The One Fingered Arm Stroke

There has to be a straight guy out there who can explain this one to me…

Last summer, I was in Halifax with my mother eating dinner in a hotel restaurant overlooking the harbor. How romantic. Our waiter was a young guy, I’d say not a day over 26, well-built with thick, jet-black hair, green eyes and a killer smile. He was stunning — waaaaay out of my league stunning. I couldn’t look at him at first because I was afraid I might start giggling. His demeanor gave away that he was new. He was formal, overly rehearsed and a bit uptight. Mum I been on the road for nearly 8 hours — we were in the mood to be anything but formal. It was a planned attacked on the handsome waiter. We were going to break him down, make him laugh, make him trip as he was reading the specials.

We won.

Eventually, I had him joining in on the jokes and lame puns (something about mussels and biceps?) and he was doubled over laughing. He actually did trip once as he was walking away. A glass of water hit the carpet. He was spending so much time at our table, someone had to come remind him he had orders waiting for other guests. For all of an hour, I believed I was charming.

And the part that needs explanation? A few minutes after he put down our main course, he came back with an unrequested second napkin. He knelt table-side and placed the napkin down on the table as he leaned in. “The first is for your body. This is for your hands.” As he got up, staring right at me, he ran his index finger up my arm.

Whoa. hold up. wait a minute. That was kinda sexy.

This was not the first time that had happened to me, and it turned out it wouldn’t be the last.  Not long ago, I was engaged in bit of banter with a guy I’d known casually as a co-worker. We had said our good-byes, but as we began to part ways, he turned back — he had one more question.  He moved closer and ran his finger up my arm as he confirmed my plans for Saturday. Huh!?

The first time I experienced the one-fingered arm stroke I was in a bar playing pool with a guy 15 years my senior.We’d never met, and I have no idea why I was playing with him and not the girlfriends who had come out with me. He was a bit tipsy and he followed the touch with a very, very direct invitation to go back to his place. Thankfully, the intentions of this arm stroke were entirely clear. The other two incidents? Sexually charged, but totally ambiguous.

I asked a girl friend of mine if she’d ever experienced the one-fingered arm touch. “No. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe it’s because you have nice arms. You do have really toned arms.”

And here I thought I’d discovered the key that could unlock the secrets of men and women, first meetings and attraction, body language and touching. Apparently, I just have nice forearms.

One thought on “The One Fingered Arm Stroke

  1. Lono Thompson

    As i recall, arm touching started several years ago, about two seconds after some psychologists announced the result of tests they conducted to see if tactile communication influenced verbal communication. It did.

    They found a request was much more likely to get a favourable response if accompanied by a light touch on the arm- the arm being a fairly accessible and neutral place to be touched.

    Here in Australia, (and probably the rest of the western world), the finding was promptly taken up by Human Resources trainers and the like, and incorporated into their courses on workplace communication. It explained the sudden rash of arm-touching I had encountered. By the fourth such touching, I asked the toucher ‘Been to a communications-in-the workplace training course recently?’ ‘Yes, how did you know?’.

    Stroking may be an extension of touching, on the basis that if a touch works, then a stroke may work better.

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