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Love at first sight

Let's say you get lucky tomorrow and spot a Potential Love Partner. He or she is sitting on the steps reading a book. Or standing in a museum studying a painting. Or getting on the bus. Or waiting in line at the bank cash machine. You sneak a second peek. Something about the stranger revs up your internal PEA factory, and a little dollop goes squirting through your veins. Maybe it's her looks, the way he moves, something she's wearing. Her aura? Is this love at first sight? Does love at first sight even exist?

Well, that's a semantics question. Instant desire, or lust at first sight, definitely exists. However, the scientific world pretty well agrees that love at first sight is merely Monday-morning quarterbacking. A successful love affair, perhaps one leading to marriage, is retrospectively declared to be true love; whereas if one is rebuffed, it is classified . . . as infatuation.'' Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality Semantics aside, one fact remains. Any small stimulus can kick-start love. Your first moves when

Love Partner are crucial. If, from that powerful stimulus, love grows, you have every right to call it love at first sight. Nobody will argue with you. Love at first sight has survived because it is an integral part of the many popular beliefs about romantic love. Romantic love is an important cultural value to Americans. In the same way that a voodoo curse causes death only in persons who believe in its power to kill them, love at first sight truly exists for those who believe in it.

A man may be classified as a breast man, a buttocks man, or a leg man. And, although many women will insist otherwise, most women are certified butt watchers. (This is not just idle conjecture: a British study determined that these are people's favorite eyeball destinations.) But researchers have ascertained that everybody is an eye person. When you were a teenager being reluctantly or otherwise introduced to strangers, your parents probably told you, "Look right into their eyes."

And then they would tell you in no uncertain terms that any of the aforementioned anatomical locations were strictly off limits. Powerful eye contact immediately stimulates strong feelings of affection. This was proved once and for all in a study called "The Effects of Mutual Gaze on Feelings of Romantic Love." Researchers put forty-eight men and women who didn't know each other in a big room. They gave them directions on how much eye contact to have with their partners during casual conversation. Afterward, the researchers asked each participant how he or she felt about the various people they had spoken with.

Let's say that in less technical language: Locking eyeball to eyeball with the attractive stranger helps put the match to the flame of love. Why does eye contact have such fiery consequences? Anthropologist Helen Fisher says it is basic animal instinct. Direct eye contact triggers "a primitive part of the human brain, calling forth one of two basic emotions—approach or retreat." Unrelenting eye contact creates a highly emotional state similar to fear. When you look directly and potently into someone's eyes, his or her body produces chemicals like phenylethylamine, or PEA, that jolts the sensation of being in love. Thus, making strong, almost threateningly intense eye contact with your Quarry is one of the first steps in making him or her fall in love with you. People look lingeringly at sights they like and quickly avert their eyes from those they don't. We enjoy gazing for long, lazy hours into a cozy fire, yet our hands jerk up to shield our eyes from an atrocious movie scene. It's the same when looking at people. We gaze lovingly at our lovers, yet avert our eyes from unpleasant, ugly, or dull people. When someone bores us, the first part of our body to escape is our eyes. I'm acutely aware of this phenomenon during my speeches. Whenever I drone on too long about a particular point, audience members bury their noses in their notes. Inspecting their manicures takes on prime importance. Some even nod off. When I get back on track, their eyes flutter up like butterflies returning to the sunshine after a rainstorm.

Another, almost opposite, factor that blocks good eye contact is shyness. The more someone overwhelms us, the more we avoid his or her eyes. Very low-ranking employees often avert their gaze from the big boss. If we meet someone extraordinarily handsome, beautiful, or accomplished, we tend to do the same. In my seminars, I strive to make eye contact with everyone in the audience. However, if there is an especially handsome man in the sea of faces, I often find myself avoiding his gaze. I look into the eyes of everybody but him. Then, realizing the folly of my ways, I force myself to look into the eyes of Very Attractive Male, and BLAM! My heart skips a beat. I sometimes lose my train of thought. I stutter. Powerful stuff, this eye contact.

How Much Eye Contact Does It Take to Imitate Love?
A British scientist determined that, on the average, when talking, people look at one another only to 60 percent of the time. This is not enough to rev up the engines of love at first sight. While he was still a graduate student at the University of Michigan, a prominent psychologist named Zick Rubin became fascinated with how to measure love. Later, at Harvard and Brandeis, the romantic young researcher produced the first psychometrically based scale to determine how much affection couples felt for each other. It became known as Rubin's Scale and, to this day, many social psychologists use it to determine people's feelings for each other. In his study on the ''Measurement of Romantic Love," Zick Rubin found that people who were deeply in love gaze at each other much more when talking and are slower to look away when somebody intrudes in their world.17 He confirmed this through a trick experiment. He asked dating couples a long series of questions so he could first rate the pairs on how much they loved each other. The couples, unaware of their rating, were then put in a waiting room and told, "The experimenter will be with you shortly to start the experiment." Unbeknownst to them, that was the experiment. Hidden cameras recorded how much time the couples spent staring into each other's eyes. The higher the couple had scored on the first test, the more time they spent looking at each other. The less love they felt for each other, the less time they made eye contact.

To give your Quarry the subliminal sense that the two of you are already in love (a self-fulfilling prophecy), dramatically increase your eye contact while the two of you are chatting. Push it up to 75 percent of the time or more if you want to get the PEA gushing through his or her veins. The extra seconds of eye contact speak silent volumes. To a woman, the volumes will read,"Beautiful lady, I am intrigued by you. I am fascinated by what you are saying." A man might interpret the increased eye contact as, "I'm ravenous for you. I can't wait to tear your clothes off and have you make mad passionate love to me." You must, however, look right into your Quarry's eyes if you want to excite those feelings of love at first sight. Not at his eyebrows, not at the bridge of her nose—look right into those baby blues, browns, grays, or greens. Pretend you're admiring the optic nerve behind the eyeballs. Wisdom for the ages gleaned from The King and I is "Whistle a happy tune, and you will be happy." Likewise, give off signals of the two of you being in love, and your Quarry will feel sensations of love.

When conversing with your Quarry, exaggerate your eye
contact. Search for his or her optic nerve. Lock eyes
with your Quarry to give the aura of already being in

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