Disguised Armcross Gestures

Disguised arm-cross gestures are highly sophisticated gestures used by people who are continually exposed to others. This group includes politicians, sales people, television personalities and the like who do not want their audience to detect that they are unsure of themselves or nervous. Like all arm-cross gestures, one arm swings across in front of the body to grasp the other arm but instead of the arms folding, one hand touches a handbag, bracelet, watch, shirt cuff or other object on or near the other arm (Figure 76). Once again the barrier is formed and the secure feeling is achieved. When cufflinks were popular, men were often seen adjusting them as they crossed a room or dance floor where they were in full view of others. As cufflinks lost their popularity, a man would adjust the band on his watch, check the contents of his wallet, clasp or rub his hands together, play with a button on his cuff or use any other gesture that would allow the arms to cross in front of the body. To the trained observer, however, these gestures are a dead giveaway because they achieve no real purpose except as an attempt to disguise nervousness. A good place to observe these gestures is anywhere that people walk past a group of onlookers, such as a young man who crosses the dance floor to ask an attractive young lady to dance with him or someone crossing an open room to receive a trophy.

Women are less obvious than men in their use of disguised arm barrier gestures because they can grasp such things as handbags or purses when they become unsure of themselves (Figure 77). One of the most common versions of this is holding a glass of beer or wine with two hands. Did it ever occur to you that you need only one hand to hold a glass of wine? The use of two hands allows the nervous person to form an almost undetectable arm barrier. Having observed people using disguised arm barrier signals on many occasions, we have found that these gestures are used by almost everyone. Many well-known figures in society also use disguised barrier signals in tense situations and are usually completely unaware that they are doing so (Figure 78).

Continue reading here: Crossedleg Gestures

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