Like me, you’ve probably read a million of these articles before. So to put a little spin on things, I’ve decided to take the expert advice and try it out on real people.
You see, when I was younger I used to think that in order to be a flirt, one had to be a successful flirt. So I thought I’d automatically be disqualified because a) I was in a long-term monogamous relationship and b) because I’m a very un-suave, rather loud and deeply silly person. Not exactly textbook feminine mystique girl then.
But, as so often happens to me in life, I found out I was wrong.
Because I realised that flirting isn’t about getting people to sleep with you, or getting people to fall in love with you, or even getting people to like you. It’s about interacting with someone in a way that shows you’re interested in interacting with them. Whether you do it for yourself, to brighten your day, or whether you do it because you’re trying to brighten someone else’s day, or whether you do it because you just can’t help yourself, it’s surprisingly seldom that true flirts have a romantic objective.
So, how does one flirt?
Well, as I’ve said, I’ve no idea, obviously, but I’ve tested the tips you always get in magazines and this is what I found…
Making eye contact
The right way: If you look into someone’s eyes when you speak to them it shows you’re interested in what they’re saying. Also, the whole looking up into someone’s eyes and then lowering your lashes actually works. It felt really contrived and I felt really stupid when I did that, but the cashier that I tried it with actually blushed.
The wrong way: Heads up: some people have really nice eyes, so when you look into them it’s hard to look away. Don’t get caught in their gaze! Trust me, unless you’re newly in love or if you’re doing iridology, don’t stare into someone’s eyes continuously. It’s weird and off-putting and not very subtle. There’s a guy at work who still thinks there’s something wrong with me because I stared into his eyes too long.
Touching and grooming
The right way: Stroking your hair, fixing your collar, touching your face. As a person who does this anyway – and who grooms other people too (honestly, I’m like a monkey sometimes) I couldn’t really see if this worked in my favour or not.
The wrong way: Apparently women who constantly rearrange their clothes, hair and makeup come over as fidgety and insecure. Which is not cool obviously. But hey, rather come over as insecure than have your boobs pop out or your jeans fall down. But that’s just me.
The right way: Smile when you mean it. People smile back with their eyes.
The wrong way: Smile like you mean it. People smile back with their mouths.
Touching your mouth
The right way: You want to draw attention to your mouth to show it’s pretty, sexy, kissable. I did this over dinner the other night and my husband asked me: “Are you flirting with me?” Which I guess counts as a win?
The wrong way: You don’t want to look as if you have something stuck in your teeth. As he later asked me: “Do you have something stuck in your teeth?”
The right way: A slight non-intrusive touch on a neutral body part. I generally do this when I’m sober. I’ve noticed that people don’t mind it at all and I think it helps with the bonding of friends.
The wrong way: Don’t be over-familiar. Putting your hand on someone’s thigh – no matter how kindly you mean it – is over-familiar. This usually happens when I’m drunk and it has two equally unwanted responses: a) a person immediately thinks you’re coming on to them and they’re flattered, or b) a person immediately thinks you’re coming on to them and they’re horrified. As I said, equally mortifying.
So there you go. My little experiment in a nutshell.
Do you have any stellar advice to add to this? Don’t hesitate, share it with the sisterhood.