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flirting with flirting
it's an art and a science, but most of all, it's fun...
by todd w bush

Flirting is a past time. It is not confined to the US, or even to Europe. I bet cavemen and cavewomen even flirted with each other, if it's possible to flirt in grunt-ese. Who knows, you can be damn sure it was it was tried and obviously, since we're here, it was successful.

You all know the situation, in a scene straight out of the quintessential mid- to late-20’s dating movie, Swingers, our hero, beer in hand, makes his way over to a nice-looking young lady. She’s got a great smile, and he thought he saw her flash it to him when he glanced in her direction, so thus strengthened of will and courage, he sets out across the crowded wilderness of the bar to make the first move. Expertly bobbing and weaving his way through the masses, he finally gets within talking distance of her (which in a bar here in Germany is roughly the length of a fingernail), and magically a spot opens up next to her. It was as if the gods had shined their heavenly light on this chance meeting, and raised their mugs in approval to the young lad. He stands next to the fine filly and starts off the conversation is the best possible way: “Hey there, how are you?” No lines, nothing cheesy, just honest conversation. She turns, smiles that cover girl smile, and replies, “Fine, how are you?” The dance has begun, and a great, hard, confusing, and beautiful dance it is. Such is real life, sometimes.

The whole dating thing has been dissected in a plethora of books and articles already, even on this site by the lovely heather millen. But has flirting really been touched on? It is an art. A dance, and at the same, a duel of sorts, much like the old sword fights in the days of Errol Flynn and Daffy Duck. Regardless of what each person says or does, they don’t literally mean what they are doing or saying. In most cases, spies let out more truth than what springs forth in the average budding relationship. In fact, everything has a signal. The only problem with flirting is that not everyone has the same signal book. A simple throwing back of the hair by a girl could be a good sign that she's interested, or a desperate plea for help from her girlfriends. It’s like a coach calling out a play action pass to the quarterback and then seeing a shotgun formation come out of the huddle. And believe me, if somebody like Ross Geller from "Friends" is your quarterback, you don’t want any play called where he has to touch the ball. Flirting in real life can be dangerous, and yet the slim chance for reward is always there. Play it safe and never find out, or expose your tender underbelly on the off chance you might get it scratched rather than gutted.

So for those in the world who have some problems with the whole face-to-face thing, the internet has provided an escape. However, it’s also leveled the playing field. Tall, dark, and handsome Prom King types do great in the pubs and bars of the world, but if they don’t have skills or online mojo, well, let’s just say they come off like Booger and the boys at Lambda Lambda Lambda. And before you say that only computer nerds, online gamers, and people that look like Louis from Ghostbusters are the only ones who flirt online, mainly using those dating chat rooms, think real hard about that and remember some of the posts you thrown up on your favorite board. Just like it’s possible to flirt with someone while not in a bar or club, it’s also possible to flirt online when not in a dating chat room. Consider, I myself have been online for sometime, and occasionally venture into the chat rooms of MSN or Yahoo. But, the girls I have the most fun talking to and flirting with online I almost never see in chat rooms. Thank God for boards.

Flirting online and flirting in real life are essentially the same thing. Come up with a few nice compliments, a couple of witty comments and you are off and running. For those of us who are writers and can have time to think about what we are going to say, we have the opportunity to be Dean Martin online, and yet when we're face-to-face still be Jerry Lewis. A humorous example the other day happened when I was in one of my favorite chat rooms on Yahoo, and a guy who you knew was a real stud in a bar happened to venture into our room. His first comment to what he thought was a room full of pocket-protector type girls who would fall over themselves when he spoke, was “Wazzup ladies! Tall, blonde college guy. PM (private message) me and let’s get this thang on!” Now, online a girl or guy who isn’t terribly attractive can be the most popular girl in the room, simply by having the quickest wit. Unfortunately for this blonde chap, he walked into a room full of first ballot quick-wit Hall of Famers. The insults and barbs flew like Barry Bonds home run balls, with many of them centering on this guy’s lack of a brain. This brilliant example of America’s collegiate education system made the mistake of coming to a room predominantly inhabited by 25-40 year old women, most of whom could make quadruple what he could on an IQ test, and the poor guy left within a minute and a half. It’s too bad too, he missed some great jokes.

Flirting, whether online or in real life, shouldn’t be about appearance, clothing, or the way your hair (or lack thereof) looks. It’s about attitude and wits. Be playful, accept the occasional contest of smarts from a guy or girl, and have fun with it. If you’re in a bar, ladies, let a guy buy you a drink, and then stun him by buying him one next round. And if you’re online, for the love of God, don’t use “u” when you mean “you”. Spell out the damn words.


Todd's background includes military service, a stint at a movie theater, and getting turned down for a date by Sandra Bullock. All things that make him totally unqualified to be a writer. However, now that he's getting married in November, that might just do it.

more about todd w bush


shopping for history
went for history, i got andre, shopping, and a smelly german dude...
by todd w bush
topic: humor
published: 7.11.04

anakin, toby, and me
by todd w bush
topic: humor
published: 5.23.05


robert melos
6.21.04 @ 12:57a

So you're a chat room Lothario?

Sorry, I couldn't resist saying that. One of my closest friends, Lois, and I are terrible flirts. She and I have known each other since 2nd grade, and have just had a very compatible friendship. We've both been accused of flirting too much by others in our lives. We came to the conclusion that people don't understand the sport of flirting.

It's actually more fun than dating.

I agree that the Internet has been one of the great levelers in the history of man. Although I haven't done a lot of chatting in the chat rooms. I have entered them from time to time, but the Internet has also given new meaning to the Johnny Paycheck song, Pickin' Up Strangers.

For the pure enjoyment of the flirt, chat rooms are more fun, but I do like a face to face because it helps when you see the object of your flirtation reacting to your efforts.

It sounds like you've made an interesting study of this sport. Of course if you happened to be in the chat room the other night and your handle is MissileMan, I know for a fact PrettyLilMaid is a 60 year-old guy named Hugo.


adam kraemer
6.21.04 @ 11:23a

Oh, hell, I'm friggin' Valentino online. The real trick is to take what you learn by e-flirting and apply it to real life. Work on witty repartee and quick thinking. It works both ways.

heather millen
6.21.04 @ 3:39p

Online communication is such a blessing. Whether it be flirting or just trying to explain something you're thinking, it's much easier to slap it into a board or put it in an email. What did we do before having such an out?

Flirting in and of itself is a funny thing. The other day someone came up to me and said, "You know, God must have been in a good mood the day he created you."

Cheesy? Yes. Effective? Maybe not for his purposes, but it made me smile and at least put a dent in the bad mood I was in. Sometimes that's enough.

todd bush
6.23.04 @ 11:30p

I don't know what was worse, the fact that I laughed when I thought about someone saying this to heather... or the fact that I've used that line before in a bar. Ok, the second one is way worse.

robert melos
6.24.04 @ 8:15p

The most effective pick up is the straightforward honest approach. Just be yourself, and if they reject you it's their loss. Remember talk is cheap, but if the person you're hitting on is cheaper you need to rethink the quality of your talk.

tracey kelley
6.27.04 @ 9:33a

Gads, I'm a horrible flirt. Always have been, and the medium doesn't matter.

stephanie bryan
7.27.04 @ 11:41a

God, I'm glad I have tits.

mike julianelle
7.27.04 @ 11:47a

So am I, Stephanie. So am I.


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