Females apparently are the choosier sex in courtship contexts, but there still is limited information about female selection criteria in real courtship settings. Given that a female knows little about a heretofore unacquainted male, upon what dimensions can (and do) females base their initial courtship decisions? Here, we report findings from observational studies that investigated male nonverbal behavior in a bar context. Study 1 documented the body movements of males prior to making contact with a female. It was found that males who successfully made “contact” courtship initiation with females exhibited different body language in this precontact phase than did males who did not make contact with females, including significantly more glancing behaviors, space-maximization movements, intrasexual touching, and less closed-body movements. The findings from a second within-subject study comparing the behavior of men in a bar when women were present or not present supported the initial study’s findings and showed that males’ emphasis on these behaviors increases in a mate-relevant context. We suggest that certain aspects of male nonverbal behavior in courtship contexts can serve as self-presentation and mate-value signals.
Source: “Getting that female glance: Patterns and consequences of male nonverbal behavior in courtship contexts” from Evolution and Human Behavior, , , Pages 416-431 (November 2004)