For those who may not know, the definition of a wink is the brief closing of one eye. How many can remember being taught to wink or the reasons why we wink?
We just seem to know subconsciously that winking is a signal, sometimes to indicate a sexual interest, other times to illustrate or add emphasis to a joke or remark, or even as a means of communicating that we want to share a private or personal confidence with one or more people in our line of sight.
With the exception of India, where winking is used in much the same way as by westerners, in many Asian countries the act of winking is considered rude and offence may be taken.
Even amongst westerners inappropriate winking can often cause embarrassment or even anger.
During a debate in the US presidential campaign in 2008, the republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, made a point of winking at the audience on a number of occasions, which caused critical comment and offence to many attendees and media representatives.
Involuntary bouts of frequent winking is usually as sign that the person, usually a youngster or adolescent is suffering from Tourette Syndrome.
The expression ‘a nod and a wink’ and other similar expressions incorporating the word ‘wink’ in them are generally used to imply that something sly, underhand or secretive has taken place.
Although it can often be fun and provocative for men and women to use a wink to convey a message, often sexual, between each other, there are times when it can be totally out of order and offensive to others.
Be on the safe side by being sure that the circumstances and context are appropriate before you wink at anybody, particularly if you are not familiar with them.
Get it wrong and you may end up with a bad reputation, maybe even get you known as weirdo!