It’s all in the shoulders, and a bending down of the head like you are trying to make yourself smaller. Chin tilted out to the side, eyes quizzical, more squinted on the left if you are using your right arm. Your arm should be straight, the index finger an extension following that same rigid line. Purse your lips, curl your fingers, and lean slightly forward. Indicate.
Pointing is rude. I’ve heard that one. But personally, I’m not annoyed by it. I’m more annoyed by people who talk too much. How many people do you know feel the need to express in words everything that crosses their mind? Some people have to let everyone know exactly what they are doing.
“This is important to me at the moment, hey look over here, take your attention away from whatever it is you are doing, it can’t be that important, listen to what I am saying about the details around me, hey look this has my attention, it should have yours too.”
Now tell me, how nice would it be if they just pointed instead?
Pointing is subtle. It says (in a polite and reserved British accent), “Hullo there. If you happen to be looking my way, and believe we have common interests, look in this direction, you may be pleasantly surprised.” It’s there if you want it, but easy to ignore.
The tour guide, who has the voice of someone who has said too many things, and who explains EVERYTHING out of an assumption that you aren’t too bright, the one on the safari or at the university– imagine if he didn’t have a mouth, and could only point instead of speaking. Imagine the pleasure of relaxing in a bus driving around San Francisco, and just watching as somebody pointed at all of the pretty things.
I don’t know everything, that should be obvious. Sometimes I can be behind the times. And when I go to Starbucks, I’m not going to try to remember whatever pretentious names they have for their drink sizes. I’m also not willing to say, “the medium one,” or “the small one.” But how easy is it to simply point? They have the cups lined up right there, and I don’t have to care if they use pseudo Italian names, I just point. I don’t have to say anything; I don’t have to open my mouth. It is only a matter of assuming the stance, an angling of the jaw, maybe I raise an eyebrow as I raise my arm, and point.
They say, “show, don’t tell.” Well what if instead of saying, “let me point this out to you,” people literally just pointed something out to you.
Wait! You say. Hold on. In this country of sickening political correctness, what about the unfortunate man with no hands, or a dysfunctional finger? What about the paraplegic who has no ability to raise his arm and lean forward. I’m glad you asked! Pointing isn’t all about the arms. You can point with your head just as easily, it’s called nodding. In some countries, the Philippine Islands for example, people use their lips to point. They scrunch them up like a high schooler about to kiss for the first time, and turn their head toward the object of attention. Body language is a pointing of sorts. I love body language.
The point of this is to say, it would be great if people talked less and pointed more.