Monday, October 17, 2005

The Science of Flirting

Maybe it's the romantic in us that wishes to see love as a mystery, something that "just happens" when the right two people meet. It's magic. It's
amazing what goes on inside of us as we mingle, maybe talk to someone of the opposite sex that has attracted our eye. What is the science behind the things we do and the things we say? Humans have engaged in this often comedic mating ritual without much thought as to the true purpose of the things we may or may not be aware of...the true purpose of flirting.

Even if you swear you're not going to have kids, the biological urge to create offspring is the deep down motivator for entering the mating ritual. It may change the rules a bit, but it's still the core of all the unconscious things we do when flirting. Although most people take flirting lightly and believe it's all fun and games, it really serves a vital purpose. It's purpose is to weed out those that simply don't meet your criteria and hopefully finding the lucky one that does.

Upon entering a room, or a bar, or wherever this mating ritual is taking place, men and women already have different ways of beginning the flirtation process. Men typically look around, taking the time to look for several moments at nearly every single woman. Women are much more selective, taking quick glances and only really looking at the men she might be interested in. As this surveying takes place, a 'connection' might be made if a woman singles out a man she might like AND the man happens to notice her matching his gaze.

Flirting can take many forms...and men and women again do it very differently at this stage. Women have 52 different cues to show men they are interested. How many do men have? have about 10 ways of showing a lady that they just might be 'the one.'

Body language is paramount during the flirting process. Boy, I really take the romance out of it, don't I? Here are a few interesting nonverbal methods signaling attraction - other than the well known and more obvious female hair twirling and male gawking at her body parts:

Tilting the head...this is a woman's signal that she is very interested in the man. It's a sign that she's letting him in, exposing the neck - a very vulnerable area - shows a letting down of the guard.

Copycat...put simply, we like people that are similar to us. A sure sign of interest is when another person is mirroring your behavior. This happens on such a subconscious level, most people don't know they're doing this. They will take a drink when you drink, laugh when you laugh, smile when you smile, and even match your voice's pitch, volume, and tone.

The Mouth...this is pretty much a female gesture. Researches believe it's primarily a sexual signal. If you can't figure out how this is so, then you deserve to be alone on a Saturday night. Biting the lip, showing the tongue, licking her lips, touching her front teeth - these are definite attraction cues. Why do you think women wear lipstick?

Manly are very simple and their signals are likewise. A man might try to show his masculinity by rough-housing with his buddies. A guy may spread his legs when sitting oppostite of their date and squeeze his glass or roll it side to side because he's thinking about the woman's breasts. The more obvious sign would be him talking to your breasts instead of looking up into your face. I'm sure the ladies love that.

Although context will differ from country to country and society to society, researches have found that these and other flirtatious signals are generally universal. The nonverbal signals for flirting is "part of a natural sequence for courtship worldwide," says Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and author of The Anatomy of Love "Mothers don't teach this to their daughters." Even across animal species, flirting and the whole courting ritual is such a vital part of survival - from bucks slamming their antlers into each other to peacocks showing off their feathers, the animal kingdom is full of all kinds of flirting.

Pick up lines from men are both entertaining and idiotic. The world of flirting has become more sophisticated, and the following are things that should NOT be said....unless you want to be slapped, laughed at, and left alone on a Saturday night:

"Hey those are great pants - do you think I could get into them?"
"Hey there, how would you like to wear those clothes to work tomorrow?"
"If you were a booger, I would pick you first."
"I may not be the best looking one in here, but I'm the only one talking to you."
"Do you work for UPS? I could have sworn I saw you checking out my package."
"I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. How about you?"
"I like girls with one eyebrow. Two eyebrows just seems one too many."
"Let’s go to my place and do the things I’ll tell everyone we did anyway."

And the worst line ever:

“My love for you is like diarrhea—I just can’t hold it in!”


delmer said...

The "booger" one had my vote for worst line -- up until the "diahrea" line.

I'm hoping most of these things are lines you made up for the sake of humor -- as they are pretty funny -- and if they are honest-to-God lines, well, they're just sad.

Sherri said...

LOL! I love the lines. :D

I once had a male boss who would constantly lean back in his chair while we talked, I'm fairly certain is was so I could take a peek at the goodies.

Theresa said...

yeah, the lines were pretty funny!

Jillian said...

Oh my those lines are funny. I have heard most of them (either online or in real life as a joke), but some I have not heard I quite literally laughed aloud. Good 'female signs' to go with it as well. Didn't know the copycat thing - kind of weird but it makes sense...

FantasticAlice said...

Women play with their hair out of nervousness, but "toss" their hair to get men to notice them.

Men rub their faces with their hands if they are interested in what is being said.

Thanks Phoenix!

The Phoenix said...

I believe these pick-up lines are "retired" lines guys used to use...pretty scary.

I had a civics teacher that would sit on a desk during his lectures, legs spread. I had the privledge of sitting in the front row directly in front of him. Why on earth would any guy wear such tight pants?

The copycat thing is really very widespread, not just in the flirting world. Kids will do it with their parents. In the businessworld, you will often see workers mimic their superiors - whether it's a business or casual setting.

Just watch - go to a restaurant and find some business people having an informal meeting over a meal. You can tell by body language who is the boss and who is the underling by whom copies whom. The one on the lower rung of the corporate ladder will do all the copying.

Grafs said...

And all of a sudden I'm glad that I'm already married :P

Mojotek said...

The "copycat" body language thing kind of creeped me out at first... but then I started noticing it when I was out and about, and now its hard not too!

And a little comeback for the dudes:

Guy - "Do you want to dance?"

Girl - "No."

Guy - "I'm sorry you must have misheard me... I said 'You look fat in those pants!'"

God I love that one.

the weirdgirl said...

Oh man, I tilt my head a lot. It's totally unconscious but people say I do it when I'm listening to people. That explains some things.

I once had a guy, instead of talking to my breasts, he was talking to my ASS! He was sitting and I was standing to the side of him and I totally caught him staring at my butt. And we were in a GROUP MEETING! Talk about subtlety.

KC said...

I've forgotten all these flirting rituals. Maybe I need to brush up by flirting more with my husband. In fact, I'm sure I need to brush up. Wonder what time he'll be home tonight????

Andrew said...

You really do look great in red.

RAVEN the PITA said...

LOL they were cool phoenix - i loved the booger one! Actions definitely speak louder than words...

Morris said...

Just wanted to stop and thank you for commenting on my blog. Despite what the voices in my head say about you, I think you are a pretty cool guy.

Mr. Morris
Ask Morris

The Phoenix said...

grafs,The bar scene can be comedic, never really was into in and I never will be.

mojotek, that's a great comeback!

weirdgirl, I've never seen anyone talk to another person's ass before. He sounds like a true business professional.

kim c, YOU GO GIRL!

andrew, thanks look great in green. Oh you're probably talking to Kim C. Sorry.

raven, thanks for your kind words. I tend to pay attention to what people do - not what they say.

morris, thanks also for your kind words. And no, I really don't believe pez is a reliable method of birth control. Pez does increase your libido, though - like horny goat weed.

Chicken Little said...

OMG - I think I actually had someone try to use the booger one on me a long time ago!

It might have worked, I like funny lines

big left nostril said...

Those are all my lines! No wonder I don't get any dates!

Wally Banners said...

Hope you folks doing ok? Scary story at my blog heh,:)

ObilonKenobi said...

No wonder I was single for so long!!!

Pixie said...

I dont think I know how to flirt I never "did" the whole bar scene thing.

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