Thursday, December 27, 2018

Body Language Analysis No. 4368: Donald's and Melania's Kiss in Iraq - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (PHOTOS)

Donald Trump and Melania visited the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018. It was the President's first visit to a military base in a war zone. While there, the President and First Lady shared a rare public kiss. What follows is a nonverbal analysis of that kiss as captured in the accompanying photograph (and the cropped close-up below).

Most children can probably tell you that Donald's and Melania's kiss-embrace does not look to be at all affectionate.

Note how Donald Trump is leaning quite far into the kiss. He is leaning forward 20º - 25º, while Melania is leaning in only about 5º.

Whenever affection is lacking or diminished - and one still feels socially obligated to kiss or hug another person - one or both people will virtually always lean forward. The President is a fair amount taller than his wife (His true height is about 6' 0.5" [add another 1" with his shoes], while Melania's actual height is about 5' 6" [and with about 2.5 inches more in her boot heels]). Thus, although both can lean-into a kiss, with all other factors being equal (which may or may not be), the taller person typically leans further into a kiss or hug.

Notice too, the angle of their heads and necks - each of their heads are tilted backward, away from each other. Moreover, affectionate embraces will have very frequently exhibit contact of the forehead, temple, and/or region around the eye with these same regions on the other person's face/head.

You may have also noticed that Donald Trump's torso is twisted a bit toward the audience. While Melania's torso and stomach are pointed directly at her husband, his are rotated to his left. Full body pointing is a signal of affection and/or respect - while not doing so indicates a lack of thereof.

Full body pointing (eyes, face, chest, stomach, pelvis, etc.), of course, also includes the feet. And, while we can't see them directly (and therefore, cannot discern where they're pointed), we can infer with fairly high accuracy, that her feet are directly beneath her center of mass - while his left foot is considerably further back compared with his body.

Leaning into a hug or kiss allows the lower body to be further away from the other person - insulating them from intimacy. In such pseudo displays of affection - the further two people's feet are from their hugger, the less affection is present. 

Note that Donald's and Melania's pelvic regions and chests are far apart. Holding each other's upper arms, as they each are doing, ensures such body distancing.

It's interesting to notice that both of their hands are not relaxed. His grip appears to be relatively tight - and this is, in part, due to his center-of-mass being considerably forward (he's a bit off-balance). Sometimes gripping another person's arm in the midst of a hug or kiss is not at all affectionate and can be even a signal the presence of objectifying and/or narcissistic personality traits. There is not enough information in this one image to draw those conclusions, however.

The First Lady's fingers and thumb are all quite widely splayed. This finger position signals a high adrenaline state - and while, kissing on camera with all the world watching (albeit, tape-delayed) is not the perfect environment for intimacy, the First Lady's fingers are not what we would, at all, expect to see amidst even a mild affection display. Her fingers betray her anxiety.

Thus, while his hand-fingers are contracted - hers are widely extended and splayed. Neither of their hands are relaxed - but configured oppositely. Fascinatingly, when one's hands are tense, the face - particularly the mouth - is almost always tense too.

Kissing styles (whether a peck, a longer lips-only kiss, a French kiss, etc.), vary from person to person, but it's also quite true that, like the leaning-in of the body, the further the lips protrude forward, the less affection exists. 

Another obvious (nay, glaring) characteristic of this kiss's lack of affection is Melania's turned cheek. This kiss is not even a lip peck. Between spouses, this simply screams. This nonverbal signal is so overt and ingrained in our culture that this dynamic is a millennia-old metaphor for dissing, distancing, disrespect - signaling an absence of affection. 

The President's eyes (eyelids) appear to be slightly open - his lower eyelids are relaxed which strongly suggests such lack of closure. Melania's right eye may also be a bit open, although given her head rotation, this is impossible to tell. When affection is present, there is a strong tendency toward eyelid closure - although, in such public settings, many will also keep their peepers partially open.

SUMMARY: Donald Trump's and Melania's recent kiss-embrace in Iraq is profoundly lacking in affection. And although very few us will ever kiss with the world watching, this display was light-years away from what one would expect of loving and affectionate spouses.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 4367: Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer Argue in the Oval Office - The Border Wall and Government Shutdown

Body Language Analysis No. 4363: Ivanka Trump's GMA Interview

Body Language Analysis No. 4361: Donald Trump "Jokes" about leaving office 

Body Language Analysis No. 4359: Trump and Putin in Paris

Body Language Analysis No. 4357: Donald Trump's response, "What a stupid question"

Body Language Analysis No. 4343: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Anxiety, and Empathy

Body Language Analysis No. 4336: Alita: Battle Angel, Large Eyes, and Sexual Attraction

Body Language Analysis No. 4332: Richard Nixon, Nikita Khrushchev, and The Kitchen Debate

Body Language Analysis No. 4309: The Little Girl in Red, "Tender Age" shelters, and Empathy