Dating & Flirting Without Tina

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Most of us were never taught how to flirt or communicate our desires to other men in any helpful, or practical way. Most of us subconsciously copied the ways in which our mother flirted, if she was attracted to men. These subconscious skills may or may not be what you need to connect man-to-man.

Our culture makes us feel deeply ashamed of our desires for men. Secrecy, living a double-life, being on the downlow, criticising fem guys, or feeling unable to politely flirt with a man you are attracted to, out in the open, without things having to be R-Rated, are all manifestations of internalised homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Social media has not made things any better when it comes to actual talking to someone!

For some of us, this is where Tina comes in. She makes all this complicatedness go away! We don’t even care if we are rejected! Because Flirting can lead to Cruising – but not usually the other way around, it is a more flexible, more widely useful skill than Cruising. While Cruising can get you sex, it doesn’t guarantee intimacy, if that is what you are looking for.

Learning how to flirt can be useful if we are used to using Tina to compensate for lack of Flirtation skills. It can also if we use Tina – which can make us skip flirting and cut right to Cruising, which might not always be working for us. Here’s a crash course in Flirting 101.

What is Flirting?

A first step we take when connecting with a new person. It is a playful bit of attention you give to someone or that someone gives to you. It is pressure-free and should make you, and the people you flirt with feel good. It is about making the other person feel welcome, comfortable and special. It is about letting someone you like know you like them in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they have to commit to anything. It is non-confrontational but sets the stage for further connection – only if the feeling is mutual, which is determined by whether or not they flirt back.

Once you discover how fun flirting is, you may be tempted to turn it on with everyone. Please don’t! This behaviour reads as attention-seeking, obnoxious and even a little desperate.

Be careful about flirting with people from your work. Likewise be careful about flirting with people who are working, e.g. waiters, salespeople etc. They have to be polite to customers and could feel trapped by you. Flirting is about having fun and playing with someone, not about being a jerk. Don’t put people in difficult or unethical situations.

The great thing about flirting is it technically can be done anywhere. It is not overtly sexual and good flirting is oftentimes not noticed by others not paying attention.

What is Cruising?

Cruising is behaviour that communicates we are looking for a sex. It’s serious, no-no-nonsense, and to the point. It is effective in conveying desire and can be really hot! Cruising should make you feel sexy and make the people you cruise feel invited to connect with you on a sexual level.

“Cruising” is gay subculture slang. It describes either overt or covert sex-seeking, depending on where it is done. Cruising is demanding. It allows us to know right away if someone might be interested in us sexually. If someone is not interested however, it can raise people’s defenses. Cruising is all about time and place. It is location-specific. Great places to cruise are gay bars, clubs, LGBT neighborhoods, bathhouses or on hook-up websites. Sometimes parks and other public spaces are well-known cruising spots. These areas are often great for cruising, but also can be very dangerous, as not everyone in these spaces will be there for cruising, and are sometimes patrolled by police. So be careful!

Cruising done out-of-context, for example, in the workplace, is often called sleazy, or worse, sexual harassment. Like all sexual behaviour, cruising when performed in any power relation can be a form of violation. Save cruising for spaces that are meant to facilitate intimate connections.

If you are looking to hook-up, cruising lets you sort out (and hopefully score!) prospective mates.

TIP: Try flirting first. Flirtation will help you get a sense of the person’s interest in you, before deciding to cruise.

Flirting In Person

1. Eye Contact

Eye contact is perhaps the most important thing you can do to initiate flirting. Look into the person’s eyes, but break eye contact to keep things from getting too intense. Look long enough to “get caught” looking, but do not stare, as this comes off as needy, desperate or creepy. Continually throw small glances his way until he catches you. Hold his gaze for a second, smile and then look away.

Look into his eyes when you talk, particularly at meaningful points in the conversation, for example, while you give him a compliment.

Winking or raising your eyebrows at him can be very effective – if you do it just once. Wink or raise your eyebrows while looking at someone from across a room or if you’re talking in a group and say something really meant for him. Doing it more than once comes across as cheesy or too much. Similarly, eyelash battings can come across like you’re trying too hard.

2. Smile

Smiling can be flirtatious in and of itself. Smile when you want to communicate to someone that you like them. Try smiling his way as you walk past or across the room from him. Don’t grin from ear-to-ear, just a simple, even subtle smile will do the trick. Try these variations:

Smile slowly. If you’re looking at someone but not talking to them, try letting a slow smile spread over your face instead of breaking into an insta-grin. Slow, languid smiles are often considered sexy.

Smile when you make eye contact. If you’re suddenly looking into someone’s eyes, toss in a smile for extra appeal. If it’s a genuine smile, the other person will see it without even looking at your mouth — it will crinkle your eyes, and is known as a Duchenne smile.

Try smiling with your eyes, not just your mouth. Make your whole face light up when you smile.

Smiling is one of the things that distinguish flirting from cruising.

3. Initiate Conversation

Whether you already know the other person or not, a conversation is a powerful way to move a flirtation forward. Striking up a conversation conveys you are bold and confident. Here are a few guidelines.

i) Talking with someone you don’t already know?

Strike up a conversation with an observation which ends with a question:

“I can’t believe how much it’s rained this week, can you?”

or “This place sure is packed, eh?”

What you say isn’t what’s important — you are simply inviting the person to talk with you.

ii) Talking with someone you do know?

Strike up a conversation based on a shared experience or interests. For instance, you might talk about a class you’re taking together, or the train you both take to work. Again, the topic itself doesn’t matter — what matters is that you’re inviting him to interact with you.

Gauge the response. If he responds pleasantly, continue the conversation. If he doesn’t respond or seems preoccupied or disinterested, he isn’t interested in flirting with you.

4. Keep it light, playful and relaxed

Don’t bring up anything too personal. Talk about the environment around you or the show you just saw. Keep personal information such as religion, money, relationships, education, and so on out of it for now. Avoid debates. Discuss topics you both don’t have a too personal stake in.

It’s easier to flirt when you’re talking about fun, light-hearted topics, such pets, silly TV shows, or your favorite spots to walk in the city. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb yourself down to flirt, but it does mean you have to relax and avoid the deep talk for a while.

Be playful, a little bit silly and relaxed.

5. Use Body Language

Non-verbal cues often communicate more directly about how you feel than what’s actually coming out of your mouth. Try the following:

Keep your stance open. Uncrossed arms and legs are signs that you are open and relaxed with the person. Crossed arms and legs convey that you are closed off them and feeling defensive.

Keep your head up, chest up, shoulders down. This communicates confidence, relaxation and alertness, which is very sexy. Head down, chest folded, shoulders hunched communicates fear.

Turn your body towards him. Stand or sit so that you’re facing the guy you’re flirting up. Angle your torso or feet in his direction.

Touching yourself in specific areas of your own body can convey flirting.: your face, neck, shoulders (e.g. fussing with your shirt), and lower legs (e.g. hugging one of your legs while sitting on grass).

Stroking your hair, rubbing the back of your neck are common flirtatious gestures. They often convey that you want him to know you’re nervous because you are interested.

Flirtatious self-touching is not overtly sexual: it does not target the chest area, crotch, thighs, ass, or involve the inside of your mouth. Using self-touch in these areas while flirting is aggressive and you run the risk of offending people. This is more appropriate for cruising and best suited for hook-up sites, bathhouses and dance clubs.

Revealing your armpits is somewhere on the border between Flirting and Cruising.

6. Touching Others

Building upon the previous flirting strategies, touch others is a way to flirt. Casually initiate physical contact by touching him on the arm or shoulder as you talk. Flirtatious touch takes places only on specific areas of his body that could be also construed as friendly touch: shoulders, upper back, outer arms, sometimes the knee. These areas convey a sense of choice. Flirtatious touch of others does not take place on more intimate areas: stomach, lower back, inner arms, neck, face, thighs, ass, inner leg, near the groin, or chest.

When using touch to flirt, do not trap, grab or grasp. Contact should be long enough to be more than accidental, but no more. Little gestures like brushing off imaginary specks of dirt off their arm, or accidentally bumping legs in a movie theatre while not moving away.
As a rule, flirtatious touch implies that rejection is okay, and welcomed without offense.

7. Compliment Early On

Compliment him at your earliest opportunity. This conveys the intention to flirt, and also gives him the opportunity to communicate with you his interest or disinterest. Not complimenting conveys you are interested in just being friends. Flirtatious compliments are more about warmth versus hot, easy-going versus aggressive, generous rather than demanding and confrontational. Here are some techniques to try:

Maintain eye contact while you’re complimenting. Looking away might accidentally make you seem insincere.

Lower the tone and volume of your voice slightly. Paying a compliment in a slightly lower register than your usual speaking voice makes the compliment seem intimate and sexy. Plus, it might also coax the other person to come closer to hear you.

Compliment him on his interests. It will be more meaningful.

Be careful about complementing physical features. Start with: Eyes, smile, hair, hands, laugh, voice and be cautious about more intimate things.

8. Limit length of flirtations

Keep interactions brief. Successful flirting creates a bit of mystery, and curiosity, as well as implies that you are engaged in pursuing meaningful day activities. A powerful way to generate this is to not interact with the guy you are interested in every single moment of every day. Starting off with initiating contact with him a few times a week builds interest, excitement and momentum.

Limit initial flirtatious conversations to 5-10 minutes. It’s easier to build excitement if you exit a conversation a little bit before it ends on its own.

9. Invite him to come to you

After you’ve put it out there with several instances of flirtatious interactions, it’s good to pull back a bit and see if he seeks you out for an interaction. Guys typically show their interest – or disinterest – directly. If he doesn’t seek you out for furthering flirting, he is probably not interested. This can be a good way to gauge interest, as well as build tension.

Flirting is, after all, an invitation for him to flirt back with you. Flirting offers a gentle and polite refusal when we are not interested in another’s’ advances. That is a part of one of its useful functions. Let yourself feel good about practicing and becoming better at it.

A common flirting strategy is the “double-back.” When a guy is walking towards you, or you him, make eye contact and smile. Keep his glance until he passes. Once he does, look over your shoulder and see if he is also looking back. If he does, slowly turn around, stop and maintain eyes and smiling. If he doesn’t look back the first time, do it again. If he does the same, use your flirting conversation skills to get things going. If he doesn’t, he’s probably not interested.

10. Make a date

If your flirting has been successful so far, and you want to get to know the other person better, it’s time to see if you can turn it into a date. Here are a few approaches:

Ask him if he has plans at a later time. For instance, you might say:

“So, what are you up to on Saturday night?”

Make this invitation an open-ended question, instead of one that requires a yes or no answer — you’ll get more information that way. Don’t ask someone what he is doing tonight, or even tomorrow. Try to schedule the date a few days out so that you don’t come off as overly desperate or pushy.

Suggest a specific event, and ask if he would like to come along. This is the best approach if you’re trying to arrange a group date.

You could say something like, “So a bunch of us were going to see a movie on Friday, and I’d really like it if you came with us.

Be straightforward. If you’re feeling confident and good about your flirtation, by all means directly say to him:

I’d really love to take you on a date. When are you free?”

Flirting Tricks
Ways to Flirt Flirting Tricks
  • Acknowledge them with a wave or nod.
  • Flirt with 2 other people before approaching your prospect.
  • Ask innocent questions.
  • Approach someone quickly before you talk yourself out of it.
  • Blink slowly, once and smile a little, or give a half-smile
  • Recall things they’ve said to show you remember.
  • Tilt your head
  • Survey the room when you walk in. It puts you in charge.
  • Flare your nostrils
  • Smile at people as you walk down the street and say hello. It’s good practice.
  • Offer a light or to hold something
  • Stray from your posse. It makes you more approachable.
  • Open a door, help with a coat. Be polite.
  • Reveal a small detail about yourself and see if they do the same.
  • Play with your tie, earring, hair etc.
  • Don’t tell them too much. Leave them with some mystery.
  • Raise both eyebrows. Wink playfully.
  • Use their name in conversation.
  • Offer a drink if in a bar, or coffee in a coffeeshop.
  • Give them your phone number or email and say “call me”.
  • Smile at them innocently.
  • Tell a joke or make a funny comment.
  • Touch their hand, or forearm lightly.
  • Make plans to hang out sometime or go for coffee. Be open and available for plans.
Is He Flirting With Me?

He is probably flirting with you if:

  • He is hanging around where you are…
  • He is trying to make you laugh all the time, or act silly to get attention from you…
  • He singles you out in a group and start asking you questions…
  • He moves in closer to you when you talk, listens well and nods…
  • He ridicules or makes fun of else who is flirting with you

He is probably not flirting with you if:

  • He is looking around you, not at you, or keep their distance…
  • He is trying to make someone else in the group laugh…
  • He singles someone else out in the group and start asking them questions…
  • Seems like he is flirting with a whole bunch of people. This person is probably looking for attention in general.
  • He doesn’t ask you anything about you, or talks about other relationships past or present
Rolling With Rejection

What do you do when you are not interested in a person, or you thought you had the “go-ahead” and they are not biting? Be clear and polite. If they can’t take “no” for an answer, this person wants more from you than you are willing to give. Take whatever action you need to protect yourself.

If you’re not interested, say “No.” People who say “No” when they mean it, are being responsible and kind to themselves, and clear with others.

When declining flirtatious interest, it is important and good manners, to be clear, not hint, suggest or imply: not everyone will get that. Here are some different ways to say No:

  • No, thank you.
  • Thank you. I’m flattered, but I’m not interested.
  • Thank you, I’m waiting for someone (ANYONE).
  • Thank you, I’d just like to be alone.
  • Thank you, I’m sure you’re a great guy, but you’re not my type.
  • I’m just doing some people watching. Thanks anyways!
  • I’m married/attached.
  • No thanks, I was just on my way to the bathroom, for a smoke, leaving etc.
Flirting Gone Wrong

What if you’re flirting and it’s going badly or they are not into it?

  • Re-establish your common ground. Go back to the things you both have in common.
  • Acknowledge that this person might not want to talk and maybe you don’t have much in common.
  • Exit the situation and find someone else to talk to. You will have a fun story to share with your wingmen and gal pals.
  • Switch from Flirt mode and go into Friend mode.
  • Cut your losses and see it all as experience towards your being a more skillful Flirt