelvic regions contorting uncontrollably all over the place. Apparently in the author’s bizzaro dimension, qualities such as shyness or subtlety don’t exist; men are just hapless Neanderthals grunting and beating their chests at the first sign of prospective mates. Fine, this might not actually be all that inaccurate a description of some of the primates seen every weekend at your local watering hole.
The problem comes when the author throws a curveball and uses the word “preen,” in the very next sentence. I’m not sure in who or what’s esoteric lexicon the word “preen,” is used in relation to getting girls, but it’s not one myself or anyone I’ve ever known is privy to. For fuck’s sake, preening? Is this a magazine made for some race of strange bird-human hybrids that I don’t even know about? Inexplicable pheasant hominoids with extravagant eye spotted tails? Never once in my life have I ever thought to myself, “Dimepiece at seven o’clock, time to fire up the ol’ preening routine,” nor have I ever heard a male member of the human race proclaim that he could have landed that hot chick if only he had “just fucking preened a little better,” in retrospect.
Ladies, if a guy notices you in a bar, you’ll catch on pretty fast. The author and I can agree on this much. However, if at any time you notice a dude waggling his eyebrows, leaping quickly from a relaxed position to one rigid as a flagpole, or smoothing his feathers with an avian-like beak in a sort of bizarre mating ritual to grab your attention, then he is either overdosing on cocaine, an anthropomorphic bird creature, or possibly both. Or he’s this guy:
“What do you mean you couldn’t tell if I was into you or not, babe? Did I not waggle my eyebrows enough?”
Pray that it’s the woman behind you’s attention he’s trying to grab at this point.
2. Ignore death threats and discussions that signify criminal or possibly mentally deranged behavior. His body language says he’s only flirting!
Taken from: Is He Flirting with Me?
On a date, understand that men don’t listen to, touch, or look into the eyes of women they are not interested in. If he is engaged in conversation, preens, looks into your eyes occasionally, touches you on the arm (good) or on the small of your back (better) and is relaxed while doing it, then guess what? Ignore everything he says, and recognize that he’s flirting with you (even if he says he’s not).”
At this point the whole preening thing can only be some kind of sick inside joke at the Marie Claire office. Maybe a bet where each columnist tried to see how many times they could include “preen,” in a piece of writing without being fired or taken out back and beaten within an inch of their life with an old typewriter. (We swear that’s not what’s going on in our article.)
Consider this scenario based on the Marie Claire article’s train of logic: Man walks into a bar. Buys several drinks. Approaches woman, first preening himself meticulously. When he draws close, he trails his fingertips along the small of her back, tilts his chin to gaze intently with his blue green eyes, each glinting with earnest enthusiasm, into her own. All the telltale signs of flirting are there. Surely he’s going to lay some sweet, romantic flattery on this babe. Wrong. Instead he spews forth this litany of filth: “Bitch, I just got done preening the motherfuck out of myself even though I hate your ugly ass. Ready to get raped?” Consult your Marie Claire’s article and realize that anything he’s saying right now is just an elaborate ruse. He’s just flirting with you, even though he says he’s not. Girl, you got him right where you want him. Keep going along with it!
“Look at that guy over there, Beverly. He has all the makings of a stud yet he approached us without having properly preened himself. That poor, pathetic asshole.”
3. Inexplicably compare yourself to some baffling proto-relationship
Taken from: Are We Just Friends?
“Men tend to treat women they are friends with more like sisters than potential dates. If you’re not sure where you stand, ask yourself if he treats you like his “girlfriend” from third grade. Sure, you may hug. He may be polite and chivalrous. If, however, he does not hesitate to look at other women, and adjusts his body language for them but not for you, then he’s telling you that you’re not date-worthy. He may love you as a friend, but he probably doesn’t see you as a lover if he’s willing to look for one in your company.”
So are you assuming that I treated my “girlfriend” from third grade like a derelict piece of trash or some ephemeral sister figure, huh? Well what if I were to say you’re wrong and I considered my third grade girlfriend as the “one who got away?” Someone I damn near deified and upon whom I lavished countless gifts and adulation like some precocious Lothario? (I loved you Michelle Pfeiffer! Where did we go wrong?) I mean, that would be fucked up beyond belief, but still, you’d have to at least ask me how I actually treated my third grade girlfriend or you’d be making a pretty ignorant and presumptuous decision about my current behavior, right?
Let’s just say for brevity’s sake that we’re on a nice relaxing date now and you notice some of my behavior and body language conform to the warning signs found in this Marie Claire article. You ask me whether or not I treat you like my “girlfriend from third grade,” in a not so surreptitious attempt to find out how much I like you. I proceed to walk directly into the restaurant bathroom and Houdini my way out of the nearest window. If we are enroute to said date then I am leaping head first out the driver’s side window of my own fucking car.
It’s elusive doublespeak like this which the dating advice magazines masquerade as “conducive to exploring one’s feelings,” that in reality make communication between the two sexes even more baffling. Shit needs to stop. You don’t need to compare yourself to my “third grade girlfriend.” If I like you and the sound of your voice hasn’t already become the equivalent of some nagging harpy’s every time you open your mouth, then we’ll continue hanging out in a romantic fashion. Unless you follow the advice of this Marie Claire article, that is.
“You wouldn’t treat me like you did your third grade girlfriend, would you?”
“Of course not toots. That was a whole year ago. I’m all about livin’ in the now.”
4. Marie Claire assumes its readers have no concept of human affection
Taken from: During and After Sex
“During and after sex, you can discern if a guy is interested in you by how attentive he is; he may not be experienced, but if he’s interested he’ll make an effort. Men don’t engage in foreplay, touch, or maintain eye contact during sex with women they’re not attracted to. If your man can look into your eyes in the heat of the moment and listens to your body, then clearly he’s into you. If, however, he looks away when you look at him, doesn’t want to touch you afterward, or pulls away when you do, then don’t expect much from him in the future.”
After reading this, I’m not entirely sure what Marie Claire‘s target audience is anymore. Is it for people that have been confined to microbiologically sterile bubbles for the entirety of their lives or individuals being gradually integrated into human society after being found reared in a cave by a pack of wolves or women recently eschewing the vows of nunhood? If so, this is great advice and I laud them for their excellent writing.
Possible next line in article: “If your man pushes you away after sex, looks to be on the verge of vomiting, spits on your face and nether regions and utters, ‘I can’t believe I stuck my penis inside of you,’ he might not be that fond of you. Ask him if he treated his girlfriend from third grade in a similar fashion.”
“He told me that next time he’d rather slide his dick between two pieces of sandpaper, threw a bunch of spare change at me and said ‘This should cover your cab ride home. Which I already called thirty minutes ago. You go bye now.’ He’s so coy! I wonder what Marie Claire’s has to say about this?”
5. Divert your man’s attention by taking him on a nice walk to prevent him from making his own decisions
Taken from: Having “The Talk”
“When you feel the need to ask your partner “Where are we going?” check to make sure his body language shows that he is open to the conversation. Looking down or away, with crossed arms and legs or a tight jaw, is a clear indicator that he is not open to talking. His mouth may say “yes” to discussing this, but if his body says “no,” then try changing direction by asking him to go for a walk (so he uncrosses his legs), holding his hand (so his arms aren’t crossed), or leading him somewhere else, where you can sit and talk. Body language creates and builds positive or negative momentum. Then again, don’t force a discussion if he’s clearly not open to it.”
Take your man on a nice, brisk nature walk. The release of endorphins will ensure he’ll be in a much better mood when you want to maximize your chances of forcing him into a relationship. Or you could… you know, do what girls really do… and just ask while giving him head.
6. Make one wrong move during your proposal and it could be all for nothing
Taken from: Proposing
“During one of the most vulnerable moments of his life, the body language of your partner can give you insight into where he is coming from. If he looks into your eyes when he speaks, his chest sticks out, voice doesn’t crack, he holds you firmly — and can do all of this while relaxed on one knee, then he’s embracing the moment and clearly knows that he wants you (which is a good sign, obviously). Conversely, a slouched posture coupled with twitching, fidgeting, and/or needy embraces says that he is either not sure, afraid of being rejected, or desperate to have you in his life (not such a great sign, obviously).”
Good God. I pray that I don’t get a pesky back itch or a creak in my neck when proposing to my future betrothed. According to the author these erratic movements might be misconstrued as “twitching or fidgeting,” which are “not such great signs.” I’m just down on one knee proposing, wearing my heart on my sleeve, and thanks to this author all you can do is scrutinize my every mannerism like an anthropologist studying the rituals of some elusive and undocumented indigenous tribe. Maybe that high divorce rate in America should be blamed solely on Marie Claire.
“You blinked the wrong way. The wedding is OFF!”
Russ read this article in hopes of improving his body language around women, but gave up any and all hope when he injured himself in a horrible preening accident. Preen preen. How many was that, assholes?