A Guide to Flirting and Dating
It was a disaster waiting to happen.After 20 years of marriage, George K. returned to the dating scene. He tied some gold chains around his neck and splashed on strong cologne. He bellied up to a nice-looking brunette and shot an exaggerated wink to get her attention."Hi there, doll," he announced. "George is my name and insurance is my game. Wow! You must work out 20 hours a day to have a body like that. Say, what's your sign anyhow?"Needless to say, George met with little interest from the brunette, or for that matter, any woman that night. Although most men are not as out of touch as George, many are mystified about how to express interest and attention that will result in a positive response from women. And others may be concerned about actions which may be interpreted as harassment. So when it comes to face-to-face flirting and dating, how does someone like George make a good first impression?
Identifying What Women WantIn "Gone With the Wind," Scarlet O'Hara protested Rhett Butler's persistent advances by beating her fists on his chest. But as the story plays out, a few forceful but ardent kisses caused our heroine to melt in his manly arms. Unfortunately, too many people confuse fiction with real life. In more recent times, Butler's persistence might not have ended in romantic bliss, but in charges of sexual harassment. Flirting can drift over into harassment by:
- Coming on too strong
- Paying insincere compliments
- Getting too personal by making unwanted or uninvited sexual comments
- Not taking rejections seriously
Reading Important Preliminary SignsBefore anybody does any touching at all, men need to recognize the often unconscious courtship signals women cast when they are interested. It may be a sad fact to some, but as in much of nature, it is often the females who pick males.
A Look and a SmileThe most important sign is basic but often overlooked. The number one signal is eye contact, accompanied by a smile.When a woman wants to meet a man, she often casts him a long look, glances away, and then returns the gaze again. If the male object of these glances is astute, he will close the distance and say something that does not put the woman on the spot. Even a man that is shy and standoffish can establish himself as strong and confident just by leaving the pack and making an appropriate advance. And forget those oh-so-clever-pickup lines.
Good ConversationMen who have mastered the art of flirting make small talk that does not include the word "you." They comment on the food, the color of the rug, the furnishings, or the music. The idea is for two people to talk about something they share in their environment. If things are going well, the woman is likely to show an open palm, lick her lips, turn her body to face the man, play with her hair, or playfully run a finger around the rim of her glass.
Up CloseMen who want to show they are strong and confident can then take a bold step forward. When Americans talk casually to each other, they usually stand about two feet away. But a man can make a statement of interest by moving in and standing only 6 inches away. Many men also go into a grooming mode—straightening a tie, playing with cufflinks, or slicking hair back. All this shows interest and confidence.
Making ContactIt is usually safe on first meeting to touch a woman between the shoulders and the wrist. So although it is technically safe to give an interesting woman a manly squeeze on the biceps, a light touch on the forearm is probably more enticing. But remember that virtually all women like male strength to be tempered with intelligence and sincerity. So compliments should be heartfelt.
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