An F in flirting

4 Oct

manMap fails in flirtingOne of my wing-girls once told me that all women know how to flirt.

“Rubbish,” I’d replied. “I don’t know how to.”

“You do,” she’d said. “You just don’t realise it.”

I wasn’t convinced at the time and I’m still dubious. If we were naturally good flirters, wouldn’t we all be going on a lot more dates? And if it’s part of our genetic birth-right, why don’t we all feel comfortable with it?

The difficulty is I haven’t discovered a brand of flirting that feels right and is effective. I’ve watched hundreds of women flirt over the years: some almost entirely physical, some based in flattery, some honest and to the point. But of all the styles I’ve seen, I feel like nothing will fit.

No doubt this is for many reasons. I was one of those awkward and entirely self-conscious teenagers. I went to a small, single-sex school and never caught public transport because there wasn’t any where I lived, so I had limited exposure to boys. In my 20s I thought I probably would’ve been better off in a co-ed school, but now I wonder if I would’ve survived. Comparison with confident, clear-skinned, curvy girls might have finished me off. Suffering from ‘lack-of-older-sister’ syndrome made fashion and make-up a complete mystery to me. And while other girls were busy reading Cosmo and Cleo, I was happily working my way through the classics. Not an ideal combination of factors to prepare a girl for womanhood.

Although I’m over some of these hang-ups, the art of flirting still seems unattainable. I’m always up for a verbal exchange, it’s one of my favourite things. I love those moments when conversation is thrown back and forth until both parties are laughing too hard to go on. But replace a familiar repartee partner with an unknown guy in a bar then throw in some sexual energy for good measure, and it just doesn’t work as well.

My problem is it feels insincere because I’m not naturally one to wear my sex-life on my sleeve. If I’m flirting just for fun, say with a gay friend or an Italian restaurateur old enough to be my father, there’s no problem. The words come out of my mouth before I’ve even thought of them. But it’s just a game, and everyone participating knows that, so there’s nothing at stake.

But if there’s a guy I think I might actually like, I don’t want to play games. I want to get to know him. I want to see if he wants to get to know me. Sure, I want to have a bit of fun and a laugh, but I don’t want him to think I’m just after a piece of male meat.

So I put it out there to all my readers (guys I’d love to hear from you too!):

how does a woman get the get the right mix of sex and sincerity?

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7 Responses to “An F in flirting”

  1. James October 5, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    I think the right mix of sex and sincerity would be bucket-loads of both! I doubt many guys would see anything insincere in a woman acting flirtatiously – they’d just be enjoying the flattery.

    Throwing a risqué comment out there, even one that feels a bit uncomfortable, can be a good way to test the water.

    • Lucie Stevens October 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

      Well it’s good to know a woman can’t be too over the top.
      What would you say to the theory ‘just be yourself’ though, if yourself tends to be of the shy, non-flirtacous persuasion…false advertising or accepatable? Do men assume flirting will continue for a particular period of time?

      • James October 12, 2010 at 3:31 am #

        As my dad would say – a faint heart never won a fair lady (or man)… All the time I see nice shy people who get consistently passed over, because they don’t make it obvious what they are really like.

        It’s a sad reality, but I think being yourself needs a bit of a marketing push sometimes – I learned that eventually. Plenty of time later for someone to learn what’s under the surface.

  2. athenapallas October 7, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Athena was always averse to flirting unlike her rival Aphrodite but when Adonis came her way she forgot her warrior virgin status and gave the lovely A a run for her money. Trouble is she realised he was half her age and that all the older Gods that she had loved had carked it. What is an older goddess to do?

    • Lucie Stevens October 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

      All she can do is become a cougar and enjoy it!

  3. Catherine October 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m not sure exactly how to get the right balance, I just know that when you find it, it’s all about practice. You gotta flirt like it’s your job to fully become comfortable with it. I think flirting is as simple as a long stare, a random touch on the arm, REALLY paying attention when someone is talking with you, mirroring their actions. It doesn’t have to be blatant. But once you find something that works for you, just stick to it 🙂

    • Lucie Stevens October 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

      Thanks for visiting Catherine, your advice is reassuring! I can certainly do all the things you’ve mentioned. Maybe I do know how to flirt after all!
      Actually, a recent UTS study showed that regular eye contact is crucial for creating that ‘sixth sense’ people get when they’re attracted to someone and feel like they’ve known them longer than they really have. Maybe I’ll start wearing my glasses more when I’m out…

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