The Art Of Flirting (And How To Do It)
Is your best pick up line "You must be a keg, because I wanna tap that ass?" If so, you need to learn to flirt like a real man. Now.
A lot of men struggle with the basic concept of flirting. I've seen it myself with friends looking to hook up with a girl in a bar who tried everything in their tired and clich?d arsenal of pick up lines. Believe it or not, the following quote is not going to help you get the girl:
My love for you is like diarrhea, I just can?t hold it in. Source: CO-ED Magazine
The main problem guys have with flirting is that they relate it directly to sex. If I flirt with the girl for long enough, she's more likely to have sex with me. Women, on the other hand, view flirting as nothing more than some harmless fun with no determined end-game.
The differences between male and female flirting
Dutch-born psychoanalyst Manfred Kets de Vries blames the male super-ego. "A man behaving selfishly will ignore the implicit conduct of flirting in the blatant pursuit of sex." He's basically saying that if we were in a cave, the man would fling the woman over his shoulder and stomp away.
As far as human behaviours are concerned, flirting is the one that confuses us most. According to evolutionary psychologists flirting is man's way of engaging pleasurably with a member of the opposite sex, with the ultimate goal of reproduction. Now call me crazy, but most men looking to pick up a girl are not thinking about having children with the woman! Regardless, women view flirting as a way of checking out the merchandise without compromising their virtue. So women use flirting to get attention, and men use it to initiate sex - but how do you untangle this web of crossed wires?
The key to flirting successfully
You'd think that common sense might help you to flirt more successfully, but you'd be wrong. And here's why. Dr Antonio Darmasio, MD and head of neurology at the University of Iowa, claims that the reason it all goes wrong is because the process of flirting actually mimics brain damage. "The limbic system, responding to a cue that says 'this person is attractive', overrides the neo-cortex. Therefore, for a brief moment, we are completely out of control." Now this quote won't hold up in court should you ever get too out of control with a girl but it does explain why we struggle to flirt.
Understanding the brain's response to flirting should help us to engage with women on their level, rather than as a covert operation to get naked with her! Here are some ideas for flirting successfully without coming across like a sex-crazed lunatic:
Keep contact to a minimum. Nothing is more powerful in the flirting world than well-timed and placed body contact. Touching a woman should be the same as using your Diesel Fuel For Life aftershave. Use With Caution! If you overdo it, you'll appear overbearing and creepy. The best times to engage physical contact are when you're standing together or when putting her coat on. When standing together you can lean in close and place your hand on the small of hear back, as if you were telling her a secret. Putting her coat on at the end of the evening allows you to lift her hair up over the back of her coat. Very subtle and sensual but she will notice.
Avoid over-confidence. If you've got all the right words and know exactly what to say to get her interested in you, there is a danger that she'll take you as one of those slippery guys who have played women one too many times. She'll be imagining you as the guy who flirts for sport and prefers the thrill of the chase to the catch. I've known a few of these cads myself and although he was successful with the women, it never amounted to more than a one night stand. That's not being a man at all.
Don't play it too cool. Some guys prefer to take the 'mysterious and cool' approach by appearing dark and brooding from afar. This is all well and good but be aware than you have a limited window of opportunity to talk to her before you turn into the weird stalker who won't stop looking at her. Another downside to this method is the tendency to sit and watch as other guys attempt to talk to the object of your affection. Don't sit and sulk in the corner giving the death stare to any man who dares talk to your woman. You'll come across as jealous and lacking in self confidence. Both unbecoming character traits. Instead, enjoy your evening and when she is available, just head over and talk to her. It's really not rocket science!
Don't flirt with every girl in the bar. Women talk. With their friends and with strangers at the bar or in the toilet. Find a girl you're interested in and focus on her. If it doesn't work out then you might need to move on to the next place to find somebody else. Women will be extremely wary of a man who she has seen talking to other women in the club. You may be a masterful flirt, but you're seeking an audience and in the end you're only amusing yourself and are not really that interested in any of the women. They'll pick up on it and before you know it you'll be known as the annoying guy who sends dirty text messages an hour after meeting someone in a bar.
Technology and it's impact on flirting
Technology has added an entirely new dimension to the flirting game. You can now use text, e-mail and instant messenger to flirt, but you find yourself trying to become a wordsmith to formulate the perfect combination of words. It's now a digital minefield as well. However, I think that if used correctly, communicating in this way can help you to become more successful. Here's why:
You have time to think about your message. Rather than being put on the spot in a face-to-face setting, you have time to put together a message or a reply without having to do it immediately. This removes the pressure and allows you to flirt more effectively.
You can be more open via text. Things you would never dare to say in person can now be said through a message. The beauty of this is that if she takes it the wrong way you can say it was a joke but the message didn't convey the sarcastic tone intended (yes, I have used that before to get out of an inappropriate text) or you can be a little unscrupulous and just never speak to her again.
What you say in text messages often becomes what you say in real life. Back in the single days I was a bit of a master at the whole text flirting game, regularly with 4 or 5 women texting me at any given time. As my confidence grew, I found there was a great deal of transference from my text game to my face-to-face game. I was more open, more outrageous and more confident and the end result was that approaching women was easier and more successful than ever before.
Now, obviously I'm not a psychologist or psychoanalyst but I am a self-taught flirt with a lot of experience and a lot of success. My final advice to you is to flirt wherever you can. Build up your confidence talking to waitresses, barmaids, checkout girls, or even your friends mother! There's no harm in flirting and it will boost your confidence so that when you meet someone you really like, you know what to do.
If you've had some great flirting experiences or know a method that's worked wonders for you in the past, then let us know in the comments.
For more information on flirting and picking up women, Just A Guy Thing highly recommends The Art of Approaching, a no-nonsense guide to meeting girls that actually works.
photo credit: Glenn Loos-Austin