By Margaret Curtis, PhD
Body language starred at the VP debate. If a direct stare says, “I am ready to fight,” what do rolling eyes say? Statistics on Biden’s rolling eyes rolled right by commentators. Nevertheless, the viewer must wonder: Is this what senators and citizens get from the sitting VP?
Chatslang.com offers emoticons for this expression, in case anyone wants to message friends this way. The clearest visual symbol of those offered there may be 9_9. That website adds this translation: “Might mean the person is annoyed or frustrated.”
Urbandictionary.com doesn’t speculate. It declares rolling eyes mean “condescension, contempt, boredom, or exasperation.” In addition, it offers this example: “Nancy was rolling eyes during the entire conversation with her headmaster.” Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
Parents.com recommends 5 appropriate responses for parents when children roll their eyes. These include the simplest: “Say clearly as you walk out of the room, ‘I can’t be in the room with you when you roll your eyes.’” Their assumption is that only kids behave this way.
Put rolling eyes together with a cackling laugh and a determination to interrupt adults in the room, and the ensemble comes clear. Audiences have seen this character on TV before, just never at a VP debate. Did Joe Biden practice with Charlie Harper’s nephew?