Monday, April 23, 2012

Flirting Fails

He's winking. All right? At a girl owl.
Okay. For those of you who misunderstood, this is not a post about why flirting doesn't work. Because I actually think it does. This is about Flirting Gone Wrong.

Well, okay, hang on, don't get excited. We first have to define flirting, and then we have to define what 'success' in flirting is, before we get into Epic Flirting Fails.

First - A Definition of Flirting.

I would say that flirting is any action where one demonstrates interest in a person whom they are romantically attracted to, in such a manner that said person is made aware of demonstration and given the opportunity to reciprocate or not reciprocate. Fair enough? There are three key elements here.


You cannot have two without the third and still call it flirting. For example, my cousin had a roommate who flung herself from a moving car outside the house of a boy she had the major hots for. She forgot that she shouldn't land on her face, and gave herself a black eye.

Demonstration? Yes. Interest and attraction? Most definitely.

But homeboy had no idea she did it. They got right back in the car and got the heck out of there. Far as I know, he never found out. The only people who knew were her roommates. And me, of course. I saw the photograph. It was quite an impressive shiner.

Okay, so what if we take out the second element, INTEREST/ATTRACTION? Then what?

I don't know. There wouldn't be much need for a demonstration, then. I don't know what would come of something without the second element. But whatever it is, it's probably wrong.

And then, what if we take out the first element?

You have interest and attraction... and you're perfectly willing that your target be made aware... but without the demonstration, it's nevuh gunna happen. There is a lot of fiction driven by this device.

Let us enter the second topic of discussion - When Flirting Fails.

Flirting can fail in one of two ways.

1. The target doesn't understand that you're trying to flirt.
2. The target understands, but they don't care.

Generally, boys fall under the first category, and girls under the second.


There are those who believe in a third way that flirting can fail. They say that flirting fails WHEN...

3. It never goes anywhere.

BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS. At least, most of the time. And I'm practically a flirtation scientist. I'm a single male in his twenties, c'mon. Don't you think I'd have studied this?

Okay, we'll not talk about my credentials. But seriously - it doesn't have to go anywhere for it to be a success. One time I flirted with a beautiful Belgian girl who could not speak a word of English. And I, alas, spoke no Belgian. Or whatever it is they speak over there. :) Never have seen her since. Success. Great memories.

BUT I DIGRESS. We're here to talk about FAILURE. And sometimes, Number 3 can turn out in failure. We'll study that in Example Number Two.

Before we get into specific examples, let's talk about why flirting goes wrong - we've talked about what the wrong is, but unless we understand the why then we'll be lost.

And here it is...

WHY FLIRTING GOES WRONG - Forgetting to remember that you have a brain.

That's pretty much it. Everything else you can blame on circumstances and the person that you were trying to flirt with. Seriously. Think about it. Flubbing a line? Brain. Getting nervous? Brain. Wrong body language signal decoding? Brain brain brain. This is why flirting can be so painful when you're a teenager. Our brains haven't connected fully yet.

An example, to illustrate.


The time is several years ago. I am at a restaurant with a group of friends. There is a cute blonde girl behind the counter. What do I do? Well... the best thing to do is strike up a conversation, yes? 

Me: (big smile) Hi!
Her: (blank expression) Hi. What would you like?
Me: (leaning on the counter, pondering thoughtfully.) What would you recommend?
Her: (blank stare) This is a buffet. 
Me: Oh. Right. (Winks, like I knew that and I was joking with her.)
Her: (Unconvinced, but bemused expression.)
Me: Well, I think I'll just have the buffet then.
Her: With the salad?
Me: Um... nah.
Her: That'll be (painful sum of money.)

END OF EXAMPLE ONE                                                                                                  

What went wrong here, folks?

You guessed it.


Another example.


The time is several years ago. (I love telling stories about myself several years ago. Because I was a different person then. So it's like telling stories on my little brother.)

The place? A dance. Girls everywhere. I'm talking to a buddy. It goes something like this.

Me: I should probably get a date.
Buddy: Oh yeah?
Me: Yeah. I mean, I'm here, right? 
Buddy: Yeah.
Me: And there's lots of girls.
Buddy: Yeah, man.
Me: Okay.

So I started dancing with girls, trying to pick one out. 


I was very attracted to her. She had one of those clear looks about her - one of those people you can just tell is a smart person. 

Okay, and she was hot, too. Fine. I was sixteen, okay? Give a guy a break. Brunette. A smattering of freckles, like cinnamon. Or maybe like ginger. It could've been cloves. I don't know. Heck, who knows if she even had freckles. But she was dang cute.

So I asked her for her number, after a dance... AND SHE GAVE IT TO ME. 

Yeah, I know. How awesome?

Then I got home.

              And I realized that I had forgotten her name. 


Time Lapse - At Least Two Days.

So I'm sitting there, with the phone clutched in my sweaty hand. And this is what is going through my head.

Sarah? I think her name was Sarah. Pretty sure. Or was it Becca? Becca? Sarah. Sarah. It was... Becca. No. Yes. No yes no. Becca, I'm sure of it.

I dialed the number.

A teenage girl answered the phone. 

Girl (curious) : Hello?
Me (not so chipper.) : Hi. Is... Sarah... there?
Girl: Um... no. I think you have the wrong number.
Me: Oh, sorry.


Me (fingers curled and raised to the sky): DANG IT.

I kind of wanted to wait an hour and give it another try with another name. But she'd probably have caught on after three or four tries. Curse caller ID.


What went wrong here, friends? Obviously the flirting was executed correctly, because she probably gave me the right number. Probably. There's actually a chance that she gave me the wrong number, and I ended up calling some other teenage girl, possibly her frenemy or enefriend, or maybe a relative with whom she had a poor relationship. But I like to think the flirting itself was executed correctly. So I must ask again, what went wrong?

:) It all comes back to the brain, friends.

Well, I hope that this has been an educational experience for all of you. Tune in next time for a discussion on 'When to Reveal That You Are A Trekkie'. Okay, so maybe I won't discuss that next time, because personally, I believe that should be one of the very first things you discuss. (I'm only an eighth Trekkie. On my father's side. He never talked about it much.) :)

Now. Tell me. What are your flirting flubs? I want to hear your funny stories. Anybody can comment - I've opened it up for y'all. Keep it G-rated.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I didn't know flirting is so complicated. I don't flirt, because I don't really understand the point. But I do act quirky around complete strangers, including men, and I sometimes wonder if they *think* I'm flirting. I don't know if any guy has every really flirted with me either, probably because they're all scared of me. Or maybe because I'm a target in the 1st category of flirting-fail...