A new study conducted informally by me by observing people shows that nobody knows how to flirt.

Men don't know how to do it. Women don't know how to do it.

This is the source of the great divide [when there is one] between the sexual side of the [a] person and the simple-social side, as flirtation is the bridge.

I suppose flirtation doesn't happen as often even among people between whom it would be apt because they're not serious to any degree and they feel like they'd just be being a tease to flirt and not follow up [with more, like, commitment-y, on-off binary relationship-y stuff], so, wanting to be nice people and seeing flirtation without [such] follow-through as rude, they abstain from flirtation in the first place.

Worsening the divide are the loose freaks who are in opposition to the stance that people who [just] want to get along well in society hold. I'm talking about the "loose" people: manwhores and pairs to [of] women that troll together for three-ways with strange men, and such and the like. Noting these freaks' "flirtations", the good people of society don't want to do anything that could make others confuse them with those freaks, so the chasm has a fence erected around it.

Really, the "flirtations" of such people are to flirtation as methamphetamine is to dopamine. It may simulate it and be indistinguishable [from it] without analysis [(according to the brain, in the case of meth)] but it is fundamentally a different thing. Back in metaphor-land, the manwhores and ubersluts are launching themselves across the chasm in a freaking CANNON. It gets them across, but it is fundamentally different from the bridge that genuine [actual] flirtation is.

While these cannonballs fly across, people forget about bridges and simply resign themselves to these drastic measures and an unscientific, gambling style of finding their way to the other side each time.

Only the [archetypical] massive failures ever get [have gotten] popularized, and those who've never been exposed to realm of flirtation at all [only] get a view of it as [being] mostly made of [instances of] guys being retards, women hurting others' feelings [in wholesale-ly rejecting them], and of random pairs of men and women meeting [each other], being in friggin' love immediately, and each seeking the other from Millisecond One. With only so polarized a set of representations [available to most people], the [that] highly multi-shaded [portion of the real] world that falls in [is] the realm of flirtation is left with its subtle darks and lights of grey indistinguishable from each other to those 'most people' without loads of practice.

Flirtation is not something that you can 'jump' straight into [at all]. Flirtation is something indistinguishable from normal conversation at a distance or at low levels. It will start as an interaction that can go anywhere,--to flirtation etc., to a fight, to a business arrangement, or anywhere else--and then the character of the interaction may get changed by changes in the content which happen in ways that may be sudden yet subtle, subtle yet sudden, or somewhere in between. The misconception of flirtation being like a pool where you can just jump in--[having a distinct, switch-like, on-off state]--has hurt a lot of people and opportunities.

[Editted, uglified, and sensible-ized on 19Mar2010]

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Replies to This Discussion

"Flirting can be a problem when you think very logically, or are not socially experienced. I had this problem when I was younger. I'd make it so obvious that I liked someone right away that I would come off as needy."
Growing up I had a simular problem except just the opposite affect. I was shy (am still when it comes to approaching women) but was a great flirt. (have been told so) I could initiate flirting with any woman that I was not romanticly interested in but went blank with the ones I had crushes on.
Actually Stephen that wasn't bad. (...beautiful eyes..) It's just sounds lame in print. It's much better vocally and with the right sincerity. I know I suck when it come to flirting in print. Especially if it's an original comp.
I wrote a response but it disappeared. Just as well. I admitted that I can't flirt. :-)

Flirting is a complicated thing. Some people like myself do it very little and probably are not even aware that they are doing it when they do. I would never be comfortable consciously, deliberately, engaging in premeditated flirtation. I would be self-conscious and it would be a disaster. Flirting is so very much a mater of your personality, I don't think it is something you can learn from a book. It is even more difficult for those of us who do not have a flirtatious personality to do it on line because there is no immediate non-verbal feedback.

It is partly a mater of how comfortable you are with offending others and being rejected. Bare in mind that the same behavior is interpreted drastically differently depending on your sex and how attractive you are. An attractive young person can get away with far more than an older or less attractive person. So on-line you're expected to judge your relative market value based on very little information about the person with whom you are flirting. A risky situation. You wouldn't want to be called a "dirty old man," would you? ;-)
Why can't I just beat up another male to prove my superiority?
Well Duh! What a dufus! Know your species and medium.

Don't you know you're human? Therefore you need to do it subtly with weapons like humor and sarcasm, also know on-line as "snark." ;-)
My excuse is that my religious upbringing taught me to fear men and that I should never approach one.

I took a "purity pledge" at 13 and wore a purity ring.

God made me socially dysfunctional!
Flirting is easy!

Watch this:

Hey baby, you got a heart of gold and breasts like diamonds.

Voila. if that doesnt score, then i dunno what to say!
In my experience, most men either come on too strong or not at all. Promising men are able to flirt in the grey area, complimenting both my intellect and attractiveness equally and thereby getting a friendly, mutually flirtatious response. I don't care if it's sudden so long as it's some shade of subtle.
As an aside, men from South America and some parts of Europe seem to know how to flirt. Purrr.

To be honest though, as fun as flirting is, it's not on my list of requirements in a long term mate.
It's all about being as vague as possible, "Hey girl, you into that thing that most people are into? cause that's pretty cool... I like that one thing about you, you know, whatever it is about you that you are confident about." then you make a poetic comparison between them and something around you, "you're like...uh.....this coffee, you get all attached to my adenosine receptors and stop me from metabolizing norepinephrine and norepinephrine-like chemicals. Just so much dopamine in my synapses right now. yeah"
Coyote, that is one sweet pickup line. It's way better than my usual: "I'm not a stalker! Don't hurt me!"
Flirting not hard. It's pretty much second nature to most people. And it comes when your NOT trying. It's when you consciously try to flirt is when poeple get into trouble.
For example I just ran a few days worth of "fliting" on another thread. No harm, no fowl. Until Hatters inter the mix. Open forums are not a good spot for flirting.
"It's pretty much second nature to most people."

At first, to this I thought "Nuh-uh". Then, I thought some thoughts along that line.

...Then I remembered the things that I used to say before I knew that those sorts of things would get certain kinds of reactions that they get. "Say what?" Yeeeah... Y'know those things that, if you say them, induce people to call you a jerk in a really rather pleasant kind of way? That sort of thing.

Thus, there may be some validity to your assertion, but it still rides contrary to most of my evidence.


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