Ever wondered why your heart seems to skip a beat when that special someone hits you with an unexpected little wink? The flirty move is commonly used throughout our culture, in TV shows, film posters, photoshoots and more, to depict a message of attraction. But where does the origin of the wink come from, really?
It was a biopsychologist named Eckhard Hess who first discovered in the 1960s that your eyes can act in involuntary ways when looking at someone you find sexually attractive - namely, your pupils dilate accompanied by faster blinking. So, when someone winks at you, the action mimics quicker blinking, and thus essentially tricks your brain into thinking that person's level of psychological and sexual arousal must've just been raised (by you and all your charm, of course!).
According to one article, body language expert and former FBI agent Joe Navarro states that winking is one of the only ways, besides waving or smiling, that we humans can send a non-verbal message to someone relatively far away. If you've spotted someone attractive from across the room, the most subtly suggestive message you can send is a quick wink.
Patti Wood, another body language expert, also adds that winking softens the otherwise threatening communication of extended eye contact. Think about it: most people feel uncomfortable with being intensely stared at for too long, even if it's by someone we consider attractive. But if that extended eye contact is broken by a sly wink, well, that changes the tone of communication completely, doesn't it? A discreet wink makes an otherwise intense interaction a lot more playful. This is also why we tend to add the winking emoji at the end of suggestive texts to that special someone - it turns what could potentially be interpreted as too intense (and therefore, kinda creepy) of a suggestion into something more light-hearted and fun.
Of course, if you're sending pick-up lines through text that are already creepy to begin with (looking at you, majority of men on Tinder), just adding a wink at the end definitely isn't going to help your lost cause. Just sayin'.
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