A married woman recently wrote and asked what she could say when someone flirted with her. She was uncomfortable and didn’t know how to express herself.
Flirting is so common today that it’s become a coin of casual social interaction. Examples:
“Wow, do you look good. We ought to get together sometime.”
“Niiiiice,” while thoroughly scanning the object of the word from head to toe, pausing especially on physical features universally known to have sexual connotations.
“That dress looks really great on you.”
Most men justify their flirting as innocent—as do women, who call it “cute”—but even the most superficial examination reveals that this is not true. No heterosexual guy would say to another, “Niiiiice,” while looking his friend up and down. Nor would a guy comment on another man’s physical appearance before suggesting that they “get together” sometime. And when a man says that a dress looks good on a woman, it is universally understood that the dress is not the point.
When men comment on a woman’s appearance, it is almost unthinkable that they are saying that she is geometrically pleasing, or that she color coordinates well with the wall behind her. They’re usually commenting on her sexual attractiveness, and often they’re also expressing a hope about her sexual availability.
As a woman, how can you respond? Depends on what you want. If you’re interested in having sex, that’s easy to communicate, and most men respond favorably to such expressions. If you are not interested in sexual banter or activity, that expression is more difficult for most women.
One non-sexual response might go like this: “What you just said—and the way you looked at me—has a sexual connotation, whether you realize it or not. But I’m not interested in that kind of relationship, so how would you like this conversation to continue?”
Depending on his response—verbal and not—you might add, “I would like to get to know you as a person, which could be rewarding, but there would be nothing sexual about it. What would you like?”
This kind of directness would be quite unfamiliar to almost every guy—even startling—but it quickly separates the men who are being sexual from those who are not, and many women have used this approach either to form genuine friendships or to discourage men who would be interested only in using them.
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