The journal-based discussion went into laughter as a fear/startle/intimidation reaction, and the male handing out the jokes and the woman giggling is a classic "Hi! I am going to be the dominant partner in this relationship!" setup. (Aside: does this mean that my active quips in class, rather than my straight lines, were related to the urge I felt to take over the class when I felt the teacher wasn't teaching effectively? Because I tend to only hand out straight lines if the teacher had a certain level of control over the class.)
And evidently there's this socio-biological female response to male thing, where the female exposes the underside of her wrist to the male she fancies. For a while I was watching my body language around a certain bondmate, and noticing what the different bits meant. Crossing the wrists together with the undersides touching was a danger signal, self-protectiveness. Exposing same undersides to said bondmate meant submission, in the highly sexual way that a hen's crouch-and-wing-brace means submission.
And the distinct suite of memories from that era welled up. He would gently poke me with words every morning until I was startled into a giggle or a smile. It was a calculated attempt each time, a systematic search for the right combination. After I'm not quite sure how long, I noticed it. Then I began playing off it, withholding the smile or the snicker to see if he'd keep searching. And he would. Once I did smile, his grin flashed across his face big and brilliant: he had done it. He had gotten that smile out of me. And I'd smile wider: yes, he certainly had.
No wonder I was going so nuts back then over the communication disconnect. I was getting a lot of the right socio/biological responses. There was distinct chemistry. But ... things were not psychologically lining up.