Simple flirtatious words and gestures in French culture are sweet and tender, often mistakenly interpreted in a more blunt Western culture as sings of sexual interest or even love. Parisians are polite to their dates, often to the point of sending the wrong signal. To avoid a botched rencontre, both men and women visiting Paris should be familiar with French body language and gestures which are relevant to a Parisian rencontre. Body language is not deliberate like flirting and is the best way to determine if a Parisian date is truly interested or simply being polite. Here are several Parisian gestures and body language signs which are helpful for determining important signals and unspoken thoughts:
Arm gestures - Parisian women and men who fold their arms are showing a sign of boredom. Dating partners from Paris who quickly wave one arm in an abrupt motion frequently while talking may be eager to go home and have likely lost interest. When women move only their forearms, keeping their upper arm close to their body they are uncomfortable and are showing a sign of distrust; oppositely a woman who raises her elbow frequently to touch her face or hair is very interested. Raising the elbow usually shows that a woman is content, comfortable and definitely enjoying the rencontre. Also Parisian men and women who keep their arms open instead of folded while facing their visiting date are showing signs of interest.
Leaning - Visitors to Paris will often be able to determine if their date is interested by the direction in which they choose to lean. Parisians who are interested in a partner will lean toward that person, or toward their sides. Leaning back shows a lack of interest, not deep thought or intrigue as it may in Western cultures. Coupled with the folding of arms, this is a signal there will likely not even be asecond rencontre to look forward to.
Lip Touching - This is a form of body language expressed by women. Parisian women who touch their lips, put on lip gloss or perform any other frequent actions drawing attention to her lips are showing a subliminal sign of deep interest. One important thing for men to remember is that this is not an invitation to kiss her; she is likely unaware she is doing this. Kissing on the lips in French culture is reserved for later when a man wants to show that he is ready to fully commit to or even marry the woman. Men and women alike should always avoid attempting a lip kiss on the first date. Cheek kisses are a common gesture that is completely acceptable though, meant as a greeting or parting embrace.
Nose Tapping - Men or women visiting Paris and taking a local single on a date should avoid talking about themselves excessively. French residents are very complimentary and will often tap their nose in response to hearing about an accomplishment. If a visitor notices this gesture more than once, it is likely beginning to bore the Parisian and the conversation should be redirected to ensure a second rencontre will be possible.
Physical Touch - Both Parisian men and women will touch their date gently on the arm, shoulder, back or leg. Touching is simply a way to show amusement or interest. Excessive touching is likely a sign that the date is having trouble understanding the conversation. Touching should never be mistaken as an invitation for sexual advances. Parisians are very respectful and deserve the same, so sexual advances should only be made when a man or woman wants to marry their dating partner.
By keeping in mind these simple body language expressions and gestures, visitors planning a romantic rencontre will avoid offending their Parisian date. When a date starts showing signs of disinterest or confusion, it is best to attempt speaking in French and turn the conversation to focus on the Parisian date's hobbies, likes and dislikes. Parisians enjoy life and love, embracing both. Showing respect and interest in their lives will win their approval and affection.