The libertine's guide to gallantry: indicators of interest

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-She touches you during casual conversation: We gravitate toward, and want to touch, what we like. Children offer us an unfettered view of this impulse. When they see something that interests them, they grab it, cram it in their mouth, or see how well it fits in their nose. As adults we have the same compulsion to touch that which we find beautiful. Why do you think there are security guards and velvet ropes at art museums? If she likes you, she will want to touch you. One way to make this easier for her, is to lean over and say something in her ear beneath the bar noise. Ideally she will lean closer and put her hand on your elbow to hear you. If she keeps her arms folded, or moves back, you need to recalibrate your approach.

-She laughs at everything you say or comments on how funny you: Women always claim they want a man with a good sense of humor. While there are plenty of other things women also want, it is true that if you can make her laugh and smile, on some level she will like you. We are drawn to humorous people because laughing and smiling releases endorphins that make us feel good.

-She asks your name, your age, or anything about you beyond the context of your setting: As a general rule, I am rarely the first person to ask the name of a woman I am attracted to, if only to see if she will ask me. By asking about who you are beyond the particulars of your encounter, she demonstrates her interest to know more about you. Just make sure not to forget her name. Have her repeat it several times then use it immediately when talking with her to reinforce the name in your memory.

-She finds you to finish your conversation: Just as with comedians or musicians, you should always leave a woman wanting more. One way to test if a woman is interested in you is to stroll away before you finish a story. If she is intrigued by you, she will find a way to talk to you again.

-She repeatedly glances at you: Granted there are other reasons she could be looking at you, like you have toilet paper on your shoe or she is telling her friends about the asshole who would not shut up about his car, but these negative reactions should be pretty obvious from facial cues. Just make sure that she does not keep glancing at you because you are the creepster in the corner staring at her. If you do catch her eye more than once, smile, and walk straight over with some casual opener like, "You keep looking at me like you know me. Are you one of those random people who keeps trying to friend me on Facebook?"

-She stands near you: While you should be positioning yourself near women you like, and putting yourself in accessible spaces, if she goes out of her way to stand by you, this can be an IOI. Sure it could be the only open space, or the only place to sit down, but in the worst case scenario she is not threatened by you and your proximity is a great excuse for a casual conversation. Ideally, she consciously chose to stand by you, or she wandered toward you because you and your friends look like you are having a great time. If you ever spend some time watching primates on the nature channel, you see the exact same thing. A receptive female sits on a branch near the alpha male. Even though she may look disinterested, she is slyly soliciting a fling.

-She eavesdrops: If she laughs or comments on your conversation, that means she is interested in what you are saying and is searching for an invite into the conversation. If nothing else, she is focusing her attention on what you are saying as opposed to what her friends are talking about.

-When talking with, or looking at you, she whispers to her friend and they both giggle and smile: Do not be paranoid that they are making fun of you, which they may very well be. At the very least you have them laughing and smiling. More than likely they are saying how you look like someone else, or how you sound just like one of their exs. Whatever the case, this offers a chance for you to demonstrate your cool. Look into the eyes of the one you like, grin slyly, then take a slow gulp from your drink.

-She talks to you in any context—other than to ask if you want a drink or a private dance: In my younger years, the most I could do when it came to starting a conversation with random women was to ask them the time or for directions. This of course got me nowhere. Many women are not practiced at initiating conversations with random men as they are usually the ones being approached. Even if she says something trivial, keep the conversation going. As with the proximity, she may not consciously know why she asked you the time as opposed to the guy next to you, but assume it is because something about you caught her attention.

-She asks if you are in a relationship: Unless you are being extremely misogynistic and she can't believe anyone would ever date you, this is a clear IOI. If you are in a serious relationship, and assuming you are not in some remote setting where the particulars of your relationship will never come to light, the best answer is to say something jokingly like, "Of course I am. You think a guy like me would be single?" She will not walk away. More than likely she will not know if you are being serious or not, which will make her even more invested in trying to figure you out. Many women are also in relationships and just like to meet new people, swap a few IOIs, and be reminded that they are still attractive to the opposite sex. Others are open to relationships on the side. Telling a woman you are in a relationship will not scare here away. Most attractive women do not go out with the express purpose of meeting lovers. They just want to have fun. First and foremost you must be a person who offers them a fun experience.

-She mentions your girlfriend without knowing you have one, or describes you as a player: In either case, she is acknowledging that you are an appealing person, and she is hoping you will refute both claims. Always deny you are a player, which you aren't. You just like meeting people and you're a sucker for romance. If you are single, work this information into the conversation, but never in the negative. Never say you just got dumped or that you've been single forever. You just are not in a relationship now, and no matter what happened in the past, it was for the best.

-She avoids the topic of her boyfriend, fiance, or husband: Another man only matters in so much as he matters to her. If she wants to tell you she has a significant other, she will. Even if she does mention another guy, often times this is just a test to scare you away. Just because she has a boyfriend now doesn't mean she will tomorrow or the next time you see her, especially when she realizes guys like you are attracted to her.

-She disagrees while smiling or playfully punching your arm: Guys that are below her league will agree with everything she says. Guys are on her level will have the balls to disagree. Consider how you interact with your friends. You jokingly make fun of each other and call each other on your bullshit. Equals are not afraid to argue.

-She plays with her hair: This is a classic nervous tick that many women do when they are attracted to you. Other women do it intentionally. Whatever the biologic or behavioral basis, it is a clear sign she is intrigued.

-She mentions how much she likes, or wants to learn, something you talk about: She may stop you mid sentence to say how much she too loves drinking beers in the shower. Or, when you mention how you wakeboard, she says that she has always wanted to learn. When you like someone, your mind automatically searches for commonalities. Think about when you get dumped and you automatically think of all the things you did together, how everything reminds you of her, and how you will never find someone with so much in common. It is the same at the beginning of a relationship. You only see the good in a person and your mind automatically starts imagining your future with them filled with wakeboarding and drinking in the shower.

-She tells you she will be back, she tells you where she is going and blames her departure on her friends, or her friends walk away and she stays with you: If she was not interested in you, she would take the first excuse to leave, not search for a way to come back. If you do show up at the bar she heads to next, do not go right up to her like a love starved puppy. Be the happy puppy that everyone wants to play with. Make new connections while glancing back at her and grinning. Just don't wait too long to reinitiate conversation.

-She introduces you to her friends or buys you a drink: Unless she is buying you a drink to replace the one she spilled or introducing you to her friends as a way of pawning you off, these are both investments in your conversation, and ultimately in you.

Read these other entries from The Libertine's Guide to Gallantry:
-finding your type
-those who hesitate masturbate
-the science of instant connections
-fucking in the friend zone
-the unattractive delusion
-why penis size matters
-the group pick-up
-selective self control
-cougar hunting

Follow Alfie on Twitter or Facebook and email him if interested in writing about Sex & Love.

  • Elizabeth Banks giving off all the right signs in 40 Year Old Virgin

In a perfect world women would turn neon red when they like you or immediately give you a time and location to meet for sex. Unfortunately there's no one clear sign that a woman you meet at a party or a club is into you. Even if she says she wants to have sex with you, this could just be a way of testing to see how desperate you are, or a ploy to make her nearby ex jealous. Some natural ladykillers describe their ability to tell when a woman is interested as a kind of sixth sense. In reality they are simply practiced at recognizing a woman's indicators of interest (IOIs). By themselves, no one of these below signs is a dead giveaway that the woman you just met is interested in you. As a general rule, three IOIs is your cue to take things to the next level: get her number, move her to a more isolated place to talk, or see if she wants to dance. How much she likes you, or how much she is willing to give into her desires is another matter. In the end, developing romantic liaisons with strangers always carries some degree of risk, which is what makes it fun. As always, none of these rules apply to strippers or bartenders. In fact, to learn IOIs you could study what strippers and cocktail waitresses do to convince you they genuinely like you: they touch you, they ask about your life, they laugh at all your jokes, they give you nicknames...

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