Flirting 101: Advice from a Cynic

Boy likes girl, girl likes boy and they either end up together forever or, more likely, crash and burn in sub-tweets and stolen stares when they run into each other at that one old bar. It’s a tale as old as time: finding someone that you like to see naked and like to make laugh. Optimists call it love, some call it luck. Realists call it human nature to avoid being lonely. Regardless, it’s a simple equation. We’re drawn to certain people. Sometimes that certain someone really likes you back and the next thing you know you’re Facebook official and choosing to watch Netflix with them every Friday night.

However, getting someone to like you back isn’t easy. If it was, there wouldn’t be so many movies about reciprocated love. There is a certain protocol to follow when trying to bait that person who caught your eye into considering you someone worth calling, someone worth pulling out of the friend-zone, or someone just worth their time. And by protocol, I really just mean flirting.

Simple science: flip hair, bat lashes and maybe play hard to get if you’re an annoying kind of person. But that formula only works in high school hallways and with easily manipulated men.

Flirting is an art. There should be a class taught to teach all the helpless individuals who google how to flirt with that girl who doesn’t know they exist or that boy who thinks they’re just friends. There’s currently a Reddit thread filled with half curious, half lonely people wondering what would be taught in a class on how to flirt.

If this class ever happened to be at the disposal of the bashful and the love sick, it should be taught by someone cynical and not easily won over. There’s a dime a dozen of millennial, twenty-something girls who claim they’re soulless, don’t believe in love, or whatever it might be. That’s because it’s “in” to hate commitment just like it’s “in” to be gluten free and wear winged eyeliner. It has become trendy to hate love.

Personally, I think I bring a great perspective to all of this because I don’t hate love. I don’t even consider myself soulless despite me being dry eyed at the end of Me Before You. I still eat gluten and I can’t wing my eyeliner for shit. I’m hardly trendy, but I’m definitely a cynic. There are multiple things I’ve seen from my days of being the cynic.

Coming on too strong is obnoxious. We are thick in the midst of hookup culture and people get scared off if they think you’re not just trying to take them home. (Weird, I know.) When you’re approaching the apple of your eye, you have to keep it light and playful. Don’t ask them on a romantic dinner date without skipping a beat after your introduction. It’s like a research paper: The conclusion is you asking them to go grab drinks with you. Pace yourself, young grasshopper.

And, for the love of God, don’t tease a person unless they’re into that. Banter is hot, being a jerk with no chill is not. Despite us being trained that boys who are mean to us is synonymous with them liking us… after a while, we get tired of insensitive jokes and realize nice guys shouldn’t finish last after all. In this day and age, people get their jollies off by finding something to be offended by. Don’t make it easy by making a harmless joke that ends up with you covered in her drink.

Sometimes you say more and offend a lot less, when you don’t do so much talking. Eye contact goes a long way whereas lots of touching will leave her taking the quickest way away from you. There’s actually real research that proves eye contact is great for sexual tension and gives a person the vibe that you’re into them. Sometimes silence is golden. (Just make sure to blink too.)

That being said, don’t forget to ask them about themselves. Don’t have the personality of a limp noodle and do the nod/soft smile dance, but don’t ramble on the whole time either while you’re trying to make moves. Give them some wiggle room to make their own move. It takes two to tango. Let him/her talk, get a feel of their interests, and see if you’re one of them.

Finally, don’t be scared. It can be intimidating approaching the boy you don’t think has ever had more than a passing thought about you. Rejection hurts for less than twenty minutes and maybe quicker if you can get your hands on a drink. And not getting rejected has a much longer pay off rate.

There really doesn’t need to be a class on how to flirt or how to get someone to notice you. Just go for it. Don’t try too hard to be funny and give a genuine compliment. It’s easier done than said. Flirting with someone isn’t rocket science and no matter how much advice that I, the on looking cynic, give you, you just got to go out there and try it all out for yourself.