1. Touch him when you talk.
If his hand is on the table or a bar, emphasize your conversation with a light touch. Poke him lightly or touch his elbow (considered a ‘safe zone’). The most important thing you can do is graze his hand. Studies show if a librarian or a waiter grazes your hand when they give you a book, a bill, or change, you’re much likelier to think they’re friendly, helpful and attentive. Waiters, for example, made 22% more tips if they grazed their customer’s hand. So touch lightly and touch often. For example, if his hands are near your drink, graze them lightly as you reach for it. The trick is to do it so subtly he barely notices it.
2. Get him to touch you. Ask him to straighten out a necklace or bracelet. It requires coming into your intimate zone, where sparks will fly.
3. Escalate your flirting. Men don’t read non-verbal signals from women very well. In fact, some are terrible at it, according to communication researchers who study non-verbal courtship signals. In many cases, subtlety doesn’t work because the guy either doesn’t have the capacity to pick up understated signals of interest or thinks he’s imagining or exaggerating your desire. This inability to correctly pick up or interpret your interest also explains why you have to deal with so many jerks.
The undesirable guy who won’t leave you alone has the same deficit as the desirable guy who won’t make the next move—an inability to pick up and correctly interpret your cues. Just like you have to exaggerate your disinterest to the jerks, you have to exaggerate your interest to the desirable guys. That doesn’t mean grabbing his crotch, tying a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue or unbuttoning your blouse to your belly button, but it does mean being more purposefully flirty. For example, use what communication researchers call “Triangulation.” Eye tracing experiments show there’s a particular gaze pattern women use when they’re sexually attracted: From one eye to the other, down to the mouth and back up to the eyes, in a sweeping triangular movement. Use it. It’s a powerful sexual signal—an unmistakable sign that you’re looking at him because you’re interested, not because you’re trying to place his name.