1. Turning his knee towards the kitchen. The veritable epicenter of emotion and tenderness, the kneecap, is of the utmost importance when analyzing his unspoken desires. I’m sure you have read a thousand times before that his legs turning in towards you while talking is an unmistakable sign of his willingness for marriage, but that morsel of information cuts off just as it gets good. Beyond just pointing his lower limbs towards your ovaries while telling you about his day, it is important to notice which room of the house they are facing. The hallway is an unequivocal declaration of disinterest, as that corridor symbolizes all that is fleeting and dishonest about a relationship. The hallway represents options, and you should be his only one. The bedroom, no, that’s too obvious. He wants you for sex, and has his legs positioned in the most convenient way to make that happen on a moment’s notice. No, he should have them pointed towards the kitchen. Not only does it say, “I respect you as an equal, and am ready at any time to get up and take the initiative to make my own meal,” but it shows his gentle understanding of the fact that the kitchen is the heart and soul of a home (and therefore the heart and soul of your love together), and that he longs to be in your emotional kitchen, so to speak.
2. Coughing twice while getting out of bed. Early in the morning, just after the second slap of his snooze button that has already made him late for work, he is too disoriented and fatigued to be adept at coding his emotions. These are the precious moments that unintentional bits of honesty will slip out from under his thick coat of mystery–now’s the time to be aware. And nothing more succinctly proves his dedication and love for you than the crucial double cough as he makes his way out from under the covers and towards his slippers. One cough is the opening of the gates into his inner life–he’s showing you that he is human, that mornings are hard on him, that he may be coming down with something. He’s letting you in. But if he stops there, I’m afraid it is time to get out that emotional pick axe again and start chipping away, for he’s caught himself mid-reveal and squirreled away those preciously honest bodily functions for the privacy of the shower. But–and this is crucial–if he lets you in for that second cough, you are in. He has found it within himself to expose the most tender, fragile, un-masculine bits of his personality and treat you to a front-row seat to his slow decline towards death.
Bonus Points: If he coughs directly towards you, you smile and put those sparkling microbes in the pocket of your bathrobe, for he wants you to be in on this. Inviting you into his illness with him, he’s taking you, hand-in-hand, down the road towards what life as a couple truly is.
3. Licking His Ice Cream Cone In Even Swirls. More can be determined about a man’s character and emotional openness from his ice cream technique than almost any other practice he engages in. The cold, brutal reality of ice cream against his teeth leave him in a vulnerable, sugar-high state in which he is most in need of your affections. If he is willing to put himself at the risk of brain freeze at your sides, it is of the utmost importance to take notice of how he chooses to eat. Men who lop off the top of their cone in one fell swoop are living in the moment, laughing in the face of cold gums and diabetes. He is fun, he is spontaneous, but he is not truly there for you. Men who bite their ice cream cones simply cannot be trusted–they will eventually stray; it’s just a question of when. The kind of impetuousness that an ice-cream biter embodies is simply one that is not meant for lifelong monogamy. However, a man who methodically licks around his ice cream cone is the stable, responsible, patient man who is interested in both savoring his frozen desserts and loving you for the long-term. He takes his time, makes sure it doesn’t drip down his hand, and when he is finished, will recycle the paper wrapper and go set up his 401K.
4. Leaning Slightly To the Left When He Walks. It is common knowledge that the direction in which a man vaguely leans while walking is all one needs to discern his level of emotional interest. With the obvious exception of the wounded, there is no more key an indicator of involvement with the woman he loves. His leaning is the collective representation of all that is bearing down on his strong, well-defined shoulders from the world around him, and the direction is as clear as North and South on a compass. The right is the direction to which men lean when they are weighed down by all of those right-brained activities–the cold, calculating, reasoning man who is more likely to put his money in a modest real estate venture than spend it on a canary diamond engagement ring. This man is the definition of uncaring machismo, and should be avoided at all costs. But the left, that warm, soft left brain that fills him from head to toe with tender compliments and a desire to have brunch at your mother’s house, if that is the side of his brain that is taking a hold of his life–keep this one, you’ve found a winner. If the lean is too slight to notice, try taking a video with a camera phone or other small recording device as you follow him to better discern, through video-editing programs, exactly to which angle that beautiful bod is erring towards.
5. Crying. Not for the novices, this killer move is for the woman who has seen it all–the ice cream, the lean, the double cough, and the kitchen knee–and wants to ensure that this man really is The One. It should go without saying, and yet it so often needs to be reiterated, that a man breaking down into violent bursts of tears is the penultimate symbol of his undying affection. This irritation of the tear ducts is the man’s final act of “giving himself over to you,” allowing his bodily functions to align with yours and locking into place his eternal desire. The Great Cry is one that must be achieved through emotion, though the emotion brought on by suffering pain in front of his partner is an acceptable, if slightly easy, substitute. Though blunt force always remains an option, it should be a last resort. Rather, needle if you can the points of his personality and past that are most uncomfortable, most scarring. Find out what happened in his life that he deeply regrets or has lingering fears over, and pry him with rhetorical questions about them that lead, inevitably, to a fight. Repeat and rework, as many times as necessary, the interrogations that make him feel less in a relationship and more in a deposition until, at last, he works up those precious, salty tears out of a combination of frustration, pain, and resignation. Take him in your arms, hold him against your chest, and know that he is yours. You have seen The Great Cry, the ring will follow.