In an age where it seems to be nearly standard practice to text ones friends to the exclusion of interaction with friends standing immediately in the vicinity, one might wonder if that ultimate communication device, body language, is still relevant. In a world populated with a larger number of people every day, it would seem that body language is one of the most important devices to communicate ones feelings.
In a crowded subway station, throngs of people wait for the next train. A wave of people from a recently arrived train flood the platform “ its the rush hour, and everyone wants to get home on the next train. Some people get jostled as they stand there, and the body language on display is like a running commentary, at least to those attuned to this discrete language. With arms crossed, ad one foot tapping madly, one person indicates their displeasure at being elbowed, but says not a word. Another person, nearly spun around by a large fellow who bumps into her shoulder, shrugs as if to say, ˜Its crowded, and theres not much room “ bumping into me is no problem; it wasnt a purposeful thing.
At a bar on the street level, similar coding occurs. A woman, spying a handsome man at the bar buying a round of drinks for his friends, catches his eye for a split second, drops her gaze, and shakes her long hair off to one side. She then runs her fingers through it, and looks back at the man to see if hes noticed her shiny haired display. If he has, and sends her a knowing look or a smile, he will likely get a smile in return. Without a word spoken, these two have communicated their mutual attraction across a distance.
Perhaps in an ever more crowded world, body language is a time saver akin to texting. It frees people to figure out some basics without any spoken words, which could lead to embarrassment. Its subtle, and its powerful, just like a brief text message can be.