Flirters Anonymous Part I

Comments from Mike below...


July 11, 2003

You know, I don't think we give enough credit to flirting. I think most people would agree that flirting is pretty fun. For the most part, the silliness and casualness of flirting makes us feel good. But the thing is, flirting is much more than just casual fun. It's a fundamental component of human interactions. We all do it. It's a basic instinct-A part of human nature. And if we think about it, flirting (not to mention hormones) may very well be at the cornerstone of our continued existence. Flirting helps us to initiate contact and express interest in members of the opposite sex. Without this essential first step, we wouldn't progress to reproduction (a.k.a. "hooking up"), leading to the extinction of our species (Humor me and pretend we don't have sperm banks, in vitro fertilization, etc.).

Despite its critical role in human survival, flirting has a somewhat sullied reputation. While we all do it, many of us refuse to admit it. Calling someone a flirt usually results in commotions of embarrassment, discomfort, screaming, yelping, and denial. It seems to me that most of us need to go through some sort of a 12 Step process to come to terms with our innate tendencies to flirt. So let us begin….

What may help alleviate the trauma of acknowledging that we're flirts is realizing that there are different types of flirts, and that some flirting is more benign than others. For example, there's Friendly Flirting. As a friend put it, this type of flirting is "sans lust." This is perhaps one of the most common forms of flirting that takes place among and because we're nice, friendly people. We engage in friendly flirting to be amicable and to let others know that we think they're (platonically) nice. Related to Friendly Flirting, and perhaps even more common is Unintentional Flirting. Here, fun-loving, nice people flirt without even knowing that they're doing it. They think they're just being "silly" or "friendly" and so engage in this unintentional flirting with basically anyone-from the cashier at the local Target to the Joe leaning against a lamppost on the street. Then there's what my friend Mike calls Smidgen of Lust Flirting, where you find the other person nice, friendly and attractive and are testing the waters to see exactly how nice they really are. Of course there's also the Randy Flirting, where you'd like to have some "needs" met, and thus try to be hot/attractive in order to find someone who also has "needs" so you can help each other out. In short, the soul purpose of this type of flirting is to hook up. But then there's also the Creepy Flirting. This heebie-jeebies inducing type of flirting occurs when one person takes being "nice" and "friendly" a little too far and engage in inappropriate/unwelcome flirting (e.g., staring at a person for too long, staring at a woman's breasts, touching inappropriately, etc.).

Certainly, this isn't an exhaustive list of the types of flirts. All sorts of flirts exist, and different types of people engage in different types of flirting (please send in any other types of flirts you know). And, dependent on the situation, people may engage in or be capable of different types of flirting (e.g., situations with alcohol and situations without alcohol). Regardless of the type of flirt that you are, just know that there's nothing shameful about flirting (Okay, maybe the Creepy Flirting is a tad reprehensible). For the most part, there's nothing wrong with flirting-It's natural, it's normal, and it's fun.

Okay, let's take that first step. All together now…."Hi, my name is ___ and I'm a flirt."


July 15, 2003

I love the piece, but you left out one of the most important parts - that is, the harder you try to flirt the worse it is for both parties. Some people are able to flirt insincerely, yet effectively - but most of us, if we try we look like the big old geeks we are. Maybe that's why flirting is such a fascinating thing because when it works, it is fun as hell - but when it doesn't .... In fact, I have had friends over the years that like the game of flirting more than the actual hooking-up. I won't mention names here, but it is not that they don't like the post-game celebration, but it is the game itself that is most titilating and interesting.

Mike


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