Why wink?

I wiki’d “wink” and got a description but not much else, not nearly enough to quench my burning curiosity. Certainly not anything that would fight my ignorance.
So here I am, at the pinnacle of ignorance fighting, seeking truth.
Why is winking so freakin’ popular?
BTW; any mention of the governor of a certain far north US state will bring forth Great Wrath.

I’ve always wondered about this myself. I’ve never been able to pull of a wink, and it feels awkward when I try.

Depending on the circumstance, it means something. For example, if you wink after a statement, you may mean the opposite, but only want to convey that to the person you’re talking to, and not the entire room. Wink to a hottie accross the room, and that means something too.

It’s body language.

Yes, I know what it can mean, but it looks odd to me and feels flat-out weird when I try it. I don’t know why it’s so popular.

Maybe. If body language can be intentional.

Is smiling intentional? Does it convey meaning?

Say no more!

Is smiling body language? I honestly don’t know for sure.
I’ll be back. :wink:
Smiling can be intentional or not, though.

Smiling is definitely body language. And practically all body language, including winking is confusing to me, if I think about it too much. Why does slapping your knees once with both hands indicate you’re ready to go? Why does raising one eyebrow indicate incredulity?

Can anyone recommend a good book on the subject? :stuck_out_tongue:

This reminds me of one of my favourite jokes from “Burns and Allen”

Gracie) All the women are crazy about you
George) [surprised] They are?
Gracie) You know they are. Why when we went to the beach I saw them all give you the double wink
George) [confused] Double wink?
Gracie) When you walked past them in your bathing suit they closed both eyes

Why not? I can wink at someone while other people around me dont notice. That’s a huge advantage in relaying information in a situation where it might not be appropriate to do so, or to do so without alterting the other party. Same with raised eyebrows, making faces, rolling eyes, coughing, etc.

Humans are incredibly social animals and this is one of our many social tricks.

I wink to let the person who can see that I’m winking know that I am up to something.
But since kanicbird hasn’t yet found this thread, I will drop the obligatory bible comment:
Proverbs 10:10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow.

No, not “why not”. It’d not that kind of question.
I’m wondering if, back in the day, a caveperson was sitting at a pond with a pointy stick waiting for a yummy bluegill to happen by. Being mostly bored, and noticing his/her reflection in the water, our cave dweller began making faces. Upon closing just one eye, the OC* thought “hey, that’s kinda cute”. After much one-eyed blinking practice, dinner did swim by and, skillfully wielding the pointy stick, cave person collected it.
Forever after this all he/she had to do to gain a nice bluegill was to wink and another caver would be sure to provide.
Sex originally had nothing to do with the wink, but eventually winking, bluegills, and sex became inextricably interwoven.

  • OC = Original Caver.

Winking is no more arbitrary than other aspects of language. Why do Americans say “Hello” when Mexicans say “Hola”? We simply take some arbitrary signal and assign meaning to it.

There are only a small number of communication methods that seem universal. For example, laughing, crying and many emotional facial expressions and body postures seem universal. These are probably hard-wired into us because even babies use and recognize them. But when you get more complicated than that, you have to have learned what it means.

As for the popularity of winking… I have never winked and it’s been several years since anyone winked in my presence. Mostly I see it in movies.

My ex’s husband winks all the time. Often two or three times in succession. If he weren’t so good to her I’d pop him in the nose.
Or something.

>Winking is no more arbitrary than other aspects of language.

Agreed. Why should winking get this uber-skeptical treatment but everything else gets a free pass?

>No, not “why not”. It’d not that kind of question.

Its just one aspect of human communication. Really, dont overthink it. There’s no hackneyed caveman story for this, and even if there was then it would be impossible to prove. If anything it shows how resourceful humans can be with their facial expressions.

Exactly! All those, and smiling, are pretty universal. Winking is not. I’ve never seen a baby wink.
Maybe “body language” isn’t the term I’m thinking of. I mean all those signs that one isn’t neccessarily aware of, and that cops, interviewers, and others try to learn to look for in others to find “the truth” in what those others are saying.
I think a person is always consiously involved in his/her winking. Not so much so when smiling, etc.
So no, “why not” is not the answer I’m looking in my awkwardly worded OP.
“Hard-wired”. Good one. I doubt that winking is hard wired.

A long time ago I was told that a wink was a non-verbal way of saying, “I like you.”

Experience as told me that the statement is true to a great degree.


It is a non-threatening and private way of telling a woman that she is beautiful. And, it is a pleasant way for a woman to inform a man that she is playing with him, but is not interested in him.

A wink is “the good way,” of expressing these things.

What about saying “You betcha!” :slight_smile: