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Why is Winking Flirting?

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The act of closing one eye ever so quickly has unspoken meaning.

winkWhen I was a kid my grandmother explained to me that when I was the right age and I liked a girl, all I should do is wink at her.  The wink, to my grandmother, was the ultimate way to attract someone or let them know I’m interested.  But never mind my grandmother’s take on things, what is it about the act of winking that carries so much sexual or sensual messaging?

First lets set aside all the other meanings of a wink. There are many people who acknowledge the presence of a friend or do a quick greeting to a neighbor with a wink and in such cases it is only a hello.   There is also the joking around wink and variations of that message.  And of course none of this addresses that winky face at the end of an email you just received.  The focus here is the flirtatious wink, which is really just a fluttering of one eye lash towards a friend or a stranger.  For maximum effectiveness it should go along with a smile that communicates something along the lines of: I like you.  Now the unpredictable variable in all this is, of course, how it is received.  Some people try to use the wink flirtation with strangers and it comes across as completely creepy.  Others might read too deeply into a general “I like you” wink and presume some deeper affection or attraction that isn’t there.

Physically, when a person is excited their pupils dilate and the rate of blinking increases.  That could be one way of explaining the fact that you wink suddenly when you are excited about someone.  But what about that “I have a secret” feeling that some people convey with a wink?  Sometimes it is a simple case of actually having a secret that only the person you are winking at, out of everyone in the room, is aware of.  But other times it can be an attempt to create an intimate moment, indicating that you have a secret that is only intended for the person you are winking at.  If it all goes according to my grandmother’s theory, the girl or guy you wink at will be interested in this secret of yours.


Photo: mmartell2012 / flickr

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