Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Intimate Behavior describes a bonding process whereby humans interview each other for intimate relationships. I found this on a page about self-defense, and how women can lessen the chance of being raped.
|Stage||Corresponding action||Key point|
|1) Eye to body||First look||Someone catches your eye|
|2) Eye to eye||Preening gestures||Yes/no signal (given by the female)|
|3) Voice to voice||Talking||Verbal screening|
|4) Hand to hand (or shoulder)||Initial physical contact||Usually initiated by female|
|Until now these behaviors occur||in public or social settings|
|5) Arm to shoulder||Bodies closer together||Possible isolation|
|6) Arm to waist||More intimate contact||Likely while withdrawing from public|
|7) Mouth to mouth||Kissing||Less likely to be in public|
|8) Hand to head/face||Probable isolation|
|9) Hand to body||Sexual contact||Isolation|
|10) Mouth to breast||Foreplay||Isolation|
|11) Hand to genitals||Isolation|
|Repeat steps three through 12.||Up to stage 8 often publicly displayed|
These interactions are integral parts of "love at first sight" and other inexplicable reactions we have to people that we usually attribute to "chemistry" or "biology". Each person has a unique set of expectations for these negotiations, and when two people fulfill each others' requirements they see each other as "compatible". When one person fails the tests of the other person -- due to bad timing, misinterpretation, or cluelessness -- then the situation gets awkward, and neither person may be able to pin down exactly why.