Sex by Numbers: Flirting As Art

ColumnWe all enjoy getting what we want, and certain methods are considerably more effective than others.

The ineluctable power of flirtation is one of the most invaluable tools in your social arsenal. I am incredibly effective at it, and apply my methods to all manner of human discourse – from girls with whom I have lifelong friendships to my insatiably sunny sister, from my myriad colleagues to my lovers (prospective and otherwise). Flirting, however, has a bad rap, and that’s unfortunate. The term typically connotes insincerity and a lack of humility. It is more often regarded as a deceitful device for extracting what you want from another person than a gift, and to label somebody as such – a flirt – is a dismissive epithet rather than a compliment. I am here to reclaim the fine art of flirting as a practice based as much on mutuality and trust as it is cunning and craft. This week’s Sex by Numbers is an examination of five tools for making the magic happen.

Bring It & Mean It

People are so often lost in negative internal monologues by which they compare themselves to others, engage in self-defeating self-reflection, and feel as if nobody really gives a damn. It’s your job – and perhaps even obligation – to burst their bedraggled bubble and remind them that they matter. We are all small, scared animals with the tragic-comic weight of the world on our shoulders. Flirting, when approached humanely and with compassion, serves as a useful reminder to another person: I see you, I like what I see, you bring something to the world that that is singularly unique, I thank you for it.

Highlight the Hot Shit

See something that you adore and admire in another person? Make sure that in no uncertain terms that they are aware of it. Based on your accumulated knowledge of somebody else, take a moment to reveal to them themselves – in their very best light. Consider, for instance, a co-worker who you almost can’t stand. Step back a minute. What aspect, however small, of their character turns you on? Maybe all you can spot is their ability to brew a good pot of coffee when they arrive at the office every morning. Tell them, by god, that they make a mean cup of joe. The compliment can endow a morning ritual that they might consider tedious or overlooked into an aspect of their day that is suddenly rich with meaning and allows them to experience a heightened sense of connection with their peers. A kind word can affect a world of good.

Be a Peacemaker and Bridge Builder

Nobody likes complainers or trouble-makers. They instead prefer people who can elevate the level of good cheer and positive energy in the room. Make yourself a valued member of the group by facilitating an abiding sense of solidarity and ease among others. Help people foster friendships with others, set an example for how people should treat one another, and generally be a guiding light in all of your affairs to cultivate intimacy and togetherness among a gathered crowd of acquaintances. Your enthusiasm, intellectual energy, and emotional stability can establish a tone that acknowledges how important everybody’s contributions are to the overall sense of joy and belonging that permeates a social space. It has the added advantage of making you invaluable.

Eye Contact and Body Talk

People need to see and be seen. It’s why we gather in bars after work and dance clubs on the weekends. It’s why we compulsively update our Facebook statuses and tag friends in pictures. It’s why we don’t avert our gaze from that tall, mustachioed man on the other side of the room. It reminds us that we exist and reinforces our participation in a milieu much greater than ourselves. And, since this is what people need, give it to them. In short, treat people how they would like to be treated. Like the looks of the guy walking toward you along the sidewalk? Good. Register your attraction by making eye contact and even offering a smile. Notice somebody noticing you while you’re checking out the art at a gallery exhibition opening party? Perfect. Approach him and ask what he thinks about how the curators hung the paintings – really, any pretext will do. And since you’re not being shy about looking him in the eye, further your impact by briefly allowing your eyes rove across his chest and arms. Why not? If you appreciate something, be bold. The worst that can happen is that nothing becomes of your overtures, and even with that you’ve lost nothing at all.

Killer Confidence

The advice is trite but true:  Confidence is crucial for getting what you want, both professionally and personally. Confidence isn’t an affectation, but rather a manifestation of love for oneself and others. It’s empowering and emboldening to make others feel good about themselves, and flirting – as described here – might very well be the key to forging some confidence of your own. We all get caught up in cycles of behavior that shape what we think of ourselves and determine who we will become. Perhaps flirting (conscientiously and mindfully) might be the panacea for us all. Go on and give it a go.

Sex By Numbers is an ongoing look into the emotional and sexual lives of the modern day woman. Follow Abigail Wick weekly here for insight and inspiration as she explores the “sex” of women and the terrain they must travel.

Article Images: Cia de Foto, Author Image: Alina Rudya