body language

Photo Credit: William Fortunado via Canva

Amanda Seals breaks down history of DAP handshake

We've all seen people do it. Anywhere from basketball players on television to kids meeting up at the skating rink. Even former president Barack Obama when greeting a mixed group of men gave "DAP" to the Black men in the group, yet switched to a firm handshake when greeting the other men.

It was almost like watching the president code switch, but with body language, in a move that many Black Americans recognize as a gesture of acceptance and comradery. But did you know that there's an actual history behind the DAP that has nothing to do with looking cool? Social justice educator and actress, Amanda Seales, recently re-shared a clip from "The Real" where she was diving into the history of the handshake.

Seales, who has a master's degree in African American Studies from Columbia University, was also admittedly surprised when she learned there was a deeper meaning to the gesture.

On the show Seales explains that the DAP originated in the 60s during the Vietnam War between Black soldiers. "Young African Americans were being sent into combat and the DAP was about unity and survival. There were cases of Black soldiers reportedly being shot by white soldiers during combat and so it was a physical act of solidarity," Seales reads. "It was used to convey their commitment to looking after one another."

The actress says that DAP is an acronym for dignity and pride, but was once banned in the military because people thought it was a secret black power sign. It wasn't. The handshake was so helpful in making Black soldiers feel safe, DAP Therapy was created to help with PTSD symptoms.

The entire history of the DAP gives it so much more meaning. It's quite fascinating how things from the past continue to evolve and grow with society. While the meaning of the DAP may have been lost, the gesture itself is still alive and well.

Leo Macallan transitioned to male and joined the blue-collar workforce.

Leo Macallan is an actor, trans model, author and a confessed keen observer of human behavior. As a transgender man, he is in the unique position of being able to understand gender-based behavior from multiple perspectives.

After transitioning, Macallan worked blue-collar jobs alongside a lot of men who weren't exactly accepting of transgender people or those who were different. So, he had to learn to adjust his body language and communication style to feel comfortable and project an air of confidence in an aggressive environment.

To share his knowledge with others who may be uncomfortable in male-dominated environments, he created a video where he revealed his body language and communication tips. Macallan also shared how to observe the group of men to determine the hierarchy and how to react to offensive behavior.

Here are his 4 most important tips:

Some advice from papa bear


some advice from papa bear #ftm #transgender #fyp #transman #beard

1. Go Slow

"Walking fast, fast hand movements, they just read nervous,” he said. “Even when I do the dumbest things, I do them slow. Say I was at the supermarket and I dropped [a bottle of soda]...I would lean down very, very slowly, very casually, like the laziest lion in the den."

"It's all about the presentation and the perception of who you are and what you're doing," Macallan added.

2. Body language

"I want you to spread out as much as you can,” he said. “Put your arm across the chair. Any time I'm sitting down and there's a chair next to me, guess what? I'm pushing the chair out, I'm putting my whole arm over it and I'm leaning back with my chin up and I'm crossing my legs or stretching them out. Don't do that around girls.”

He says that spreading out is a "powerful stance," and it will trick your mind into calming down.

3. Control your laughter

"If you're within a dude and he's making a joke and you don't think it's funny, don't laugh,” he said. “Just sit there. The art of not filling space also emanates confidence. You don't have to fill the space. If they say something really offensive or are trying to f*** with you, all you have to say is, 'What was that? Can you repeat that?' and say it real loud. Watch them squirm."

4. Be the observer

"You need to practice being the observer and not the observed,” he said. “The minute you switch that perspective, you can calm down."

Macallan’s final takeaway is that even though men you’ll find on blue-collar work sites may appear to be in control and know precisely what they’re doing, a lot of it is actually an act. The best part, it’s one that you can learn, too.

"I can't tell you how many times I stood in that steel mill with a bunch of other dudes around me and they're all scratching their bellies like confused orangutans, but they're making a s***ton of money, " he said. "So, keep that in mind. That helped me face a lot of my fears."

Pop Culture

Writer causes stir claiming that 'intertwined' and 'paw' hand-holding mean different things

One means you're passionate about each other. The other, not so much.

Eli Rallo has some thoughts about how Taylor Swift and travis Kelce hold hands.

When two people in a romantic relationship hold hands out in public, it symbolizes their connection to one another and shows the general public they are an item. “It feels good to hold hands with someone we know because it’s all about wanting to be close to them,” Toni Coleman, LCSW, a psychotherapist and relationship coach, told Women’s Health.

As with kissing and hugging, “research shows that touch, like holding hands, releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that gives you that feel-good buzz,” Coleman added.

However, according to writer and social media influencer Eli Rallo, hand-holding can mean many different things depending on how you do it. She used a recent photo of musician Taylor Swift and her new beau, football player Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, to demonstrate her point.

The couple was recently spotted in public with a tight interlocking grip. “I just want to make something abundantly clear: [intertwined finger hand holding] is something very different to [paw hand holding],” Rallo said.

Warning: Video contains mildly adult subject matter.




“[Intertwined] is giving ‘last night we said I love you for the first time now we can’t stop saying it,’ ‘we can’t keep our hands off each other,’ ‘we have both mutually agreed this is the greatest lay of our lives,’” Rallo continued.

“[Paw] is we hate each other, but we are still together because it is convenient.”

Rallo then went on to show some photos of Swift holding hands with different men, noting that she had an interlocking grip with her former boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal. “This leads me to believe two things, and this is a working thesis,” she continued. “Number one, hot men are always going to hold hands [with interlocked fingers]. Number two, men who are good in bed are always going to hold hands [with interlocked fingers]."

“You should never settle for one of these paw things,” she concluded.

Commenters on the video weren’t entirely on the same page with Rallo. Many say they choose the paw grip with their partners, not because of the lack of passion in their relationship but because it’s more comfortable.

"Intertwined fingers is awkward," Keetinamobina wrote. "Sometimes the intertwined fingers thing is painful for some of us," JSainte17 added.

While Tay noted that whether she “waffles” or pancakes” has to do with her relationship status. "I called interlocked hands waffle and the other one pancake—I must be waffled at all times—but if I’m mad, I pancake," she wrote.

Even though Rallo got mixed reviews in the comments, body language experts agree with her.

Celebrity body language expert Karen Donaldson told Women’s Health that the interlocking grip symbolizes a heightened desire to be and stay connected. “This is a display of a strong and deep bond in the relationship,” Donaldson said.

Those who enjoy the firm “but not interlaced” palm-to-palm action may have feelings for one another that are less intense or unequal. “Depending on where you are in your relationship, this handhold style could be a protective grip. But most likely, the person doing the tighter hold is the dominant one in the relationship and is aiming to take charge,” says Donaldson.

“Or, if it’s a newer relationship, the couple may be finding a way to stay connected because they aren’t yet ready to interlace fingers,” movement pattern analyst Alison Henderson added.


Correcting these 7 body language mistakes could make you instantly more likeable

Body language isn't always intuitive, and we may be making a negative first impression without meaning to.

Charisma on Command/YouTube

Here are some simple ways to improve your body language in social situations.

You might be the most awesome person in the world—kind, thoughtful, pleasant, funny—and still not make a good first impression on people. The immediate, unconscious judgments our brains make based on body language aren't always accurate, but they happen whether we want them to or not.

First impressions are especially hard for people who struggle with social anxiety or with understanding the nuances of social interactions. When we're nervous, our body language can misrepresent us, making us appear to be more closed off and less approachable than we might be if we were feeling like our true, relaxed selves.

Thankfully, there are some specific ways we can consciously shift our body language to avoid people getting a wrong first impression.

A video from Charisma on Command breaks down seven common mistakes people make with their body language that gives people a negative impression and explains what to do instead. Some of these things are subtle behaviors we might not give a second thought. Others are things we do out of nervousness. With some simple, conscious practice, we can make a difference in how we come across to people we're socializing with.


So, to recap:

1. Don't scan the room when talking with someone.

2. Don't let someone interrupt you when you're in a conversation with someone else.

3. Lean against a wall, chair, bar, etc.

4. Keep your hands out of your pockets.

5. Use precise and expansive gestures at the right times.

6. Keep your head up.

7. A brief eyebrow raise lets people know you're glad to see them (but might not be something you want to try to control).

Some people in the comments pointed out that scanning the room is an automatic safety behavior for some and that trying too hard to do some of these things could come across as stiff or disingenuous. Others, however, appreciated the specific advice. Body language is not intuitive for everyone, and pinpointing behaviors to pay attention to can help even the playing field with those who have more social skills and charisma naturally.

Several people on the autism spectrum expressed their gratitude for this kind of clear, direct instruction.

"Man, I so appreciate this channel," shared one commenter. "Being on the Autism Spectrum makes it really difficult to have social interactions and sometimes I don't act "appropriately" but I'm extremely good at mimicking and learning principles. These sorts of videos have made it easier for me to integrate into social situations to the point that people don't realize that I'm on the spectrum ... in fact, people are shocked when they learn that I am. Thanks for making life a little easier for me."

"I agree 100%," shared another. "It's taken me years to simulate neurotypical behaviors, but I'm mostly so good at it now that most folks have no clue. Charisma on Command has helped me hone that to a new level and I am very glad of it."

Body language makes up a lot of our communication, so it's helpful to learn how it works and how we can make adjustments to improve our chances of positive interactions with others. See more of Charisma on Command's videos here.