Tag Archives: flirting

Things that matter are not easy. Feelings of happiness are easy. Happiness is not. Flirting is easy. Love is not. Saying you’re friends is easy. Being friends is not.

–David Levithan

(via Things I’ve Learned from Being Open)

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If we’re still conflating harassment with attraction, then the point has not been made clear enough: harassment is about power, not about sex. When making lewd comments to a woman he doesn’t know on the street, a man is not flirting. He’s asserting his dominance. He’s reminding that woman of her “place.” He’s performing a masculinity based on control. This isn’t sexual liberation.

–Mychal Denzel Smith, “The intellectual defense of sexual harassment (Hint: there isn’t one)”

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

Random young fairly non-sketchy seeming guy outside the Center City subway station last night, to me

I just wanted to say that you are absolutely beautiful, and if I was a little bit taller, I’d be all over you.

I thanked him and kept it moving, as is my general strategy when I am approached on the street by reasonably non-sketchy seeming men I don’t know, but I’m not gonna front–he put a little pep in my step.


*cue feeling like a bad feminist*

A Curious Case of Flirting Failure

I had an interesting encounter with an unknown gentleman last night.

I went to see Chrisette Michele at the Howard Theatre. I didn’t go with RG. I didn’t go with my Live Soul Meetup group. I didn’t reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while at a show. Nope–I went all by myself. If EY read this blog, she’d be proud of me. I’ll admit I was kind of nervous about it, though, especially because it was a seated show, and I wasn’t looking forward to being awkwardly placed at a table with people who knew each other well (or were tryna get to know each other a little better)…

Luckily, I got there early enough to snag a seat at the bar. I was sitting by myself, not looking at the drink menu because I knew what I was going to order, and rather reading Asses to Asses, Bust to Bust on the Kindle app on my fancy new Android MP3 player (on which I’m currently writing this post). So there I am, reflecting on my experiences with casual sex as I read the first chapter, when a guy comes and sits to my right. I’d been angled a little to the left, so I turned to face the bar so as to size him up in my peripheral. He was cute enough and had some style–I decided I would definitely talk to him.

He initiated the conversation. He’d been poring over the drink menu for a few minutes when I ordered mine. He said he’d been thinking about getting that and asked if I’d had it before, which led to who we’d each seen at this theatre before, which led to how long we’ve been in DC, what we do, where we went to school… He was 25 and had just finished getting his Master’s in Education. My alma mater wowed him, as it tends to do, and he applauded my decision to take some time between undergrad and grad school, because he didn’t and it wore him out.

These normal getting-to-know-someone-new questions quickly grew into a legitimate and interesting conversation. He asked me how I was liking the diversity in the District, and was “fascinated” by the fact that I’d found my first Black community at Princeton. We talked about how DC seems slightly Southern to me (I am living in a land of Krispy Kreme stores and wherein strangers will say “Good morning” on their way to work) but radically Northern culturally to a North Carolina-born, Georgia-educated brother like him. We talked about how it hurts him that he could never invite his gay friend to his hometown.

Our conversation drifted back to music a lot, which is natural given the circumstances and the fact that musical tastes were where we had the most in common. He had seen Chrisette’s show the night before with friends, and enjoyed it so much that he had to come back. (#impressed) His favorite concert of all time is an artist whom I *crave* the chance to see live. My best concert experience is near the top of his list, and we were blown away by her for the same reasons. We realized that we’re both planning to come to the same concert in a few weeks.

He asked me if I was eating and I admitted to having had dinner at home before. He had too. We both paused for a few seconds before both saying we could go for some fries. I hipped him to the bar menu rather than the dinner menu, and he declared that he would buy an order of fries for us to share. He got up to use the restroom and told me to go ahead and put the order in for him. We shared our fries and had a conversation about opening acts (hers wasn’t that great). 

He’d mentioned earlier that he was an Alpha, so I brought up how I don’t know anything about Greek life because of eating clubs and he showed me a picture of his line brothers while telling me about how much his involvement with the Alphas meant to him. We talked about how moving he found the MLK Memorial and how “DC” I felt on the 4th of July when I watched the fireworks from the Lincoln Memorial. I told him about the great brunch place I’ve discovered in Dupont Circle and we discovered a shared love of breakfast foods at all times of the day/night. 

He complimented me on my hair and we talked a bit about the “natural revolution” that’s going on. He loves it and has been trying to convince his mom to go natural for years. This led to him showing me an old family photo from when he was 8 on his iphone (which had a case that looked like an original GameBoy! +2). I told him about my mom’s recent battle with cancer and subsequent head-shaving. We talked about our siblings, how he didn’t get close until his older sister until he went to college, and how my little sister was moving in tomorrow (today) to start her freshman year. He later complimented my necklace and we discussed where he might be able to get more bracelets from. 

Our conversation wasn’t constant–we were distracted by phones and the music itself, but still, the conversation was good. I realized while he was in the bathroom that I don’t think I’ve ever just opened up to a complete stranger like this in places that aren’t the internet. I was surprised by how well our conversation was going, and kind of reassured that maybe I could do first date small-talk less horrifically than I imagined. And then Chrisette started and we stopped talking, but let our knees lightly rest against one another when we turned to face the stage.

About halfway through her set, he called our bartender over to ask for his check. The bartender brought mine as well, and when I dug in my wallet for my debit card, I also got out one of my special business cards with my cell number written on the back. He’d told me earlier that he would probably have to leave early because he was running orientation for parents and students tomorrow at work. I transferred the card to the inside pocket of my purse for easy access when he asked for my number. He kept his phone and wallet out on the bar next to him for another song or two, sometimes picking his phone up trying to sneak some video before he left. I thought about covertly placing my card on top of his wallet, but sneak tactics didn’t seem necessary. We’d been getting along great! So I watched Chrisette and waited for him to make the move…

…but he didn’t. When she got into her gospel music, which meant she was almost done for the night, he slid his wallet into his pocket, hopped down from his stool, said it was nice to meet me, and was gone, leaving me to wonder if after two initiations on his part, it had been my turn to push things further, or if I’d said/done things to make him reconsider between our fries and our goodbyes, or 498734984 other things. I’m not like, super sad that I’ll likely never see him again or anything–I wasn’t *that* caught up in him. I’d just thought that things were going well, so was fairly disappointed when things stopped as suddenly as they’d started. #wompwomp

Public service announcement:

…if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.”

–Phaedra Starling, guest post here

Why do I talk to uninteresting/creepy guys that are talking to me?

Just read this on a blog about rape culture:

Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts. (source)

And though I try to be good about recognizing stupid things I have been socialized to do and not doing them just because it’s more convenient in the moment, I do this all. the. fucking. time.

Okay, well, at least a lot. I can think of a few examples off the top of my head.

Most recently: So I have a new guy’s number in my phone. His name is Matthew. He is a grown man. Thankfully, he’s pretend-to-be-classy-enough to have given me his number instead of asking for mine, so our interactions will not continue, but let me explain how I came to have Matthew’s number.

It was a little before midnight last Monday night. I was standing on the platform at Trenton Transit Station, waiting for my train to take me to Princeton Junction, on my long trip back to campus from my interview in DC. There was a tall pretty cute guy standing to my left, and he caught my eye and I smiled a small smile at him. (This habit of smiling at strangers is something I picked up from my years of working in customer service, and I’m conflicted about whether it’s a habit I need to try to break.) I sat down on the train and he sat one row behind me, to my left. As he’s sitting, he asks me if this is the local train, and I know it’s starting. But then he gets a phone call! He picks up and it’s muthafucka this, nigga that, and I have decided that I have no interest in talking to this man. But then he tells whomever he’s talking to that his phone is dying and he needs that last bit of juice to last him to NY, so he’ll call him back later. Damn. I was almost free from talking to this man. We sit in silence for a minute or so, and then he starts again. I must commend him for his opening line: “Why you got all that hair tied up like that?” (We naturals are known for pride in our hair, I suppose.) I explained that I was coming home from an interview, and he asked me about the position and whether I wanted to move to DC and why and why not Philly or NY? He explained that he splits his time between Philly and NYC, has apartments in both places (the rent for the Manhattan apartment, which is only a few blocks from Penn Station, is $2k a month), and he owns a recording studio and sells cars. He didn’t go to college, but his sister went to UPenn. He thought there were 5 Ivies (Cornell, Brown, and Dartmouth weren’t on his list. Go figure.) He was talking about how great it is to be able to call himself a success without being in the drug game, and how much satisfaction that gives him, that he makes money cleanly and legally, and I respected that. He was kind of re-vamping my opinion of him until he mentioned that he has a son and he’s really cute too. Yes, sir, it’s great that you have a kid and evidently like/take care of him, but you are a grown-ass man who runs businesses and has a child and why are you interested in a 21-year-old college student? My answers had gone from being succinct and designed to express non-interest to semi-conversational, but at this point I was just like, wait, why am I talking to his man? Okay, he said I was pretty and he complimented me on my smile and my grey nails and the way I said “they match my suit…which is also grey.” So what? (Side note: he also busted right out with “What are you mixed with?” And then seemed dubious of my “nothing recently…” This bothers me on multiple levels and will probably get its own post, so I’m going to move on.) We got to Hamilton and he asked when my stop was and I said next, and he said something that expressed dissatisfaction at this. Later he said, “So how are we gonna do this? You gonna take my number or what?” (Sir, you are not entitled to me. There is no guarantee that we’re going to do anything.) I paused and may have “Hmmm”ed, which threw him off guard; he said, “What, you considering it or something?” “Am I not allowed to consider it?” “Well you, like, actually stopped and thought about it. You had me a little worried.” I took his number, knowing I would never call it. 

Why did I do this? I have done this before! As long as the guy wasn’t rude or legit calling me out on the street like this is an appropriate means of communication, I will generally entertain their advances, regardless of my own disinterest. I suppose I’ve always just interpreted it as, hey, I’m a nice person, and he doesn’t seem to be an asshole, so I’ll let him spit game as long as it doesn’t seem like it’s going to definitively lead anywhere I don’t want it to go. Or as you know, I should work on my communication skills, or on talking to “regular” people (yes I know this term is all kinds of problematic; I just don’t know a better way to phrase what I mean. Please volunteer one if you have one.) I don’t give such guys my number when they ask–“I just don’t give it out. It’s just a rule I have.”–and I won’t volunteer to take theirs. But what’s making me feel obligated to talk to them? Why do I feel the need to justify why I won’t invite these men into my life by giving them my number? Operating under the rule that any men who do not seem like total and complete disrespectful creeps are allowed to occupy my time is…basically wrong on every level. When a guy calls out to me on the street, I will either ignore or flat out reject him (click here and here for interesting stories from my summer in New Brunswick), but on a train I feel like I’d be being rude by not allowing conversation to happen. But this is RIDICULOUS and I need to stop, like, immediately.