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

I don't think that there's *anyone* who wouldn't think those sorts of things are clearly in the realm of a sexual proposition. The gray area is more like when potentially ordinary conversation goes on but is... kinda "friendly".
Right, and that's where things get complicated. How "friendly" is "friendly" anyway?
As friendly as someone who is innately very open and friendly (without quotes) with this other aspect that I can explain. It's like the Matrix "No one can be told what the Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself."

I think of it like a little L-shaped piece of metal. A long spine with a tiny provoking hook-bit on the end that just sticks out and gets people reacting. Ideally, this is a pleasant reaction--though a reaction halfway between pure friendly (0 degrees) and purely resistant (180 degrees) will get you the most result. I prefer to err on the side of friendliness, since that tends to keep 'em around for a next shot.

Sounds like you can tell the difference between black and white--just need practice on the gray shades. No matter what I can say here, nothing's as good as the learning that one can get only from real-life practice in a sacrificeable situation. (I could go on about how to subtract or to divide by a fraction for pages, but getting some practice on paper where you can screw up and pretend afterward like it didn't happen and only carry away the lessons is the only useful option beyond a certain point of instruction, for a general example.)

There's a cool fusion of offendedness and pleasedness where the two feed off each other to reach an extraordinary height of reaction. It's a sequence, the value of the nth term of which approaches 0 as n approaches infinity, and whose series approaches some finite (but remarkably high for its context) value as n approaches infinity.

If that's not enough to help, I'm sorry; I've reach the limit of my ability to provide value in this context at this moment.
People say I'm a flirt. It's pretty much a matter of having a pleasant yet not too serious expression, and making a slightly witty comment that lets the other person know you noticed something nice about them. The interaction doesn't have to "go anywhere," it just reminds people that they still have blood in their veins. Never, never cross the line into being pouting, simpering, or slutty. Never wink (you listening, Palin?) I am nobody's "little girl," but I might be the hostess of an 18th century salon. It's summer, carry a nice fan.
I must agree with Juliet. I think most of u have the wrong impression of flirting. Flirting IS a game, flirting IS a sport (same thang). No matter how much u may hate to hear it or claim u don't do it; everyone one plays games. Life is a game but we all have our own rules and flirting is just an aspect of that game. (don't say u don't play games cause each one of u already admitted to RULE u go by) With some of u it's for base reasons and some like me it's because it's a natural part of our personnality. It makes others feel good and don't ALWAYS have to lead anywhere. I can be as casual as a wink, or a blantantly sexual enuendo. It's all based on the recipient. The ingnorant flirtier will chose the wrong method for a recipient and so cause them to be uncomfortable in which case it does not feel like flirtation but violation. U say u don't know how to flirt? Have u every smiled at someone? That is flirting. (yes depending on the recipient, it's not if it's to ur son/daughter/ etc but to a stranger passing...yes) It does not neccessarily mean u r interested. Flirtations can be anywhere from a touch, look, sound or smell. Get it? Good, now us it. Be aware of it. Even if u don't "get someone" out of it u will get and give something good out of it if u do it right. (that wonderful dopamine that we produce so naturally ;))
Holy crap, that pwns it. The ingnorant flirtier will chose the wrong method for a recipient and so cause them to be uncomfortable in which case it does not feel like flirtation but violation. In addition to being the best-spelled sentence out of that paragraph, this sounds like something I'd've said had I put my mind to it, in my weird Hagakure-influenced style.
Flirting can be great fun, but when people aren't savvy about it, it can be very confusing and frustrating for them. Some men see flirting as sexually provocative behavior and thus as a clear indication the woman wants sex with them. If the only thing the men can then think about is having sex, the flirting could have derailed the process of the two people getting to know each other.

If all that two people want from each other is casual sex, or if they think it makes sense to have sex first and *then* find out if they're a good match for each other, that's one thing. But if not, flirting might be counterproductive, at least for some people who have trouble keeping it in perspective.

BTW, I've often flirted back when a guy initiates the flirting (often only attractive, confident men flirt, although a guy can have a great sense of humor and not be terrific in the looks department). Somehow it seems safer when a guy initiates it; by doing that, he's indicated he's experienced with flirting. Flirting is often very humorous, too, so the humor alone is fun!

I guess that falls into the flirtatious category, but it's surely not gonna work on the top end of the spectrum very well. It's infinitely better than nothing, don't get me wrong, but it's about the second or fifth farthest thing from as good as it gets out of thousands of increments.
Well, just don't try: That perfume smells good on you.
While we're on the topic, eh, I wonder how useful asking a woman how long it took her to get ready turns out. I mean it derisively, most of the time, since most women, I find, have overallocated their time and effort toward a bad idea of "being feminine" that they'll later eschew as their bodies deform from them having performed their biological function, leaving them in a strange mental-exploratory state at a much greater age than that at which they should have started.
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. It didn't make sense to me at the time because I thought I'd want to know clearly that someone likes me right away, so why is this a problem? Women do think differently than men though. They like a mystery, a challenge, etc. Of course there are always exceptions, but generally that is the case.
"Flirtation is something indistinguishable from normal conversation at a distance or at low levels."

me thinks you could just be generalizing....as you said, when the real flirtation happens its subtle...hence, easy to miss...we tend to see the manwhores and uberslutz standing out like sore thumbs...its not a thumb i take particular issue with...i've had my trashy moments, and i offer no apology...but from the true flirts tend to slip through the cracks.




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