Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some Notes on Flirtation

  • Flirtation works best between two available parties or two unavailable ones, not mixed company.
  • The "neg" is overrated, and arguably can't even be classed as flirtation. Apparent indifference is more effective than outright insults. Apparent indifference followed by an unexpected compliment is highly effective.
  • Negs made in jest, however -- self-aware negs? negative negs? -- are fair game.
  • Homosexual men are often excellent at flirting with women, proving that the pleasure of flirtation is not based in potential for sex.
  • When you're accustomed to harmless flirtation, it's easy to forget that flirtation can be harmful.
  • It is possible to skip flirtation altogether and simply begin dating. However, for some it is nearly impossible to evaluate compatibility and attraction in the absence of preliminary flirtation, and this is one of the major flaws of the Internet dating model.
  • The problem with ambiguous messages is that innocent bystanders may think the message is intended for them, and vice versa: the person for whom the message is intended may assume it's directed elsewhere. Of course, this is also a benefit.

19 comments:

  1. well, it's not really a flaw with internet dating. aside from flirting online (which i realize isn't the same), you can flirt on the first date. and if it doesn't work out, no biggie. the worst that can happen is that you've wasted an hour of your evening, and in new york the night is always young.

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  2. also, i have to say, i'd feel weird about flirting with someone if i was in a relationship. for me, the goal really is eventual sex.

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  3. I would say, if you're on a date, it's not flirting, because flirting must entail ambiguity.

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  4. Also, for some people, flirting is just a way of interacting. John flirts with waitresses right in front of me. It ain't no thang.

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  5. well, if you say it i believe it, but that idea is just foreign to me—if someone is flirting with me (not that it happens often) i assume it's because they're "interested" in me. i never assume it's platonic. perhaps this is a source of my many disappointments.

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  6. Aimless flirting is part of the adult paradigm.

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  7. yet another sign that i'm not an adult!

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  8. Elevators are hotbeds of intense flirting. Trust me on this.

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  9. I agree about flirting while on an actual date (i.e. flirting with the person you're on the date with) -- it would just feel weird to do that. And would probably be weird. Or would at least be likely to be misinterpreted.

    It makes sense to me that the absence of flirtation could be a flaw of the internet dating model. On a slight tangent maybe, I also perceive the absence of flirtation, as it were, as a flaw in the online bookstore model (Amazon etc.) as opposed to the brick-and-mortar bookstore model.

    Some of the best flirting I've encountered, and participated in, has been at open-mike poetry readings. I think it has to do with the high level of enjoyment of wordplay one can find at such gatherings.

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  10. Ah, nice! I like the connection between online dating and online shopping.

    I find good flirtation often occurs between strangers at parties while refilling drinks.

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  11. Apparently, I'm not up-to-date on the latest flirtation lingo. What's "the neg"? Is that the equivalent of dipping the pigtail of the cute girl who sits at the desk in front of you into the inkwell, just to get her attention albeit negative?

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  12. Also, to be a good flirter, the flirter must have 0 percent expectations of the person they're flirting with, e.g., what did John expect of the waitress? Maybe that she bring your food out at some point but that's about it.

    This is probably why gay men are good at flirting with women. Great flirters are like great gift givers. They throw the good stuff out into the universe, hope it's well received, and then go about their biz. Bad flirters are like bad gift givers. They put some good stuff out there and then wait around, tapping their fingers, and eventually get really pissed and disappointed when nothing good swings back their way.

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  13. Ah, the entitlement of the bad flirter. It's like those guys who bitch about how women only like jerks and that's why they're single, when they are in fact jerks.

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  14. the homosexual flirting thing is kind of true. Okay it is true. But it's a slippery slope, and you don't always know you're descending. Actually it's complicated, to use a tired phrase. It's nice sometimes to know that flirting will not lead to sex. That it's sometimes about wit and charisma and chemistry alone, or can be. The problem is that in this scenario often only one person is seeing it that way. The other one is like, so, great, so, you really are, like, totally gay, then. But for men especially, even gay ones, it can be a relief to engage in a flirtation that can't or won't lead to sex. Sex can be kind of exhausting, and it can make the flirtation seem like that one last promised toke off the crack pipe before recovery.

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  15. guys like that are jerks. i try not to be one of them. i actually feel the opposite of entitled:)

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  16. (i was referring to the guys in liz's and elisa's comments, just to be clear)

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  17. It's okay. I'm sort of a jerk too, in case anyone thought you meant me.

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  18. Brian, yeah, I think it's kind of similar to the difference between flirting when you're single and flirting when you're in a long-term relationship. In the second case, most people will assume you're just a flirtatious person, in the first, in my experience, men will assume it's a signal, so you have to be all hyperconscious of it, which is exhausting.

    Matt, first I thought you wrote "girls like that are jerks" and I was wondering if there ARE women like that -- probably, but I've never met them.

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