When I was 17, a boy I liked (let's call him Billy) told me that men (boys) were intimidated by me, basically because I could be silent. Apparently I was scary because they (the men/boys) would say something, and I would just look at them, silently. They would feel like I was judging them or something (I'm making assumptions now) , and would then rush to fill the silence, ending up saying silly things and feeling embarrassed and hence becoming further intimidated by me. A vicious cycle.
Now, I never set out to be intimidating, but it's true that I'm comfortable with silence. I don't know if this comes from being an only child, from acting training ("CLAIM the stage with your presence!"), or if it's just my personality, but I am perfectly happy to be silent with other people without feeling the need to fill the silence with chitchat. Sometimes this drives my husband nuts (we have a bit of a gender reversal from the assumed norm - he's always asking me "What are you thinking?") but I just don't see the need for oral communication all the time.
So why do some people find silence so intimidating? Is it because people are generally not great at reading body language and therefore need to be told how other people are feeling all the time? I'm quite good at reading mood and sub-text through body language - is this because I'm ok with silence or am I ok with silence because I can read body language? I don't have any answers, just lots of questions! But ever since Billy made his great revelation, I've remembered (and utilised) the potential power wielded by the silent person...
As a side note, I didn't like Billy for much longer after that, not because of the intimidation thing but because when he kissed me, he turned out to be a tongue thruster. You know, the kind of guy who, when he kissed me, seemed like he was actually trying to do a thorough medical exam of my mouth and throat without using his hands. Not pleasant. Also, he would occasionally mix it up by removing his tongue from my throat and bathing the lower half of my face in saliva instead. I'm not sure he realised that I wasn't responding with passion, I was just trying to save myself from drowning.
Here's a tip for anyone who is yet to have their first kiss (or anyone who currently thinks that a kiss isn't a kiss unless you've licked the other person's tonsils at least once) - kissing is all about lips. Lips, not tongue. Did you ever notice that on a T9 phone, "kiss" and "lips" have the same number sequence? That's not a coincidence. A little bit of tongue is ok, but if in doubt, just keep it out!
I wonder what happens when two tongue thrusters get together? Do they have an epiphany and realise that their kissing style, as mirrored by their partner, is about as pleasant as being ball-gagged? Or do they each think the other is the most fantastic kisser ever, and go off blissfully into a saliva-filled future together?
Remember kids, kiss with your lips, and don't be afraid of silence. That concludes today's lesson.