Saturday, August 30, 2008

Flirtation 101

“How do you do it?”

My girlfriends keep asking me this question on how of all people, I manage to have an “interesting” life, when in reality I am the most unlikely to have one. Anyone who knows me and my routine would understand that my life is hectic. Being a single parent and a corporate financier in a major financial city is no joke. Back in the old days, I worked 70++hrs a week for at least 8 weeks straight while still breastfeeding my girl (once I worked from 9am till 5 am for 5 days in a row! Yup, 3 hrs of sleep on average.). These days, I am lucky. Hours arent as bad as before.

And no, I dont have the supermodel look but somehow, I hang out with men who can easily get those kind. So how do I do it? Beats me but I think the following article can help most women out there:

Should you put the breaks in flirting?

Scientists tell us that females of all cultures make sexual connections through sequences of specific flirting behaviors. The ethologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt captured this on film some 30 years ago, with a camera that appeared to point in one direction while actually shooting in another. He found that women of all languages, classes and religious backgrounds attracted men through the same gestures.
The bottom line (pardon the pun) is that buttock tilting and back swaying come about as naturally to me as spaceflight. Though flirting is supposedly wired into our brains, my brain appears to have shorted out in regard to giggling and licking my lips. And yet even I have stumbled upon a set of seductive behaviors that work surprisingly well for me. If you share my chronic back spasms and total lack of sexual self-confidence, you too might find them useful.

Step 1: Identify a specific person with whom you really, truly want to have sex
Now, that I can understand. To actually have sex, I must be not only in love but also in full legal possession of the other party's medical records. The advantage of this approach is that what you miss in casual thrills, you gain in long-term compatibility. That initial spark of interest leads not to the nearest motel room but to the prolonged scrutiny you would give an unrecognizable substance before deciding to include it in a cake.
If you consistently wake up next to people you no longer respect, try doing deliberately what I do involuntarily: Hold in your mind a vivid picture of a genital wart. (The Internet provides plenty, and I am here to tell you, they're the opposite of pornographic.)
Superimpose this image over the dashing smile of that cute guy at the bar. This should give you pause -- a pause you can use to investigate whether the dashing smile is backed up by kindness, humor, honesty, and other qualities you probably want in a mate.
If you do this, you're on the verge of discovering something amazing: Simple, sustained attention can be more powerfully seductive than all the eyelash-fluttering, tongue-flicking, back-swaying displays that make men want to fondle the likes of Cathy and prescribe seizure medication for the likes of me.

Step 2: Lust for the other person's subjective experience
Here is the secret of sexual success for the confidence impaired: While people will decide to have casual sex with you based on how you look, they'll decide to have meaningful sex with you based on how you see.
The reason I've managed to make the connections I desired is that I'm fascinated by people's stories. Beneath the small-talk surface, every life is a fascinating novel, so I always follow the suggestion from Proverbs 4:7, "With all thy getting get understanding." This directive means stand under, in the relatively lowly position of student, and let whomever we're trying to understand occupy the high ground of teacher. And -- this is key -- the body language we use to do this overlaps significantly with the biology of flirting.
Anthropologist David Givens, author of the book "Love Signals: A Practical Field Guide to the Body Language of Courtship," says that a crucial sexual-attraction message is "I am harmless." We communicate this with "submissive displays," such as turning our hands palm up, tilting our heads, exposing our vulnerable necks. A tilted-head half-shrug is typical of sexually attracted people having their first conversation. It's also a posture you'll unconsciously assume when you're trying to understand another person's experience.

Step 3: Get a life
I favor reality shows in which people do things that require skill, talent, or daring: crab fishing, singing, clothing design, Latin dance. The popularity of these shows suggests I'm not the only person tuning in. Generally, the harder the participants have to work, the more interesting the process.
Even when cameras aren't rolling, people love to watch others work hard, learn skills, and take risks. Remember the old "Peanuts" cartoons in which Lucy mooned endlessly over Schroeder, whose only interest was the piano? That stereotype is based in truth: People who are mastering something that fascinates them become fascinating to others. If you want to capture people's attention, put your own attention on something that has nothing to do with them: oil painting, cooking, wildlife rescue. The more you get lost in what you're doing, the more interesting you'll become.

Best Practices: The one-two-three-punch combination
If you use the three steps above in quick succession, you'll become an attention magnet. It's like a trick move in martial arts: Target your person of interest, focus entirely on them, then abruptly divert your attention. Pow, pow, pow!
These steps allow any flirtatiously challenged person to bypass the whole complicated, alarming world of sexual tension and attraction among normal people. You can do the dance of seduction without even meaning to -- simply by letting yourself be openly drawn to people, their stories, and your own deepest fascinations.
Happy flirting everyone! I'm off to my Cashmere mafia session with Ms Versatile.

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