Show and Tell: Meet the Performer!

19.02.2018 |

Episode #8 of the course How to analyze signatures by Annette Poizner


“All the world’s a stage.” —William Shakespeare, English author

We know them. We watch them on TV. Sometimes we even elect them. They are larger than life and inevitably find a place in the helm of families and organizations. They love being the center of attention. Let’s call them performers.

In terms of handwriting, you will know them by large embellishments in signatures that seem to cry out, “Notice me!” Or the handwriting/signature itself can be so large, you can’t not notice.

Remember Joan Crawford, a movie star from yesteryear? Her bloated signature with the dramatic and emphatic underscore indicates a need to be center stage.

Signature of Joan Crawford

Signature of Joan Crawford

Her adopted daughter wrote a best-seller claiming that Crawford was a violent, abusive alcoholic. Though not all people of this type have skeletons in the closet, we can say these individuals carefully manage the impressions that others have of them.

We actually see it in the handwriting here. Note how there is an enclosed oval that protectively claws back several letters from her last name, as if carefully hiding aspects of self that she wishes to hide. The person who panders to the public eye will often show themselves larger than life on one hand, while simultaneously siphoning off aspects of self that are, metaphorically speaking, for their eyes only.

Signature of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Signature of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

See the same phenomenon in the signature of Canada’s Prime Minister. Note how Trudeau’s signature has many bells and whistles, embellishments that look playful and dramatic. His signature shows us a playful writer who loves special effects. Based on that signature, we would describe him as “expressive,” creative, or artistic. His handwriting more closely resembles that of a drama teacher (his former career) than that of a politician.

Like Crawford, Trudeau also lassoes letters in his signature, as if creating a little safety net to harbor private bits set off from public consumption. As we noted earlier, Obama does the same in his signature. Some letters are locked away, safely enclosed in a capsule.

Signature of Former President Barack Obama

Signature of Former President Barack Obama

Back to Trudeau. See how he actually embeds a little icon? Look closely. Do you see the profile of a bald man facing the right with glasses and a nose? Seeing this glyph, the graphologist interprets the writer to be strongly visual, a watcher who likes being watched.

Before Trudeau ran for Prime Minister, there were rumors that he would be a candidate in the next election. Several years ago, he was a passenger on an airplane, and another traveler passed him a handwritten note: “Can you really beat Harper [the former Prime Minister of Canada]?” Trudeau wrote his answer and passed it back: “Just watch me.” Trudeau’s use of that line had him echoing the words of his famous father, former Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau, who had coined that phrase when dealing with a national emergency. Beyond that association, though, the phrase would seem to be the life motto of one who plays to the audience, as indicated by a signature that bespeaks showmanship.

Tomorrow, we will learn about the symbols that writers inadvertently embed in handwriting. We express ourselves in words but also draw pictures in our handwriting, depicting our interests, our talents, and core aspects of our identities.


Recommended reading

Learn about “Performer” Paula Deen


Share with friends