Lips Don’t Lie … or Do They?

As many women already know, the lips can be a powerful tool in your body language arsenal. When you display them correctly, all your date can think of is kissing you. Contorting the lips, meanwhile, usually makes you look crabby, elderly, or just plain strange. You don’t have to have a naturally full and luscious mouth in order to make men take notice. Like the eyes, you just have to know how to make the best of what nature’s given you.

Don’t rush out and fill your skinny lips with collagen! Despite the prevalence of cosmetic surgery in this day and age, most men still prefer a natural appearance to an overtly fake one. If you have a very thin mouth, lip liner and gloss or lipstick can give your lips a fuller appearance.

Your Words Say One Thing, Your Mouth Says Another

In Chapter 6, you read about the nonverbal messages that the mouth can send. This may be one of the most confusing aspects of decoding body language, since the very instrument that’s spouting words can simultaneously contradict itself with its movements. So, when you’re speaking to someone you’d like to get to know a whole lot better, it’s important that your words and your lips are in agreement, so to speak.

Let’s take a look at a situation where this kind of contradiction clouds the conversation. You’re late for a dinner date (again) and are apologizing profusely to your significant other when you finally arrive. She insists that she isn’t angry—after all, you didn’t cause that three-car accident on the parkway—and yet, when you take a peek at her from your menu, you notice that her lips are pursed and her jaw appears to be set in concrete. Now, there’s always the possibility that she’s angry about something else entirely, but there’s also a pretty good chance that you’re in her line of fire at the moment. Perhaps she’s not the confrontational type; whatever the case, her clenched mouth clearly conveys the message that all is not well with her at the moment.

Obviously, this is far from a romantic situation, where it’s even more important that your words and mouth motions match one another. If the guy you’ve been pining over for the last six months finally asks you to go to dinner with him, which response from you is going to leave him confused?

• “I’d love to!” spoken with a big, wide grin.

• “I’d love to,” spoken with lips that purse immediately after the words are spoken.

The first response will have him feeling like this might be a fun date; the second will make him wonder if you’re really into him or if you’re just going for the free food.

The Pout

You’ve seen the pout; you’ve done the pout; you’ve watched others put it to use. Depending on who’s doing it, it can look rather natural or completely ridiculous.

What’s the point of the pout? It’s another one of those facial gestures that makes a person look young, helpless, and innocent. (And very annoying, at least in some cases.) In the classic move, the pout shows sadness combined with disappointment or even anger. When women use it during the flirting process, it’s usually meant as a cute way to show disappointment without crossing into anger territory (that comes later in a relationship, after all).

Let’s say you see a girl pouting at her dinner date. Perhaps he’s told her that she can’t accompany him on the trip to Rio he’s planned with his buddies. Since this isn’t exactly a committed relationship (in fact, this is only their second date), she can’t really be angry about it, but she’s going to show her displeasure anyway. She might not change his mind, but she’s made her feelings clear.

Licking and Biting the Lips

This section covers the unspoken messages behind biting and licking your own lips—not someone else’s. (If those signals aren’t getting through loudly and clearly, there’s nothing this book can do to help you.)

Licking and biting the lips are two moves touted as having overt sexual overtones. The truth is, it depends on the situation. If you pass your cutie coworker who’s hard at work in his cubicle and you notice he’s biting his lips, you can be fairly sure it’s a sign of frustration and not an invitation for you to pull up a chair. But if you find yourself in a social setting with this same guy and he’s smiling and biting his lips, you can take that as a sign that he likes what he sees standing in front of him. That would be you.

Pouting is harmless—as long as it isn’t a chronic condition. But be forewarned: it gets old fast, and the cuter you try to be while sticking your bottom lip out, the faster your date will want to hightail it away from you. As a general rule for anyone over the age of six, pouting should be a definite rarity.

Same thing goes for licking the lips, except men are more likely to misinterpret this move than women are. (And who can blame them? When a female character in a movie wants to catch the hero’s attention, what does she do? You know it—she starts licking her lips.) Bottom line: If you want to give a guy a definite signal that you’re interested in him, you can’t miss with this move. You can roll the tip of your tongue all the way around your top and bottom lip, or you can just give the top lip a good lick.

Want to Win Him Over?

One really easy way to show a guy you’re interested is to smile at him while you’re speaking to him. A genuine smile, one that shows happiness or joy, curves your lips upward and crinkles the corners of your eyes. A fake smile simply pulls the corners of the lips to the side and doesn’t rise up through the face to engage the eye muscles.

Be aware that provocative lip licking sends a very strong message about what you’re interested in. (This is worlds away from the wide-eyed harmless approach.) He’ll think you’re up for much more than a casual, get-to-know-you-better conversation.

People usually can’t help but like people who like them—and smiling is a simple way to say, “I find you really interesting. I want to know more about you.” So go on and grin at him, but don’t overdo it. People who wear perpetual smiles on their faces tend to appear nervous or as though they’re faking it.

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