Conversations with my sister are usually very funny. I suppose it’s the shared life, shared blood, and shared parents. People say we don’t look the same, but we sound the same. (She would say that I speak in a really posh-grammar-school way. She seems more sarf-London).
We cover many topics: from race, to politics, through to the latest issue my parents are dealing with. More often than not though, we end up analysing various social interactions. Over the years, I’ve found myself asking questions, listening, and categorising her ramblings. One night a few years ago, we were musing about men and how they talk to women. Now over the years, we’ve been out socially a lot together. I’ve seen men approach my sister, and she’s seen women (and men) approach me (FYI: I’ve now been married to my wife for eight years. My sister is in a long-term relationship with a great guy). Mostly, I’ve laughed at men’s failed attempts to have some kind of interaction (i.e. flirt) with her, and then laughed more at her ability to cut them down.
From that conversation, we have created categories of men in their interactions with women. It was so equally profound and funny that I made a note of it and told her I’d write about it… at some point.
Think of this list as less of a list and more of a hyperbolic curve. There is an optimum point.
Men, when they’re communicating with women employ a range of strategies. Maybe these interactions can be grouped together as their ‘flirting style’.
Us men probably have a preferred ‘flirting style’(?). Perhaps the more sophisticated and socially adept can employ different ‘flirting styles’ to different situations.
We don’t claim to have it all worked out – but we do still talk about it. And it still makes us laugh.
A word of warning. This set of categories is both tongue-in-cheek but useful. Categorising things helps simplify complicated stuff. Also remember, too – it’s from a woman’s viewpoint so it will be useful for us men.
- The Blatant Perve
He stares. Blatantly. Obviously. The wannabe-alpha dreams of women throwing themselves at him – but they don’t. Instead of actually making an approach, he stays risk free, and aloof. Pretending he’s a strong guy. He’s likely to be the alpha amongst the men, attractive to the women, but hollow inside. He’s really a mollusc (i.e. lacking in backbone).
- Sly perve
He flicks his eyes around the room. He scans. He notices how she’s dressed. Her cleavage. The legs. Hangs on to the blatant perve and wishes he could own the room the way they do. Perhaps a bitter and twisted Crap Flirt or Shit (see below).
- Good Flirt
Armed with a smile, he’s able to start a conversation. And actually be normal. But there’s a (not so hidden) purpose to his interactions. He’s goal-oriented and well-trained. It’s almost too practised. But he’s the envy of his friends because he closes the deals and produces results. Women see through him, but they enjoy the ride. He may be the (hidden) alpha – or more likely – the alpha’s friend.
Seemingly indifferent and aloof, but actually secure. Most likely not single, or perhaps not interested in the ladies around. Maybe out for a good night with friends. And yet – those women are very likely to be attracted to, or feel comfortable around him.
- Crap Flirt
Desperate. Wants to be a Good Flirt and frequently out-performed by them. Perhaps on his way there. May be a little clumsy – but occasionally produces a result…which spurs him on. Most likely to get friend-zoned and be too nice.
Desperate. Says nothing. Too afraid to blatantly perve, or even slyly perve. Stays nervous with his friends. May eventually find a talent and become his polar opposite – the blatant perve.
My feeling is – we can identify with being any of these styles on a night out. Perhaps more than one during one night – given other variables such as alcohol consumption, social group or venue.
The funny thing about these categories is that we hadn’t read Neil Strauss’ (somewhat incendiary) book The Game at that point. When we eventually read it, I thought it was utterly hilarious. Then my sister and wife read it – and they both thought it was utterly hilarious.
At the same time – it’s incredibly insightful.
And guess what – we still refer to these categories…
…along with the terminology in Neil Strauss’ book – which I certainly recommend.
My point is – play with different ideas, keep what’s useful and get rid of the rest. Have fun and be real.