The ultimate Maverick move: learn how to wink

winkwink

“Wait, wait, wait, did he just.. ?….Yes, he did! How bold… How daring… How… hot!”

This could be a response to that cheeky eye maneuver known as the wink.

Another possible response is: “Wait, wait, wait. Did he just…? OMG! That sleazeball just winked at me!”. Especially if said winker is wearing particularly tight trousers or if the wink is followed by any form of lip licking. Because the tricky thing is: the response to that daring one-eyed move all depends on a) context, b) execution and very importantly, c) the winker him(or her)self.

Winking takes skill

twitIt’s a fantastic feat…if performed well. It’s outspoken and subtle at the same time. But winking is a bit like wearing sunglasses: when done just right, it’s very cool. But if it’s off, you look like a bit of a twit. In short: winking takes skill.

If you think about the technicality of the wink, it’s actually pretty silly: closing one eye purposefully to get a message across. Who invented this odd tactic? According to the online etymology dictionary, to “close an eye as a hint or signal” was first recorded around 1100.

Darwin-approved

It doesn’t say under what circumstances this Very First Wink (VFW) occurred. Did an innocent insect cause a bold knight to unintentionally close one eye at an adoring dame? Lady in question (the winkee) might have been puzzled at first, but the sheen of the knight’s armour in combination with this never-before seen move might have gotten the knight very lucky.

Unquestionably, the fortunate chevalier soon realised the potential of this Maverick move and passed it on to his future (and certainly many) children. And with a secret weapon like that, they undoubtedly were very successful at reproducing themselves, making the wink a very Darwin-approved signal.

But never mind how the VFW happened, let’s take a closer look at this subtle – but spunky – eye maneuver.

Aspects to consider when executing The Wink:

gif1bb_cropDuration
Closing an eye for longer than one second will look more like an eyelid-malfunction than a wink. Or imply that you’re from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Quantity
Multiple winking might make people think you’ve got Tourette’s, so stick to one.

gif2b_cropSound
There is always the option of clicking tongue or cheek (making the wink a ‘clink’). Combine this with finger-pointing or the double finger-gun and you’ll come across as the dreaded sleaze- or cheese-ball. Or George Costanza.

gif3b_cropMouth
An open mouth is definitely less subtle and combined with finger-gun and clicking (see above) will make it a risky operation indeed. I’d recommend a closed mouth. And whatever you do: NO LIP LICKING! After 5 shots of Tequila you might think it’ll make you utterly irresistable. Believe me: It. Will. Not. Just look at this –>

Facial movementgif4b_crop
Other parts of the face might want to join your One Eye, which can result in a) a twitching mouth  b) flying eyebrow, or just total face epilepsy. Closing just one eye, fleetingly, subtly, is an art.

Eye preference
Most people tend to wink with their non-dominant eye. I’m a left eye winker. I can wink with my right eye too (does that make me a switch winker?), but it takes just a bit more effort to do so.

As mentioned before, it all depends on context. If any of the following is applicable when you’re about to wink, abort mission:

1. Your winkee is 20 years your junior (relevant to anyone over 35)
2. You’re at a border and asked if you have anything to declare.
3. You are a used-cars salesman, about to close a deal.
4. You are a used-cars salesman. Period.
5. You’re in China or India.
6. You are wearing speedos.

The most challenging aspect of the wink is the diversity of its meaning. Here are a couple of things you can say with a wink:

  1. “You are fit/foxy/finer than frog hair”. This is probably what most people associate the wink with: flirting. A very fruitful move if the above mentioned points are considered.
  2. “Just kidding!”. A daring or offensive statement can be turned around by winking. It doesn’t work in every situation though: “Those trousers make your arse look bigger than my truck” followed by a wink will probably not have the desired effect.
  3. “We both know what’s going on here”. A wink can work as quotation marks, so be careful when using it in combination with words like ‘massage’ (George again, who else?).
  4. “I’m hoodwinking these other people”. In a group you can let someone in on a secret by winking at them.
  5. “It’s going to be fine”. You can use a wink to comfort someone. Like a pat on the back from a distance.

By the way: not everybody is able to wink. For instance, when the British were training Chinese guerillas to shoot rifles, they discovered that quite a lot of them couldn’t close one eye at a time.

All in all, a lot of stuff to consider! But don’t despair; digitally we’re already serial winkers ;-), and with some practice and moxie we’ll be able to perform the ultimate One Eye in real life too. I for one will start practicing to wink without looking like a spa. So be warned.

For reference, take a look at Heath Ledger’s perfect wink or this winking super cut.

** All winking gifs are taken from buzzfeed

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