What Is Flirting?
Flirting is when someone purposefully sends sexual signals to someone they are interested in. In this article, we will examine two types of cues in dating: female signals to males and male signals to females. As it is all I am familiar with, I can only discuss heterosexual flirting techniques; otherwise, I would be doing you an injustice if I told you something incorrect.
1. A transient, casual love affair
2. A brief encounter.
— Daniel Webster
It's a Woman's World
Women initiate up to 90% of all social meetings. When a man walks up to a woman, it is usually at her request. This is not a verbal request, mind you—it is a nonverbal cue via body language that the man happened to notice. Women tend to use a lot of subtle clues to entice you, but you have to be sure you understand what she is saying with her body.
The infamous pickup line is not intended to impress women, but rather to break the ice and start a conversation. I would recommend that you use a good one, such as:
- “Hi, can I get you a drink?”
- “I don’t mean to be too forward, but I saw you from across the room and wanted to meet you.”
Whatever line you choose, be sure to use it with confidence. Women can tell if you are nervous or unsure of yourself. However, make sure you aren’t overconfident, as that is a definite turnoff as well.
How to Flirt
Courtship is a five-step process that everyone goes through when meeting an attractive person.
This should be self-explanatory, but surprisingly it is not. A woman will look across the room to find a man she might be interested in. Once he notices, she will hold his gaze for three to seven seconds and turn away. The man will watch patiently to see if she does it again. On average, this process has to be repeated three times to gauge interest.
In this stage, she delivers a couple of fleeting smiles intended to give the man the green light to make his approach. However, sometimes this stage is ineffective and makes the woman feel like the man is not interested.
Preening is the act of enhancing or making someone notice your assets. For a woman, it can be as simple as sitting up straighter to emphasize her breasts or crossing her legs or ankles to show off her legs. If she is standing, she may tilt her hips and head to expose her neck. She may play with her hair for a couple of seconds or lick her lips. She might straighten her clothes or jewelry.
A man might stand up straighter, puff out his chest, or suck in his gut. He also might straighten his clothes or hook his thumbs into his belt. Both males and females point their bodies toward each other.
This is where the infamous pickup line comes in. “Haven’t I seen you here before?” is a lame and overused line—use one that is unique to you, new, or timeless.
Touch is pretty much what seals the deal. Whenever a woman or man initiates a light touch, accidental or otherwise, it means that the person is ready to move forward. Without touch, it is hard to tell what is happening.
A second or third touch can be used to ensure that the person is comfortable with the level of intimacy. Men, if she attempts to adjust your clothes, that means she is interested. Although touching is a necessary stage in the flirtation process, be careful. While these signals often indicate flirting, they are by no means a guarantee that the other person is into you.
Signs Women Give to Men
A woman may use several gestures to show a man that she is available.
The Head Toss and Hair Flick
She tosses her hair over her shoulder to expose her face. This signals that she cares about how she looks to a man. It also gives her a chance to expose her armpit, which is the epicenter of her pheromone production. Pheromones are scents that act as an attractant.
When a girl becomes a woman, her face stays pretty much the same. However, her lips will puff out a bit to illustrate her femininity, and when she is sexually aroused, her lips will fill with blood and become enlarged. That is why lipstick was developed; in fact, lip coloring was used by Egyptians 4,000 years ago. A woman’s lips are sometimes thought to naturally mimic specific parts of her body.
Self-touching is self-explanatory. Our brains have a way of making our bodies act out what we desire. Women have more sensitivity to touch than men do; when a woman touches or sensually strokes her thighs, neck, or throat, she is sending a signal to the guy that if he does it right, he may get to touch her in the same way. It is also a method women use to imagine what it would feel like if the guy were touching her.
The Limp Wrist
The limp wrist is the most feminine thing a woman can do. It is a definite attention-getter, and it is very attractive to men because it is a submission signal. It lets the man know that he can be dominant.
Fondling a Cylindrical Object
Fondling a cylindrical object can only mean one thing. This unconscious action shows what is on her mind, and it is suggestive of things that may yet come to pass. Continuously taking a ring off and putting it back on falls under this pattern.
Women who expose their wrists may do so to indicate submission. Because it is so delicate, the wrist is thought to be one of the most erotic parts of a woman’s body. That is part of the reason why perfume is placed on the wrists—it allows a woman to show her wrists.
Looking Over Her Shoulder
In a sideways glance over her raised shoulder, a woman may hold a man’s gaze until he notices—then she might quickly look away. It gives the feeling of peeping and being peeped at. It’s very seductive.
Rolling Her Hips
Women naturally have wider hips than men, and their hips typically sway when they walk, which highlights their pelvic region. Because men can’t do this, it is a powerful signal for men.
Women who are in excellent health and that are the most capable of bearing children have a waist-to-hip ratio of 70%. That means her waist is 70% the size of her hips. This ratio is what gives her an hourglass figure, which is the most seductive figure for men. When the ratio exceeds 80%, the man starts to lose interest, and at 100% he completely loses interest. A man will still be attentive if the ratio falls below 70%, but 70% is the perfect ratio for reproductive success. A woman who highlights this will generally tilt her pelvis while she is standing.
A woman’s purse is an extension of her and is considered to be extremely personal. When she places her bag next to a man, it becomes a strong signal of intimacy. If she finds the man particularly attractive, she may fondle it. She may ask him to pass it over to her or even ask him to retrieve something from it for her.
Pointing the Knee
Again, the body shows what the mind is thinking of. If she is pointing any part of her body toward you, she is interested. Pointing the knee conveys this message and also allows her to slightly expose her thighs.
Dangling Her Shoe
When she dangles her shoe, she is relaxed with you. Sometimes a woman will thrust her foot into and out of her shoe. This act is unsettling for many men, even without us knowing it.
The Leg Twine
Sitting with her legs twined together is an appealing sitting position. When one leg is pressed firmly against the other, it creates the appearance of high muscle tone, which is a signal for sexual readiness. Crossing and uncrossing the legs and gently stroking her thighs also indicate a desire to be touched.
As you may notice, there are a lot of signals that women send to men during courtship. Men, being such simple creatures, can easily become lost or confused in the process.
Signs Men Give to Women
Male courtship signals all revolve around a show of power, wealth, or status. Unfortunately for women, you don’t get too much from us. Trying to make a move on an uninterested woman is like trying to catch a fish with a club instead of with a lure.
I heard a story the other day that reminded me of this very fact. A friend of mine took his fiancée to the dance club to have a good time. Another man immediately stepped up to her and took her onto the dance floor, thinking he could win her away from my friend. This is a standard attempt at a display of power; the guy had no idea that she wasn't available. As you can see, he was fishing with a club instead of with a lure. Once the fight was over, they left the club, never to return.
Here are the male signals sent to women. Unfortunately, there are only three.
Men think that talking to a woman at length about himself can open a woman’s mind to him. This is why a man will speak at length at the beginning of the relationship, and it's why he stops talking after the initial stages of the relationship. After that, he will stick to speaking about facts, information, and problem-solving.
Our toolbox is pretty much empty when it comes to flirting. We automatically assume that by displaying or emphasizing our crotch it will attract your attention. Whether it be wearing clothes to highlight it or putting our hands near it, it is all about showing you that we are male and this is what we’re working with. A lot of times we will make adjustments to our package to create the illusion of size, like we are saying, "Look, I’m making another adjustment. Can you imagine how huge it must be if I can’t keep it where I need it?" Size is everything, right?
Wearing a Tie to the Side
When a guy is wearing a tie off-center or has a piece of lint on his shoulder, it is either a test or he is just messy. The test is that, if she is interested, a woman will fix his appearance. It is a true test of interest, as a woman who is not interested won’t bother with fixing it for him.
Women Have the Power
Women have an arsenal of tools to attract the attention of a man that she's interested in. On the other hand, men will just have something about their clothes messed up, will talk at length, or will adjust themselves to try to attract a woman. I wonder why women have all the power in the game of attraction.
Pease, A., & Pease, B. (2004). The Definitive Book of Body Language. NY, NY: Bantam.