MOMENTS BEFORE stepping off the bus to greet a constellation of paparazzi cameras and a long-legged, purple dress wearing blond – Donald Trump exchanged lewd comments on women with his peers. He spoke of uncontrollably kissing them, grabbing their genitals, and getting away with whatever he wants. Now, mired in scandal, his comments have been cast across the internet, and his candidacy threatened. His campaign’s response, to dismiss the comments as ‘locker room talk’ has been unsuccessful.
But casting aside the media hippodrome – Trump’s comments cast an ugly light on aspects of the male /female dynamic. Flirting, an experience of mutual enjoyment for both, was tossed aside in favor of behavior that had little regard for respect, and to many women, comes off as threatening. The issue is muddied further when Trump’s comments, although infantile in their directness, speak to an aspect of the male psyche that is ever present – the sexually aggressive male libido, the part that wants to behave how he does. No matter how tactless Trump is, he is, unfortunately speaking to an essential, albeit primitive part of us.
However, emulating the behavior of a narcissistic billionaire isn’t something I’m here to advocate. Using Trump as a launching point, I want to explore the ways in which the male libido can be expressed and explored – ways which honor the side of you that wants to pursue and take, whilst also respecting the woman on the other side of the interaction. Y’know, not acting like a YEWG LEWSAH. A TOTAL DISASTAH.
Flirting works on the assumption that the woman you’re talking to is interested. You don’t wait for permission to flirt – you flirt with her under the assumption that she likes you and you’re going to have fun with this assumption.
- Assumed Interest
I KNOW YOU KNOW
Flirting has enormous similarities with humor which I will cover later, where it differs is that flirting is based on the assumption of interest, but also the assumption that she knows you’re interested as well. In short:
‘I know you know.’
Flirting is about playing with this dynamic and mutually enjoying it with the other person. It’s about weaving the elephant in the room (your mutual sexual interest) into the conversation, through the form of jokes, wordplay, and absurdity.
A criticism of this is that men who make women laugh are acting as clowns. I’ve seen this a lot in the ‘manosphere’ and I frankly find this bizarre. After all, don’t you want to have fun? Don’t you want to laugh? If you can think of better things to do with women you’re attracted to than have fun with each other, laugh, and have some nooky, then let me know. I’m all ears.
But assuming you’re a red-blooded male – here are the best techniques I know for flirting with women:
Note: This guide isn’t a script. You’re going to have to do that part. I will offer examples here and there, but this is mainly a breakdown of the principles that underlie flirting. To give you rote lines to repeat would be inauthentic and come across as rehearsed and weird. That’s not my goal, and hopefully isn’t yours either.
RULE NUMBER ONE
The title says it all. When it comes to women, fun is the rule. And why wouldn’t it be? Who doesn’t want to have fun and enjoy themselves? I’ll assume you want to enjoy your life and have a good time.
A huge amount of media is devoted to narratives of emotionally lifeless dullards who have an incredible ability to ‘get the girl’ with the smoldering intensity of their emotional issues. You know, Edward Cullen, Bruce Wayne, and 50 Shades Grey guy.
This is a fiction and a toxic element of masculinity. Leave seriousness for when it’s required, have fun everywhere else. In my own life, I’ve been rejected as ‘too ugly’ or having ‘no chance’ only to recover it through persistence and good flirting, but I never, ever succeeded with women for being a furrowed brow gloomy weirdo.
But here’s the thing. Whilst fun is the rule for women – it should first and foremost be the rule for you. If you’re having fun for them, this is inherently unattractive. You need to be working from a place where you enjoy their company not out of an attempt to get something from them (laid), but instead because you actually enjoy the interplay of your masculinity and their femininity. If you aren’t here yet, you need to start asking yourself why?
THE SCIENCE OF FLIRTING
Who would have thought that smiling at women, maintaining eye contact and actually listening to them would be attractive?
Now, no matter how obvious this may seem – I know countless guys who, in the throes of anxiety interact with women with a dead hanging face, darting eye contact and a flat, patient silence that waits for its chance to speak. And now, science show’s that exactly the wrong thing to be doing.
These are basic errors that beyond just flirting are poor social skills. But as they’re social skills – they’re easily fixed. Remember:
- Eye contact
- Affirmations of attention when they’re speaking ‘uh huh’, ‘yeah’, ‘sure’etc.
Further to this, the context of flirting is important to success, when allied with the appropriate behavior. It should be no surprise that being direct in a bar has the highest chance of success, whereas being direct in places like the street, has the lowest.
Another important aspect is touching. Touching revolves around an escalating ladder (in intimacy) from shoulder to arm, to hand, to thigh, to neck, to face. Male social touching and expressions of comfort with social touching are also important. Whilst this requires an article entirely to itself – here’s an example of extremely full on touching:
For less extreme examples, watch some of the Russel Brand I link later on in the article. The main takeaway as that physicality, whether extreme or not, is essential.
EXPRESSION, EMBELLISHMENT & EXAGGERATION
Following on from science’s example – expression and animation are huge in flirting. For two reasons – firstly, physicality is proven to get you out of your head. Secondly, more overt displays of emotion are easier to read. In the initial stages of flirting, what goes unsaid is enormously important.
I would also add a third rule – it’s just more fun.
A simple technique for animation is learning to become conscious of when you’ve allowed yourself to become inexpressive, and then allow your face to animate the emotion you’re feeling. If you’re not used to this, this takes practice – but like any habit, it will stick.
Another technique is holding the look. This is something comedians do all the time. This is when something happens that generates a humorous expression (any extreme emotion i.e outrage, disgust, shock, inappropriateness, embarrassment), and you simply hold this for a little longer than you normally would. To see how this is done, watch any great comedian and watch how they perform when the audience is laughing at one of their punchlines.
A final, creative technique is exaggerating stories. Storytelling is one of the most powerful social skills there is – if you can tell a good story, you’ll captivate an audience. And if you can link this into your dating life, then you’re in the money. Where exaggeration comes in, is where you embellish your story to a degree that it’s almost farcical, bringing out the humor in the story, rather than just relaying the facts. The best examples of this I’ve seen are in the writings of Ivan Turgenev and Mark Twain. Both had an incredible knack for exposing the childish and absurd quality in people, which elevated their writing to humorous levels, even when the stories were heart-breaking (see Ivan Turgenev’s Chertopkhanov stories for a seamless blend).
Innuendo capitalizes on the assumption that you both know you’re attracted. Innuendo is the art of taking simple, harmless phrases she’s made, and pointing out a possible sexual connotation – the implication here being that when it comes to speaking with you ‘she has something else on her mind’.
It also works as a simple sexualisation of conversation. The James Bond films have fun with this sort of humor all the time.
A way to employ innuendo is to pay attention to the words being said and spot opportunities to capitalize on unfortunate wording. You do this with her by making an innuendo, and you do this with yourself by making it obvious that you’re aware you made a poor choice of words by say – making a shocked face or by saying something along the lines of ‘something else on my mind…’.
You can say anything, but having a scripted response isn’t going to do you any favors. As with expression – it’s not so much what you say, but how you say it.
Exciting emotional experiences hinge on the ability to build and diffuse emotions and elicit unexpected shocks. Pick up artists call this push /pull, and these principles are the engines of attraction and humor. Women like being complimented, but almost all of them find it awkward to respond. Women like being complimented as it’s an indicator of attraction (and flattering), but they like fun more. Complimenting then redirecting is mixing attraction with fun. And that is the heart of good flirting. Now giving examples of these are hard – as these aren’t scripted lines, but instead experiences. They work in the context of the emotional experience, and the delivery. But the way to think about them is this:
The first part generates the attraction, and the nervous emotional response and the second part introduces the playful teasing which releases the nervousness. Generally, saying them playfully is key. Complement, then reverse / diffuse. As an example: ‘You look great… But I mean, this is probably as good as it’s ever going to get for you.’
Similarly, reversals are where you lead your conversational partner down the garden path. You have them think you’re about to say one thing, but then you flip it on its head and sexualize it.
THE RISK OF BEING LAME
Humour is freedom of expression, often in the form of capitalizing on unseen connections in conversation that are ironic and humorous. The risk in this is that what you say isn’t as funny as what you had in your head. This risk inspires fear, and that fear is what leaves people silent.
This is unnecessary. The best way to handle being lame is to make a joke about the fact that you just made a lame joke. That’s self-aware, confident and humble. One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met makes as many dead jokes as he does incredible ones. His secret to recovery? Every time he says something that falls flat, he pulls a face exaggerating his awkward feeling and says something like ‘tough crowd’ or ‘I’ll make a funnier one next time’ – he owns his blunder and turns it into a joke. And nine times out of ten, it works.
Yeah, whatever – I like Penguins.
BUT REMEMBER: YOU’RE NOT HERE TO BE A COMEDIAN
Make a move or you’re toast. You can be the funniest, flirtiest guy in the room, but if you don’t make a move then you’re going home alone. Always, always, always remember that.
BUT REMEMBER 2: YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE FUNNY
This lesson comes with experience. But the idea that you have to be funny with women is one that seems entrenched in the male psyche. And whilst being funny is useful and enjoyable – it’s not always necessary. Often, connecting with the other person is enough. This is important becomes often, you’re not going to feel in a funny mood – don’t pretend, just embrace it. Talk to women, remember to make a move, and you’ll eventually be fine.
LESSONS FROM TRUMP
The flaw in Trump’s behavior demonstrates the balance of flirting. Trump acts from a place of assumed interest (due to his fame, incidentally, which isn’t a good idea) and acts upon it without restraint or class. Trump isn’t about mutually enjoying anything, he’s about taking what he wants. But here’s the thing…
He’s learned this kind of behavior because it has worked for him in the past. But by doing this kind of behavior (using people), you actively polarize for people who are trying to use you. He’s not ‘doing anything’ they’re waiting for him to do it, waiting for him to take advantage of them, so they can take advantage of him – he’s attracting (due to his fame and fortune) the kind of people who would respond to this, and they will exploit the opportunity. The unfortunate off-shoot of this is that when he gets people who aren’t interested, he’s inflicting sexual assault on them.
This isn’t necessary and isn’t effective. Not only does it hinge on prerequisites like fame and wealth, but all it nets you is moral bankruptcy and shallow relationships. When you embrace flirting from a place of mutual fun and sexual expression, you reject this reality for one that invites enjoyment into your life. Flirting isn’t about taking something from someone else, it’s about honoring that desire you have for someone, and having fun with it – in other words, it’s about enjoying life with someone else.
And that’s what Trump misses out on.