Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Right Leg of a Man

A serious scientific study
Long before I hit the road in my valiant effort to explore the minds of men, I noticed a peculiar male tick. Most of my closest friends were men, so I spent more time with guys than gals. Two minutes after a man would settle into his seat, his right leg would take on a life of its own. It would start bouncing and jiggling. Whether he was right-handed or left-handed didn’t seem to matter. His starboard limb would become possessed.
I noticed this phenomena in theaters, classrooms, churches, and waiting rooms. I filed it away in the back of my brain for future study. 
The opportunity to investigate this affliction came as I traveled the country interviewing men about women for my book, The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men & One Woman
I designed charts that ranked the men according to the usual demographics: age, marital status, sibling rank, religion, occupation. I’d draw a tiny little foot next to the leg-jigglers. Turned out the majority of men suffer from this condition.  Not all, but most. The only profession that seems totally immune is physicians. Now I was onto something. Why don’t doctors leg-jiggle?
More clues:
Men do not leg-jiggle on airplanes perhaps, because they’ve given up control to the pilot. If it were stress and unconcious - that would be the perfect time to let that Right Leg have it's way. But logic must lay just below the surface. Men know that no amount of leg-jiggling will alter the outcome of the flight. Besides... the other guys on plane would see his leg hopping.

Men do not do this if they are coming on to you. Subconsciously they are on their best behavior.

The larger the gathering, the more leg-jiggling a man will perform. By the end of the evening he is exhausted and does not understand why.

If a man is seated at a big table where he thinks he won’t be spotted, his leg-jiggling will double in speed. Most men are completely clueless that their right leg is giving them away. Just peek under a board room table at your next business meeting. I did.
My research revealed:
Our brains are cross-wired: The right half of our brain controls the left side of our body while the left side tells the right side what to do. The left side of our body conveys information to our more emotional right side. (If you have something loving to say… whisper it into a man’s left ear.) The effect is reversed in left-handed people. I think.  Best to try both ears and see which works better.
Subjects in research studies who tapped their fingers on their right hands for one minute became less willing to engage in risky behavior like drinking and driving.  A foot works just as well as a finger, they are interchangeable.  Movement on the right side activates the risk-adverse left hemisphere. So… perhaps… men who are tapping and jiggling their right leg are subconsciously fighting off the urge to do something risky. Like correct what you’re saying, or ask to leave the room?
There is neat sub-text to my study. See if it works in your situation.  Humans have a “left-side cradling bias.”  We hold infants so that their heads nestle in our left elbows.  This allows our emotional right brain to respond to the babies’ facial expression, thus creating better communication and bonding. Now, transfer that scenario to the bedroom. Does your man prefer you on his left or right side? Is he bonding with you or secretly jiggling his right leg?
Left Leggers…I love ‘ya, but you’re on your own.


  1. Fascinating, Barbara. Some women jiggle their legs, too. I wonder if it means the same thing.

  2. Their hormones are out of balance.
    They need a tune up.

  3. Interesting! I am very left oriented. I sleep on the left side of the bed and even tend to fly the plane to the left, if I don't pay close attention. What's that mean?

  4. Let's shake that magic 8 ball.
    Shake, shake.
    It just floated a message...let's see what it says.
    It is unknown at this time.

    :) :)

  5. Love it, Barbara!

    The first time I ever encountered it I was on a date (with an American actually, from Arizona, just in case that's of interest?!)at the cinema. This lad's leg wasn't jiggling, it was going like a pneumatic drill. Honestly! It was so distracting. It's good to learn after all these years that it was nothing more than a boy thing and that he certainly didn't fancy me, according to your research. I can concur, that was the one and only date but I had always thought that was my decision ;-)

  6. Lol - great article!

  7. Oh Barbara...I HAD to read this. My two daughters know I HATE leg jiggling so they both interchanged jiggling legs in the car last night, making the entire car and my seat vibrate. No kidding. I didn't tell them about this article, but woke up this morning knowing I had to read it. When someone I know jiggles, I reach over and grab their leg and give them a dirty look. They usually laugh at me but that is one of the most aggravating thing to me. Thanks for the insight...I thought it was just pent-up energy, but it sounds like it's something else.

  8. Markee, Do you grab strange men's jiggling legs or just guys you know?

    I'm so glad you all appreciated it. At first, I thought I was being hyper-critical. But it is an affliction.

    Jackie, Maybe we should organize a run to raise money for research for Male Jiggling Leg Syndrome?

  9. Interesting. I'm filing this information in my file on little unknown facts about man or beast.

  10. Kristie, I'm wondering if male beasts jiggle their right legs? We only have black bears, alligators, and lizards in Florida. I might investigate the lizards... to round out my study.

    Oooo... how do you tell a boy lizard from a girl lizard?