Yesterday I received a message from a reader about how they happened to find my blog on the world wide web and a conversation ensued around the search that led them here. Topic: Flirty Banter.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re in a sad state of affairs when we can’t even have a simple, friendly conversation with strangers, or even people we know, because one side or the other is “way too over the top” when it comes to getting their flirt on. The reader stated that it was the farthest thing from their mind to cause offense, and yet had some run-ins with friends on the subject of “flirty banter” and lo-and-behold one of my Project 365 posts popped up in the search results.
Now that they are a subscriber, and have been reading my posts and discovered I’m not completely “damn kids! Get off of my lawn!“, they felt they could write. Gosh, you know… I almost feel a bit like Dear Abby…. Anyhoo.
Here’s the thing about flirty banter: it requires finesse. Seriously, I linked that word so if you are not in the know, you can go learn what the word means. Finesse is lacking these days. It’s an artform. As DazyLady and I (and come to think of it, this is a topic that has made it’s way around the dinner table AND campfire with friends), attraction to people, same sex or otherwise, platonic or romantic, is started because of a commonality with the other person and kept going in the early stages by intrigue.
Example of a statement that used finesse, commonality and is intriguing:
“Wow! How crazy that I ran into you here at (insert your favorite coffee shop here)! I really enjoy your writing and you seem like such a genuine person; sadly, I have to run off to work right away, but I would really like to have coffee with you sometime to discuss your post on the merits of balloon animals* as I have taken up the hobby of making them.”
Example of a statement that is the opposite:
“Wow! I FINALLY ran into you here! I’ve been watching your Tweets and blog posts and asking a few people where you go for coffee and here you are. I really wanted to meet you because you’re so sexy! Can I buy you a coffee? No? Oh… yeah, work. How about a drink later? Where do you work? I could swing by and pick you up and….”
There is a big difference between the two. The first example is safe and non-creepy and uses finesse, it leaves the recipient wanting to continue the conversation. The second is “searching for my can of pepper spray and wondering why the fuck I wore high heels today because this pair is NOT conducive to running from stalkers”, aka creepy. Sadly, I get more of the latter than the former in messages and tweets which is why my comment section has “don’t be creepy” leading into it.
I don’t know if people know that they are being creepy. I think in the age of instant communication via email and texting, people are forgetting to think about what it is that they are saying to others. People say shit like the latter example and think it comes across as engaging and interesting. Here’s the thing – it doesn’t.
This goes for both men and women. That’s right ladies, I’m calling you out on this, too. The creep-factor award can go to both sexes. While I’ve had my share of male online stalkers (no bueno), I have had friends, male and female, with the crazy female stalkers and creepy women. The latter example is something that not just I get, but other people I know receive messages similar as well and it usually comes from complete strangers or people who only know one aspect of someone in an online setting.
So, as one of my friends would say, “Yo! Check yo’self!”
We don’t live in caves. We don’t need to club people over the head and drag them to our lair (yeah… I realize there are still people who think, and do, this. They need a LOT of help). We don’t need to club people over the head with our words either.
Take some time to learn the language you speak and how to use it with finesse. If you’re on the receiving end of creepy or stalkerish comments, do the world and everyone in it, a favor and call the person out on their behavior. You don’t have to launch into a speech, the simple phrase, “Wow, that was inappropriate and now I’m uncomfortable”, will work just fine. Why not just state the obvious, inappropriate and uncomfortable, true words and short, sweet and to the point.
Now that I’ve gotten your PSA out of the way for the day, I need to get some breakfast in me and get ready for work. If I run into you randomly today, as my comment lead-in says, “Don’t be creepy!”
*I haven’t written about the merits of balloon animals.
So much easier to be brash (aka.creepy) when one might hide behind the anonymity of the net. The fine art of flirting, sadly, has become somewhat of a lost art form. I bear witness to this each day I see a young male act like a moron, my stern over the glasses look, and a “wtf did you just say to her?” makes the young cubs squirm. I feel sad for both sexes as we are somehow reverting to the “club over the head” mentality. I prefer the dance of seduction. Hell, I still work them moves on my lovely muse, just to see her giggle.
I really detest the moronic men, younger or older. I tend to roll my eyes or look over the top of my glasses and give the “are you fucking kidding me” look. Kudos to you for working the moves on your Muse!
BTW – glad your trip to Greece was successful!
Well I’m smiling anyway. But not in a creepy way he said hastily and almost stumbling over the cucumber plant. In truth I think I’m the worst flirty chatter man I know and never made a connection in a night club, coffee shop or anywhere else which resulted in more than the girl asking ,me where the fire escape was. The only females I’ve struck up friendships with have been those who I met in a group, and who got to know me over a period of time. Speed dating of any kind is not in my skillset.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all! Most of my college friends were engineers (I married one) and I wouldn’t consider any of them terribly outgoing or big on conversation unless it was a topic they were really into (like building spud guns) or the re-releases of Star Wars (okay, I was into that, too).
I can fake being outgoing for an evening, but I need the next day to myself after that!
I am thinking flirting ( for me anyhow ) in general is an acquired skill and depends completely on the setting and the background of the people ! Possibly how much or little we know of people may bring out certain types of flirting or conversation in general ! Thinking i miss the days before all the social networking sites and how its seemed to turn a lot of communication very shallow , one dimensional and disconnected in a lot of ways ! Some day there will be classes to teach people how to live peacefully with others and communicate without the use of anything but their voice, face and body language ! For a few dollars more you could take a class on Chivalry , location etiquette and basics in good manners ! LOL Then from there you could upgrade to the premium package and add the class : All you ever wanted to know about flirty banter and ethical dialog ! Ha Ha Ha You just wait this is going to happen! (o:
I think you should come up with the curriculum, Alan!
Possibly ! Sometimes the students of life (with the most to learn ultimately ) make great teachers of the most struggled with subjects ! (; I really like your insight though!
I try! Admittedly, sometimes not very hard. 😉
Pingback: Oops! Forgot what I was going to write about! (And go vote for some ART!) | musingsoftheamusingmuse