imagesI recently had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by Sheila Lowe, forensic handwriting analyst. In addition to learning that my handwriting ranks somewhere between Elvis Presley and a serial killer, I also found out a lot about graphology. Can handwriting really be used for accurately analyzing personality as well as finding forgeries?

1. Handwriting is about space, form and movement – and not everything means something. 

Sheila uses the gestalt method – or ‘wholistic’ approach, meaning that she looks at the sample as a whole. This is different than the ‘personality traits’ method in which each characteristic is analyzed individually – for example, saying that the height of a certain letter indicates aggression.

2. Handwriting is a reflection of the energy happening inside of us – and sometimes, the results can be surprising. 

We all wear social masks, and handwriting supposedly gets to the inner core energy. And our ‘core’ personality doesn’t always reflect what’s on the surface – for example, Ms Lowe says that she was surprised that Angelina Jolie’s handwriting is ‘simplistic’ and reflective of a person who is under pressure and wants to protect herself. This flies in the face of her public image, where she does her own stunts, flies planes and bucks social conventions.

3. Handwriting can change.

Our handwriting may look different at different times, depending on how stressed we are or what is going on in our lives. As we mature or go through life changes, some of us have handwriting that develops or evolve to a more ordered  style, with a more measured use of space – while others, like Miley Cyrus, stay the same.

4. The white space is just as important as the letters. 

Many people focus on the letters, but Sheila explained that space is actually the most important part of handwriting. Space is also the most unconscious aspect of handwriting – and how much space we take up on the page supposedly represents our boundaries. The higher the letters, the bigger our ego –  while width represents our core self-esteem. Space on the page is a reflection of how much space we feel we deserve to take up in the world. Smushing letters together – like Casey Anthony – reflects disturbed space, and a short fuse.

5. Strong form doesn’t necessarily mean neat – and ‘disturbed’ handwriting isn’t just for serial killers. 

Actually, ‘strong form’ – which reflects self-confidence – can be messy and unconventional. Ms Lowe defines ‘weak form’ as the flowery cursive that we learned in school.  The movement is where we see balance in the writing, and weak movement indicates rigid, conventional thought patterns. She added that left-handed men have the worst writing of all. ‘Disturbed’ handwriting – where the words fall apart and have extreme variability (like my habit of putting block capitals in the middle of words!) supposedly means that I’m over emotional with no self-control and can’t stick to choices.

I think that this is absolutely ridiculous and I’m going to call her up right now and give her a piece of my mind! Then again, maybe I should just have a cup of coffee and calm down. 🙂

Plastic surgery decoded


What does ‘I haven’t had any work done’ really mean? Dolly Parton once famously said ‘there’s a reason the Hollywood Hills are in the same part of the country as Silicon Valley’. But in an era where laser hair removal is considered a part of everyday grooming, ‘I haven’t had plastic surgery’, seems to translate to ‘I’ve never sliced into my face’. For most people Botox, fillers and laser treatments don’t count. [. . .]

Plastic surgery: Why Chins are the new breasts

article-2300195-1530C50B000005DC-9_306x423Nightclub And Bar Convention
It’s official: The trout pout is out; the chin is in. The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Vicki Gunvalson and Teen Mom Farrah Abraham are among the celebrities who have been showing off noticeably more defined jawlines.Last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgery reported that the ‘chinplant’ was the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery procedure. But getting a ‘chimplant’ is not as simple as walking in with a Mr Potato Head profile and asking for the Christina Hendricks cleft. [. . .]

Tattoo Regret

The news that Miley Cyrus just got a ‘Love’ tattoo inside her ear reminded me of a dinner I had recently with some friends, where the conversation turned to painful body art. A cardiologist told me that when he does surgery on patients with tattoos he sometimes struggles to match up the words and scar tissue : When a woman came in a with ‘If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right’ inked across her chest, he didn’t want to change the context!

There are two schools of tattoo thought: Some, like Jordan, seem to believe that once a person is inked on your body, it’s part of history. She had her ex-husband ‘Peter Andre’ crossed off, but his name is still visible. Others try to erase the canvas: So Johnny Depp’s ‘Winona Forever’ became ‘Wino Forever’, and Angelina’s ‘Billy Bob’ is gone.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not anti-tattoo. My best friend has several, and all of them are amazing. But if I ever get one, I will steer clear of:

1. Anything with foreign characters I can’t read

Because if you get drunk or piss the wrong person off, that Chinese lettering that you think stands for ‘virility’ could end up reading mean ‘dog man’.

2. The name of a husband or lover.

Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Do you really want your new man to have to stare up at ‘Guido’ forever?

3. Anyone’s face. Ever. (As my friend pointed out, cartoons, historical figures and fictional characters are ok because they won’t be around to harass you or cause you regret later!) :)

No, not even your kids. They will eventually grow up. Embarrassing photos should stay stashed in the closet, not inked on dad’s shoulder.

4. Finger Moustaches.

Enough said. They were funny for about five seconds, and it would have been a lot funnier if it had been permanent marker that washed off afterwards.

5. Typos

‘Beautiful Tradgedy’? Yeah, you are. But not for the reason you think.

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