A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear Linda Howard talk on the twelve steps of intimacy, a talk she based on the works and studies of Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape. I found it fascinating. I began watching for intimate “tells” in the people around me. (Yeah, I’m an avid people watcher and eavesdropper, unless I’m thinking about a story I’m writing, then I’m pretty much oblivious. It’s a toss-up as to whether I’m dialed in and taking mental notes or I’m in my own stratosphere. I’m a risk.)
Today I want to talk about that first step of intimacy—the first glance. How many of us can recall the first instance we saw our spouse? I can, although it was more than 31 years ago. He sat on a nubby green, ugly sofa, friends on either side of him. He wore blue corduroy pants that matched his eyes. Of course, I didn’t know I had reached at a life changing moment, but I had. I also didn’t know that after he left, he told his friends that he had first dibs on asking me out. I don’t remember what we said to each other—knowing me, not much. But voice to voice is step three on the intimacy ladder, and we’re talking about step one— the first glance.
Dr. James Dobson, author of Love for a Lifetime: Building a Marriage that Will Go the Distance, also recounts the 12 steps of intimacy. He wrote:
A glance reveals much about a person — sex, size, shape, age, personality, and status. The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.
When the man and woman who are strangers to each other exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment. If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.
Here are the first glance moments in three of my novels.
A mean wind blew the clouds shrouding the moon and a beam of light landed on a lone figure near the bow. She fought the wind for her hat and her hair, a tangle of dark honey, swirled around her head. The hat, pinched between her fingers, caught another gust, set sail and skittered across the deck.
The woman managed to capture her hair into twist, and she looked over the deck in his direction. Her eyes widened when she saw him and she backed up against the rail.
The intruder flipped on the switch in the kitchen—her kitchen—and flooded the dark with yellow light. Penny pressed herself up against a tree, hiding and watching. Tall, thin, blond, dressed in faded jeans and a button down white shirt that offset his tan skin and startling blue eyes—he didn’t look like a Lurk. His gaze peered into the dark, looking past her and focusing on Wolfgang. “Shoo!” he called. “Go home!”
Blinded by fear mingled with rain, Blair ran into a large, warm expanse of flannel. For a small moment a slicker engulfed her, and then she tangled with an umbrella. She slipped on the wet pavement and fell hard on her hands and knees. The creel landed beside her and the cat cried in protest. Rain and embarrassment washed over her. She pulled the creel onto her lap and checked its strap.
“Are you all right?” A tall man with wavy, honey colored hair gazed at her with kind green eyes.
Stooping to pull her upright, his large hand swallowed hers. “You’re shaking.”
The Rhyme’s Library
Please feel free to share your own, either real life moments, or story moments…they’re all good.