"The reason of the unreason that afflicts my reason, in such
a manner weakens my reason that I with reason lament me of your
comeliness."--Miguel de Cervantes (Don Quixote;
Courtship. 1. A nonverbal sign exchanged in the process of courtship, flirtation, and seduction. 2. A nonverbal message designed to attract sexual partners. 3. In modified form (i.e., presented less seductively), a sign to help establish rapport.
Usage I: A great deal of our nonverbal communication bespeaks sexuality. Despite speech, courtship is best transacted in an unspoken medium, e.g., through lip-pouts, head-tilts, and shoulder-shrugs. (Saying "I love you," before showing love in gesture and deed, is apt to scare a partner away.)
Usage II: Loving feelings are powerful, yet intangible emotions housed in the mammalian brain. Love signals themselves, however--from a shy head-toss to a subtle display of toe cleavage--are tangible cues which can be seen and identified. Love is an intangible, but courtship runs on physical mood signs.
Usage III: Love signals are messages about physical proximity and psychological
closeness. We trade gestures to tell each other (apart from words) to come
nearer and nearer until we touch (see TOUCH
CUE). Facial nuzzles, kissing with the lips, and
caressing smooth, hairless terrains of skin with the fingertips (used
as tactile antennae; see FINGERTIP
CUE), are necessary if men and women are to achieve sexual
Blindness. "'You're just like most guys, but you look for different things,' Erik [Weihenmayer, 33, the first blind climber to scale Mount Everest] says. 'Smooth skin, nice body, muscles--that stuff becomes more important.' And the voice becomes paramount. 'My wife has the most beautiful voice in the world,' Erik says" (Greenfeld 2001:60).
Courtship. In all cultures human beings attain the closeness of sexual intimacy through courtship, a slow negotiation based on nonverbal cues. All vertebrates from reptiles to primates reproduce through mating, i.e., via internal fertilization of the female's body. Through its five phases (see LOVE SIGNALS I, II, III, IV & V), courtship is the means by which individuals close the gap and become loving pairs.
Media. Social psychologist Timothy Perper and
anthropologist David Givens ". . . spent months in dimly lit lounges documenting
these flirtation rituals. Like the ear wiggles, nose flicks and back arches that
signal 'come hither' in rodents, the women smiled, gazed, swayed, giggled,
licked their lips, and aided and abetted by the wearing of high heels, they
swayed their backs, forcing their buttocks to tilt out and up and their chests
to thrust forward." --Psychology Today (Rodgers 1999)
RESEARCH REPORTS. 1. "Flirtation, courtship, and seduction are labels for an exaggeratedly affiliative and submissive-like social orientation [signaled chiefly by covert nonlinguistic cues] that may, in many instances, culminate in sexual intercourse" (Givens 1978:357). 2. "Two of the most detailed analyses of the courtship process come from Givens (1978) and Scheflen (1965, 1974). Givens's conclusions come from an examination of commonalities between humans and other species in the basic courtship sequence and signals" (Burgoon et al. 1989:325).
See also ARM-SHOW, ARPEGE, LOVE
Copyright 1998 - 2016 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)