When leg spreading is overt, it can be a turn-off – especially in the workplace.

When leg spreading is overt, it can be a turn-off – especially in the workplace.

Another dominant gesture, where we put our manly prowess on display, women exempted, is the crotch display. The legs can be spread while sitting or standing and depending on the degree of separation and context, can mean different things. For example, legs spread at shoulder width while standing is a dominant and acceptable display. It is seen as normal and is encouraged because it comes across as confident and action oriented rather than offensive. Having the legs spread wide open or throwing the leg over the arm of a chair while seated, is another story altogether. If it happens while directly facing others, it is perceived as arrogant.

Seated leg spreading is especially potent when done by female coworkers in an office setting, since they aren’t able to imitate the behaviour while retain class. As a rebuke, women will taking on defensive postures such as arms crossed and legs crossed; this tells men that they are offended by the posture and see the body language as chauvinistic. Men can sometimes use this posture effectively to attract the attention of women in a dating context, but only in so far as they appreciate the caveman approach. Leg spreading can be used to convey a positive and confident middle ground simply by restricting the degree to which the legs are spread. People with legs pasted together appear far too uptight and conservative.

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