could tell the wife wasn't happy with my terrorist attack training exercise. I
had just finished duct taping the front door when she got home with the groceries.|
Even before her arrival, I had some reservations about my plan. First of
all, I had taped myself outside. Secondly, I wondered if I taped it tight enough
to keep biological and chemical agents out, would I be able to breath for long?
Finally, it seemed like just rubber banding a plastic grocery bag over my head
would have the same effect without all the fuss. But, duct tape was involved,
and anything involving duct tape is great for men.
Though I had come
to my own conclusion that this was a bad idea, the wife never misses an opportunity
to point out I don't have a lick of sense. Especially if her arms are full of
groceries and I'm just standing there watching her bring them in. From some reason,
this brings out her meaner side.
But this time, she didn't say anything.
She set down the groceries, put one hand on her hip, cocked her head, and did
this thing with her eyebrows so that it looks like they're trying to burrow into
her skull. Without saying a word, she gave me one of the worst yelling ats I've
got me to thinking about nonverbal communication. I recalled reading that something
like 68% of all communication between humans is nonverbal. Of course, I just made
up that statistic, but I've developed a sneaky suspicion that all statistics,
excluding batting averages, are made up. So what the hey?
I did a little
research and there are some interesting theories out there. I figured if I could
learn to read nonverbal cues better, it would help me during high stakes, riverboat
poker games. Not that I've been in a lot of high stakes, river boat poker games,
but it is on my life "to-do" list, right after going to barber college, but before
perfecting a Swedish accent.
There's a great site on the Internet that's
chock full of this information, "The Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs and
Body Language Cues." I'm happy to report that I no longer sit around and grin
like an idiot. Turns out I just have a zygomatic smile, or a smile that reflects
true happiness and uses the whole face. Though I still giggle like an idiot, I
And how and where you have hair is a big cue. The
biologists say the male hairy head was a form of camouflage back when we were
saber-tooth bait. I'm not sure how that worked. Were bushes hairier back then?
Did a tiger think "Boy, I could really go for one of those tasty humans right
about now, but all I see is that really ugly bush skulking around."?
Today, how we wear our hair is a cue. According to these folks, for women, short
hair denotes confidence and outgoing personality, medium length means intelligence
and good nature, and long, straight hair projects sexuality and affluence. For
men, short, front-flip hairstyles are seen as confident, sexy, and self-centered;
medium-length, side-parted hair connotes intelligence, affluence, and a narrow
mind; long hair projects "all brawn and no brains," carelessness, and a good-natured
Do you realize what you could do with this startling information?
I have no idea. I can't even tell if my hair is sexily short or intelligently
medium length. And what if you don't sweat combing it? What does that say? I'm
hoping it means especially cool and a good dancer. Shoot, I'm still trying to
figure the hair is camouflage thing.
These folks also have a theory on
why guys wear baseball caps. It makes us feel like part of the team. Not just
the team on the hat, but the team of the entire guy population. Really.
This floors me. Now every time you're wearing a hat and walk into somewhere with
other guys around, you're saying "Hey guys, I'm a guy too. See, I have the hat.
I'm on the team. Hooray for our hat-wearing guy team! And what's the deal with
that bush over there wearing a hat? Oh, that's Fred. I really wish he would shave."
After getting distracted by all this hair and hat stuff, I finally got serious
about trying to find out what the wife was telling me nonverbally. First of all,
the blank face look, that look everyone has when they're walking down the street
in a big city, is a cue to not to approach. I had always read this look on the
wife as a signal to repeatedly poke her in the ribs and say "what's ya doing,
what's ya doing….." Whoops. No wonder I never get the response, her making me
some pudding, I wanted.
Then there's the crossing of the arms, which
always screamed to me "look, I'm practically daring you to use a wrestling move
to try and uncross my arms against my will." Turns out, this means you're closing
out the person the arm cross is directed at. Again, this means no pudding for
Finally, getting back to gesture that started me on this chase, the
hand on the hip, head tilted, eyebrow-borrowing look. The dictionary was very
specific on this one. What the wife was nonverbally communicating was "Stop standing
there zygomatically grinning like an idiot, untape the door, and help me carry
in the groceries. And you're so far away from pudding it's not even funny."