I received a call from the owner of a local Philadelphia Boutique, Never Too Spoiled, asking me If I would be willing to give a talk on body language, dating, and romance. In preparation, I googled “dating advice body language”; this was the first thing that came up:
“Body Language Do’s and Don’ts- eHarmony Advice”
Written by Rori Raye
I clicked the link hoping for some pearls of wisdom about avoiding “stalker stare.”
I was not prepared for the gold mine of Stepford Wives that I uncovered.
Note about the author: I had the fortune of finding a beautiful, tenacious, woman who is not afraid to “lean in”, let her voice be heard, confront street harassers, challenge me to grow(up), and can go toe to toe with anyone, man or woman in a ring. I love her, and when we first met, she pursued me. It was her strength and her ferocity that brought us together. Any guide telling someone that they should stop being themselves, appear “weaker” or “less capable” in order to attract a mate, is dangerous. Much of the “dating advice” I have uncovered that is geared towards women advises them to stop being who they are, and to adopt some imaginary oppressive “ideal” in order to attract a mate. Love is about equity and equality, not about changing who you are to appease another’s insecurity. *Steps down off soapbox*
Rori”s Point #1: Women shouldn’t lean forward, it’s scary for men.
+Sheryl Sandberg, someone definitely did not read your book! The first piece of advice eHarmony/Rori gives to women, is to lean back. She goes further to suggest that a woman’s best first move is to ‘lean back to allow the man to lean in and take control.’
What do other body language experts say? Leaning in is most commonly recognized as a sign of engagement. Human beings lean in or lean away to signal rapport/interest or lack thereof. For the writer, acting too interested in the moment makes you a threat to the fragile male ego.
Most any man who feels insecure or attacked because you “leaned in,” is not a man who is ready to engage in an equal loving partnership.
Rori’s Point #2 Feeling threatened by your date?
Wave your hands about wildly.
“Have you ever caught yourself balling your hands into a tight fist when your speaking with a man?” As threat assessment expert, +Gavin de Becker, will attest, human beings have their own internal alarm systems. The main problem that we have, is when we ignore these warnings. Fist clenching is a natural body response to a perceived threat. It drives blood to our hands to prepare us for self defense. Perhaps you felt threatened or disrespected by your date. Maybe your gut sent you a “danger” signal. Your body was responding in kind. Trust your instincts.
And yet, how does Rori’s suggest you respond? Wave your hands around. You will “feel soft, feminine, and calmer.”
Using open body language on a first date (which experts say, is both friendly but firm) is often appropriate when you feel safe. However, if you notice that you’re balling your fists up around someone you barely know, chances are, there’s a reason why (E.G. discomfort, distrust, annoyance, he’s talking to you like a child, he is explaining how annoying it is when his mom makes him do his own laundry).
Rori’s Point #3 A woman’s role is to pacify men.
Seriously? Yes. “But, why not, Rori?”
Let’s just run this one by the numbers.
1. Apparently women are on this earth to pacify men.
2. Men only love women when they are “soft.”
3. A random stranger’s needs come before your own.
4. Do women even have jobs in this strange misogynistic world ? If so, it couldn’t be as stressful as a man’s!
… +eHarmony, why do you sound like a 1950’s Van Heusen commercial?
If you’re looking for some quality body language advice, I highly recommend +Vanessa Van Edwards. She’s living in the 21st century.
About the author: Zach Stone is the Chief Strategic Officer and a lead trainer/coach at Red Kite Project. He holds a degree in Counseling and Behavioral Health from Drexel University and certificates in crisis intervention, victim/offender conferencing, addiction studies, and human services. He specializes in human behaviors, communications, conflict management, and violence prevention. Zach Stone has spent the last decade as a mediator, facilitator, and corporate trainer and coach. He has presented lectures and workshops on a variety of topics to many organizations, including the International Coaching Federation, the Association for Conflict Resolution, and University of Pennsylvania. He is on staff at Drexel University in the Behavioral Health Counseling department.