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8 Jan

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Mating Sign Language

8 Jan

Men, I’m about to clue you in on a little secret about women: we have a secret sign language that allows us to communicate with one another – right in front of you. This “mating sign language” (MSL) is something commonly used. Let me make it clear that we don’t all use the same signs. This isn’t like American Sign Language where you can learn the signs and then speak with anyone else that knows it. MSL is constantly evolving and redefined by each group of women that uses it.

Let me give you an example. Last year, I went to a huge party (which was somewhat in my honor, but that’s another story). Muffy and I were in the car on the way to the party, and we had this conversation:

  • Me: I’m so excited to go out and meet some hot new men tonight!
  • Muffy: Me too! It should be a blast, or else it’ll be Loser Fest 2008.
  • Me: Ach, you’re right. It might end up being 300 girls and 8 guys.
  • Muffy: What’s our sign going to be if we meet someone and want to talk to him alone?
  • Me: How about we rub our right elbow if we want some alone time? That will mean, “If you don’t go away, I will elbow you in the gut!”
  • Muffy: Perfect! And if you want me to save you, just rub your left wrist. That will mean, “This conversation makes me want to slit my wrists.”
  • Me: Agreed!

No more, “Don’t you need to get another drink by yourself,” or, “isn’t that your friend ringing?” The simple agreed upon sign is enough to notify your friend that she best be on her merry way before she ruins everything. It’s much more subtle to rub your wrist, which could mean anything, than be caught rolling your eyes at someone that’s trying to unsuccessfully flirt with you. The established MSL also ensures that your friends are reading your signs correctly, and that you don’t have to play charades to try to get them to leave you alone with the hotty that you want to take home with you.

Assuming that your friends are reading your signs without agreeing on them ahead of time can be a fatal mistake. When I go out with Claude (who is gay and is therefore automatically included in discussions of MSL), I might play with my necklace to signify that if he doesn’t come and help me, I will strangle myself with my own jewelry.

One night when he went out with another girlfriend of his, he saw her fiddling with her necklace. Assuming that she was on the verge of hurting herself to end what was a torturous conversation, he immediately ran over and dragged her away. She was livid as she had been having a wonderful time with a potential mate. When he explained that he had seen the “save me or I’ll strangle myself” sign, she tore into him as that wasn’t what she meant at all. Rather than saving her from one of the world’s biggest losers, he ended up cock blocking her. Agreeing upon MSL before going out is critical as we may use different signs with different friends.

Unfortunately, gentlemen, I can’t tell you what all the signs mean as we make them up as we go. What I can tell you, is that the next time that you see that girl you’re talking to rub her wrist/elbow/neck, tug at her earring, or put her hair in a ponytail she could be signaling her friend to get lost. Then again, she might be telling you to get lost…