I give away some hard-won flirting tips, and explain how even a bad experience can be made good. Sort of. (Keep the Ben & Jerry's on standby, just in case.)
I was on Grindr the other day… Again. You’d think I’d learn my lesson and leave well alone, but the thought that I might potentially get to give some handsome man a good seeing-to tends to override the learned reality that I’ll actually just spend far too long talking to weirdos before giving up and having a wank instead.
Anyway, the latest spectacular Grindr fail was a guy whose opening line was “Hi, can you host?” as if it was fine to go from introducing himself to arranging whose house we were going to shag at without any of the bits in between What’s wrong with some flirting?
I love a good flirt. Nothing perks me up like a good bit of back-and-forth with someone attractive. It brightens my day, puts a smile on my face and probably replenishes my electrolytes. I mean, it might. I’ve no idea what they are. I don’t think anyone does. It’s just one of those things, like a conscience or Bank of England interest rates. We’re told they exist and that they’re important, people talk about them as if they know what they are, but no-one really knows.
Anyway, flirting really picks me up. Like once when I was having a bad day and generally feeling a bit miserable a cute builder winked at me from some scaffolding. I giggled like a schoolgirl for hours afterwards. Which was a little inappropriate, as I was on my way to a funeral, but still. It made listening to the vicar droning on whizz by, I’ll tell you that.
Anyway. Random encounters with burly scaffolders with cheeky smiles and pert bums aside, I do love a flirt. It’s like a workout for your brain - you have to think fast, be witty, keep things sexy. And, much like a workout, you feel pretty good about yourself afterwards. It even puts you in the mood for sex. A bit. It’s all the endorphins and hormones swooshing around. In fact, in both cases, it makes sex better. Exercising your body means you can enjoy it more because you’re fit enough to move around a bit instead of just laying there, and a good cheeky chat gets your brain doing similar things.
I’ve heard flirting referred to as a bit of a dance, which I can see - as you move, so does your opponent, and you keep going until you’re both knackered and the judges are giving out scores.
I haven’t always been great at chatting to hot guys. It took me a long time to realise that there was more to flirting than just buying drinks for people. In fact, I used to get drunk in bars and clubs, and I’d be in the queue at the bar for another drink, and we’d smile at each other, I’d not know how to start a conversation and just blurt out “Want a drink?” which was great as an opening gambit, and it certainly made me popular, but then, once we’d been served and he had his drink, I’d kinda panic and just sort of go “Well, nice to meet you…” before wandering off and leaving the guy with his drink. I can’t recommend this course of action, as it gets expensive really quite quickly.
Although another time when I was very drunk and chatting with a guy at the bar in Heaven, I ordered us both shots. He very tactfully told me his boyfriend was just over there, overcompensating a bit I said “excellent!” and ordered him a shot, too. The boy beckoned his boyfriend over and explained what was going on. Boyfriend did that long-look-up-and-down thing made eye contact with me, curled his lip and said “Don’t drink it”. Normally, I’d have been “cool, more for me”, but boyfriend’s tone got my back up, so I held his gaze, knocked back all three and gave him the finger before winking at the guy I’d originally bought the shot for and wandering off. I don’t remember how that night ended, but it probably involved a dirty burger and a sad wank, but I’m still going to count that as a win for me.
But as opening lines go,”Can I buy you a drink?” isn’t a bad one. A couple of others I like, and have used before are “You look familiar… Have we met?” and “Do we go to the same gym? Could have sworn I saw you in there earlier…” That one is particularly good - as it also gently implies that you’re the kind of person who goes to the gym, and if the lighting is right and they’ve had a few drinks already, they might start thinking that your body is bulging with muscle and not just cake.
To be honest thought, the best opening line, and I really shouldn’t share this, because y’know, I don’t want to give away all of my secrets, but the BEST opening line of all time is “Hi, how’re you?”. And I don’t mean in that “Hey, how’re you can I have a cappuccino” type of shit that people use when they know they have to make the right noises before asking for something. Mean it. Ask someone how they are and be genuinely interested in their answer. Of course, whatever opening line you go for, you have to make sure you’re prepared to continue the conversation.
Otherwise you end up like I did last week, when I complimented a guy on his tattoos, he said thanks and then we sat in awkward silence for 20 minutes.
Although actually, that’s not as bad as the time when I was in a bar, feeling all confident, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of a handsome guy who’d been posing against a wall for half an hour or so. You know the kind of thing, he’s stunningly handsome, and the longer you look, the more obsessed you get, until it all gets a bit big and a bit much. So eventually, realising I had to make my move or leave and regret it forever, I walked up to him, smiled, said hi and just as I started asking him a question, he looked me up and down, stared into the distance and said “Move”.
Which was a bit of a kick in the tits for my confidence, if I’m honest. At least, in the short term. But then, after a while, once I’d stopped crying and inhaling Ben & Jerrys like Goldie Hawn at the beginning of Death Becomes Her, I realised that such a humiliating experience was actually something amazing: The worst had happened and some random pretty boy had shot me down in the harshest possible way, but I survived. And once I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, it became a lot easier to talk to people. Everyone gets shot down occasionally. You lick your wounds, start a couple of disgusting rumours about them and then move on. It was incredibly freeing, and although my confidence was dented in the short term, in the long term it helped me be more confident as I realised it doesn’t really matter anymore.
The thing that’s important, the key thing when it comes to flirting with someone, anyone, is confidence. Confidence is key. Confidence is itself what makes something sexy. And the great thing about that is that if you’re not feeling confident, you can just fake it. In fact, the best way to get confidence is to pretend like you already have it. Sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised how easily it works.
Although you have to be careful when getting confident that you don’t go too far the other way. A back-handed compliment might seem fine in your head, but it’s possible that saying “You don’t sweat much for a fat lad” isn’t going to get the reaction you expect. With that in mind, if you’re going to try something like that, always keep your mouth open. That way, if you get a drink thrown at you, it won’t all go to waste.