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Reading his silent signals and making sure you’re sending the right messages yourself is simple if you know the secret handshake – and these other tips on gay male body language.

Hey Mike!
imageI know reading and giving body language has a lot to do with whether you’re going to get, as you like to say, “your prey,” in the sack. But what kind of body language signs should I be using and looking for?

It all seems so confusing, and I’m pretty sure that my body language is fluent in stammering. Help a brother out.

—Non-verbal Stutterer

Dear Stutterer:
imageHand gestures are the first thing to look at, because they’re so expressive and give so many clues as to what “your prey” is feeling.

For instance, men who are interested check and adjust their appearance. Wait. That’s every gay man in every gay circumstance. You’re right. This is confusing. Still, if he’s not interested, he probably won’t care what he looks like to you.

Another mark of interest: If he stands with his hands on his hips with fingers spread, pointing to his crotch, he’s subconsciously signifying readiness and sexual interest. Sounds crazy, but keep an eye out and you might catch yourself doing it too.

If you want to send a signal that you’re interested, massage the back of your hand, wrist forearm or shoulder. By touching yourself, you seem more touchable. It also sends the message that you want him to touch you, too.

Always use hand gestures when you’re chatting up a potential date. It draws them in, adds emotion to words and lends credibility.

If you’re not on a date but want one after meeting some hottie, here are a few pointers on the goodbye handshake:

Offer your hand, not your fingertips. Otherwise, it’s wimpy, weak and signals a limp personality. Trust me, nobody wants anything limp in his hands.

Don’t crush their knuckles. Don’t shake their hands so hard they scream, “MEDIC!” Hurting someone is not a good first impression. Crushing handshakes say that you’re a control freak who loses his temper easily.

Beware of the “Sandwich.” Holding someone’s hand in both of yours after a superficial few minutes can feel a little smarmy. On the other hand, if you’ve spent a fair amount of time and feel a connection, it can create a sense of sincerity. The same goes for grabbing their elbow while shaking their hand. Depending on the situation, it can be a plus or a minus.

Here are a few other handy hints with, of course, a few editorial comments from me. If he’s got his:

Hand on chin: Bored. He’s thinking of flossing, not fucking.

Fingers gripped tightly: Frustrated. Probably because he asked you how your day went and you started with what you had for breakfast.

Hands together, loosely knit fingers: Neutral, no opinion formed. You’ve still got a chance!

Fingers form a church steeple: Self-confidence. He’s going to plow you but good.

Hands on hips: Ready, confident. Either that, or he just wants to square dance.

Pulling up his socks: 100 percent interested. You go, boy!

Hands deep in pockets: Secretive. He’s probably going to vote for Michele Bachmann and not tell you.

Fidgeting with shirt cuffs: Uncertain, anxious. Stop asking him if he’s married. He is.

Exposed wrist and palm: Honesty and willingness to share intimacy. Run!

Chin stroking: You’re being evaluated. Time to do more listening that talking.

Throat covered by hand: Offended physically or emotionally. Shut up!

Picking at cuticles: Angry, stressed. Shut up!

Tugging at earlobe: Wants to interrupt and say something. Shut up!

Stroking the stem of his wine glass: Sexual interest. He’ll be stroking a bigger stem unless you keep asking him how those shoes look on you.

Smoothing his clothes: Wants to be noticed. Quit grabbing the waiter’s ass.

imageContributing blogger Mike Alvear is an Atlanta-based columnist, author and TV personality. Dating life in the dirt? Download his ebooks, “Attract Hotter Guys with the Secrets & Science of Sexual Body Language,” and “Attract Hotter Guys Online: The Secrets To Making Yourself Irresistible on Gay Dating Sites.” Have a question for Need Wood? Just .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).