Why It’s Important To Flirt
You enter a bar and immediately feel unattractive. You’re so sick of getting stared at, of getting evaluated. “Do I want to see you naked? Do I want to go through all the effort it’ll take to kiss you and take you home?” When you go to these places expecting to find someone to love forever, you think of something Sylvia Plath once said:
there’s so much hurt in this game of searching for a mate, of testing, trying. And then you realize suddenly that you forgot it was a game & turn away in tears. if i didn’t think i’d be much happier, if i didn’t have any sex organs, i wouldn’t waver on the brink of nervous emotion and tears all the time.
(By the way, that was definitely just copied from a Livejournal entry from 2007.) The dullness scares you. The games you might be forced to play scare you. The judgment scares you, having someone reduce you to a thing that might give them pleasure or bore them to tears. What scares you the most though is how you let these potential lovers slip through your fingertips. They’re right there waiting for you and you’re too lazy/crazy to pursue anything. They’ll wait for only so long. You don’t want to wake up one day and find that every good one has left because you were too busy being frozen.
You’re already exhausted. The second you enter a place, you feel your body go limp. You want to call out to no one in particular, “Hey, just have at it. I’ll just close my eyes and see who sticks.” Is it normal to feel this way so soon? You figured that this kind of fatigue and apathy took years to produce. How could you feel it so soon?
I’m going to ask you to do one little thing that might change the course of your life forever.
Flirt with reckless abandon, flirt with strangers who appear to be out of your league, because what’s the worst that can happen? They don’t like you back? Oooooh! SCARY! A stranger who knows nothing about you is not into you! The horror! That’s such a personal attack on… your body? Your personal scent? Hmm, not sure. What are they rejecting exactly?
A lot of these people who hang out in the bars are scared too. They’re nervous to make the first move so if you actually do it, you’ve already done like 80% of the work. Now you just have to produce nice conversation, coy smiles, and appropriate body language, and you’re in! (This is always the easiest part for me. Everyone’s different though. For me, the biggest hurdle is just approaching someone. The rest is the fun part.)
Flirting is a positively thrilling activity, especially if it’s with someone you don’t really care about. Then you can just be as insane as you want and not worry about whether or not you land the person. “Oh, you don’t want to sleep with me? That’s fine. I was just bein’ Miley anyway!” When you flirt with someone you actually do like, it’ll be more nervewracking but so worth it. Imagine it to be like a game of tennis and you’re just bouncing a ball back and forth with someone. You’re feeling them out and deciding whether or not they can actually banter with you. Does this person get it or are they just really hot? Are they able to play off of your jokes or are they just laughing at them and not contributing?
When flirting with someone you actually want to sleep with, you want to make sure you find excuses to touch them. Don’t grope them like you’re the TSA; I’m just saying that resting your hand on someone’s arm when telling a story can go a long way. It can go all the way to their bedroom actually. It’s also a good way to gauge if they’re into you. If someone reciprocates the hand touch, they’re telling you that it’s on. They’re telling you that they would certainly like to kiss your naked, trembling body at some point and develop a rapport on Gchat.
Don’t tell them too much about your life. Keep it mostly neutral. Talking about your alcoholic mother is a real buzzkill so leave that at home and bring it out when you know the person’s not going anywhere. “FYI, you’re dating me AND MY DEMONS! Say hello to my lil’ friends…”
Don’t get too wasted because then you risk getting sloppy and weird. The only time it would be acceptable is if you really like the person and you see them getting progressively more drunk. Then I guess you can join them on that train. Just don’t be surprised if things get #dark.
Think of flirting as a brain exercise. You have to work out the muscle that helps people fall in love with you! And the less serious you take it, the more likely you’re able to yield positive results. Like I said, the hardest part is initiating the conversation. The next time you’re feeling nervous, just imagine Sylvia Plath crying alone in a cold, dark room. If that doesn’t get your ass in gear, I don’t know what will.
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It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.