Except.. the sport of flirting. This is a game I’ve never aware that I’m part of, I’ve never voluntarily joined and the outcome rarely seems to results in a win.
Why? Because I’m a horrible flirt.
No, I’m not one of these people who manage to make every man in the room feel like Superman by flicking my hair, touching their arm and catching their eye at just the right moment before looking away coyly. No, I suck at flirting. I’m the one who’s most likely to punch you the arm, insult your facial hair and your intelligence then believe that I’m totally overdoing my come on. Now with hair that’s barely an inch, I’m bereft of the one thing I was capable of doing – twirling my hair – which leaves me with giggling, leaning in too close and batting my eyelashes. Not so much flirting as looking like I’m slightly retarded*.
Not only am I terrible at flirting, but I seem to have bypassed the line which enabled me to judge when someone is flirting with me. When it comes to reading the signs, I am apparently selectively autistic. Now women have over 40 different ways of flirting (well, other women), but men have only 10. Here are the main ones and I can say, hand on heart, I’ve never picked up on any of these in reference to myself in 42 years of life.
- Flared nostrils: My immediate thought would be is he angry? about to sneeze?
- Eyebrow flash (Quickly raising his eyebrows at the deliciousness that is you): I’d simply assume he was surprised or his Botox went askew, but nope.. apparently he’s interested
- A flirtatious smile: If I knew what a flirtatious smile looked like I’d not be writing this post.. how does it differ from a grin? or a leer? or a smirk? Argghhhh. What does a flirtatious smile look like and how do I differentiate it from just a smile? Is there a special sign I can look for? Like a tongue poking out or something?
- Intense eye contact: Now when I’m talking to someone I expect them to look in my general direction, but ‘intensely’? I’d simply assume he was a) deaf and reading my lips, b) ‘simple’ and trying to figure out what I meant by ‘whilst’ or c) psycho and mentally planning how to remove then cook my head.
- Chest and pelvis pointed in your direction: Short of getting on my knees and looking under the table, how on earth am I meant to judge the direction of a man’s pelvis? And even I know that’s not socially acceptable. Plus how can I tell if his chest is pointing at me unless he’s wearing a tight nippletastic t shirt? (which is a whole other post). Its not like they have boobs you can follow.. maybe his chest is pointing at me? Maybe its pointing at the cute dude behind the bar? How can I tell???? (I’ll be the one under the table)
- Touches your back, upper thigh or arms: Now after being single for a year I’m not used to anyone touching me unless they’re wearing a white lab coat and I’m addressing them as ‘doctor’. Which does make this sign an easier one for me to read – after all, anyone who touches me at all is noticeable. Except, except.. some people are natural touchers. They gesticulate a lot, they touch someone’s arm to make a point, they think nothing of touching a woman’s hair, putting a hand on a shoulder or giving a full body hug at the end of an evening. All of which signal ‘go time’ to me… are simply the way they are with everyone. So as I’m trying to remember when I last shaved my legs and whether I’m wearing the good black bra or the slightly gappy one.. he’s off to pick up Chinese food without a thought in the world. See how confusing it is?
- Laughing a lot: This one I can never tell. Am I just ‘on my game’ or is he a bit simple? Is he easily amused or has he been smoking some illicits’ in the car? Laughing like a drain is meant to signal that he’s receptive to you, but maybe he just doesn’t get out much? I for one would never take a laughing man as a signal of flirting..I’m not that funny. I’d be more likely to think he’s high. Which in Colorado, he probably is.
- Physical proximity: So if his shoulders are brushing up against yours, or his chair is really close to you, he leans in to say something or to catch what you’re saying.. all are signs that he’s flirting. Or you’re sitting in a loud and slightly crowded bar and he’s slightly deaf. Which, for most of the guys in my age range… probably the more likely cause. And any guy who gets in close to you outside of a bar… major creepo right?.
So those are the main ones which guys use. All of which to me are completely unreadable as anything other than normal social behavior of any guy I’ve ever know – on a date, in an office, as a friend or just rando man out in the world. I just can’t tell. Which of course means I’ve spent 20 years misreading the signals and ignoring the rest. Because here’s what exponentially complicates it for those of us not blessed in this department.
Some people flirt for sport. With no actual intention behind it at all.
So, I may have missed the raised eyebrows, the flared nostrils, the puffed out chest and the flirtatious smile.. but after an hour I finally notice that he’s touching my arm, stroking my hair and holding my gaze… it still might mean bupkiss. While I’m busy congratulating myself on this guy finally noticing me, or somehow looking past all of the obvious flaws to see the inner beauty that is moi, he’s actually wondering if is ex is available for a booty call. Because he’s a sport flirt. Just keeping his hand in. His skills sharp. It doesn’t take him any effort, he loves to see women respond and hey, nothing was actually said. He didn’t actually mislead anyone. Its all just good fun, right?
So here’s my ask of you sport flirts out there. I’m going to ask that you refrain from practicing on me. I’m generally too stupid to pick up on your signals and if you somehow do manage to penetrate the tectonic plate that is my brain, its so rare, I’m going to believe that its real. That you’re actually really interested in me. You know, as a woman.
Please target any other woman in the room, the office, the bar or the store…touch her arm, hold her gaze and laugh at her crap joke with abandon, but don’t sport flirt with me. Its just way too confusing. And pretty cruel to mock the afflicted. In fact, if you’d like to wear a special sporting shirt for the occasion that would make it even easier on me. Maybe carry a small sign? That way I could actually differentiate between the sporting flirt and the genuine dude trying to signal my attention. Well… you know… if I can ever figure out what a flirtatious smile looks like.
*Yes I know retarded isn’t a socially acceptable word anymore, but when I’m referencing myself, I think I’m allowed to choose the term which best applies. Which most often is ‘retarded’.