If you're waiting for this season of Bachelor in Paradise to move past the drawn-out will-they-or-won't-they storyline between Colton Underwood and Tia Booth, yeah, I'm right there with you. The two episodes last week revealed Booth wants Underwood, Underwood isn't sure who or what he wants, but he and Booth did make out on dates. Tia Booth and Colton Underwood's body language on Bachelor in Paradise shows that they're both closed off to one another and frustrated with their situation, according to experts.
When Underwood arrived to Paradise, he was given a date card. After talking to different women — notably not saying hello to Booth first — he asked Booth out on the date. They went on jet skis, sprawled out on a yacht, and kissed. Seemed pretty standard for your Bachelor franchise date, albeit maybe a little over-the-top for a Paradise one. (Drama equals better dates, perhaps.)
Underwood told Booth he's unsure of what he wants, and was pretty unaffected by her telling him she kissed Chris Randone before he arrived. Underwood's lackadaisical response prompted Booth to say that no other women would give Underwood a rose. This turned out to be false when Bibiana Julian handed Underwood her rose, securing his stay.
I spoke to body language experts Lisa Mitchell and Blanca Cobb to look into what Booth and Underwood's body language on their date, and later, their pre-rose ceremony conversation, revealed beyond just the words they said to one another.
While on their date, Booth sat backwards on the jet ski and kissed Underwood. Her hands are on his legs, and he's holding her arms while leaning into her.
"Neither is really making the extra effort to claim space or close the gap between their torsos for greater skin-on-skin contact as you normally see between people that are really into each other and wanting to be together," Mitchell tells Elite Daily.
Cobb says that the couple's kiss on the yacht is telling.
"[Booth] is embracing him by having her arm around his shoulder and pulling him closer to her," Cobb tells Elite Daily. "Even though [Underwood's] body is angled towards [Booth], he still maintains his distance. He keeps his hands within his body frame. Definitely not what you’d expect from a couple who’s into each other."
While they're talking, though, Cobb says that Booth appears more guarded, while Underwood seems more open.
"When they’re sitting on the yacht talking, [Underwood] is giving [Booth] his undivided attention," Cobb says. "Look at the way he’s laying on his side and facing her — from head to toe. [Booth] is maintaining her distance, she’s only looking at him, while her body angles away from his."
In the conversation Underwood and Booth had before the rose ceremony, both Mitchell and Cobb think things don't look too bright for the Paradise couple.
"You can see that he actually leans further away from her and he has an [angry] micro-expression on his face, indicated by his lips being in a tight line and his eyes being slightly narrowed," Mitchell says. "His left hand, on the arm that [Booth] touches also changes position into a more aggressive claw-like position, as opposed to a relaxed flat hand, another signal of anger."
"[Underwood's] body is screaming that he’s not digging this conversation," Cobb agrees. "He wants an escape. Notice how he’s pulling back from [Booth]. His pull back, look away, facial expression and tight lips signal that her touch on his arm is meaningless. And look at his fingertips digging into his knee — not a good sign."
Mitchell also noticed Underwood's hands on his knee.
She says it's a "self-soothing gesture that people will use to help calm them down in stressful or nervous situations."
"[Booth's] uncomfortable too, but not to the same degree as [Underwood]. She’s subconsciously using her right leg as a psychological and physical barrier. When you cross your leg that’s closest to a person you’re talking to over your other leg it looks like a barrier. It’s a non-verbal way of saying that you’re feeling disconnected to and uncomfortable with someone."
Mitchell agrees about Booth creating barriers from Underwood with her body.
"When looking at [Booth], she is crossing her legs away from [Underwood] indicating that she's creating distance between them," Mitchell says. "She also has her arms crossed in front of her torso, which is a type of protective gesture. We cover or hold objects in front of our torso when we are feeling vulnerable or looking for additional security or space between us and someone else."
While Underwood later admit that he still cares for Booth — which is why he told her that Randone kissed Krystal Nielson — only the future episodes will reveal whether or not this Paradise couple works things out.