Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A flirty-girl decoder guide

As promised, today’s post goes inside the neurons behind all that “female complication” male readers complained about yesterday. However, as my own signs of interest can be a little inconsistent (making eye contact, avoiding eye contact, answering emails promptly, delaying reply to emails, IMing, not IMing ...), I decided outside consultation might be useful.

Best Friend claims women sometimes show their interest by not wearing underwear, but according to the weather lady on the radio that may just be a logical response to the heat we’ve had of late (though going commando in this city may say more about the lady’s hygiene than anything significantly romantic).

Canvassing a co-worker here at Ad Co. expanded the list to include:
  • looking nice
  • voice going up in tone
  • playing with hair excessively
Many of these behaviors might be called “preening”; I prefer to classify them under the category of “simpering.” Others forms of flirting and expressions of interest include the following.

fashion: may include flaunting cleavage, wearing well-fitting or otherwise flattering clothes, going bare-legged in cold weather for the sake of wearing a great dress, strutting around in painful but asset-enhancing stilettos or other shoes (see Wedding Planner for examples of the perils we risk by so doing), wearing makeup to group volleyball sessions or other outdoor activities (despite the prospect of sweating), use of push-up sports bras at the gym (I swear these things exist) ... and strategic application of lip gloss (my personal favorite).

Personal example: My freshman year of college, I had a crush on this saxophone player — one of the earliest instances of my weakness for guys who make music. One semester we even had a class together, two times a week. You can be sure I wore my sexiest clothes every Tuesday and Thursday, maintaining a complex rotation of the tight-fitting tops in my wardrobe while avoiding undue repetition. You’d think we would need calendars to keep this stuff straight, but maybe that’s why my memory’s almost photographic ...

socializing: finds excuses to invite you along to gatherings with her friends, jumps up or otherwise materializes at your side and/or on the fringes of your posse every time you come around (this was evidently Hint #1 to his friends that I liked Poster Boy, in that summer of ’99), works her way into your social circle after meeting you, starts using the women’s bathroom on your end of the floor, visits your employer during the shifts you work, starts attending your church service, relocates to the section of the classroom/sanctuary/office meeting room/train near where you usually sit, becomes a huge fan of your favorite hang-outs, switches into your section of class or choice of Sunday school ... Phew, that’s quite a list! Well, you get the gist. Basically, the woman creates as many opportunities for you to casually or “accidentally” bump into each other.

Personal example: I first met the Captain at the church service we were both then attending. At the time it was simply the most convenient for me, but even after I moved to Brooklyn (from which the commute became progressively worse, exacerbating my tardy tendencies) I kept going. How could I give up the only consistent chance I had to see him? Needless to say, switching services to the one I now attend happened after the crush ended.

body language: struts past your cube regularly, sashays past as if she doesn’t see you (though her posture may be more confident than when you pass her unexpectedly on the street on day), plays with hair, applies lip gloss deliberately, licks eating implements slowly during meals, dramatically sweeps lashes when opening eyes to look at you, stretches arms so as to emphasize curves, faces toward you when speaking in group settings, blushes when she sees you, falls down stairs or otherwise manifests extreme klutziness in your presence, catches your eyes across the room, finds excuses to touch you (compares size of hands or wrists, slugs you in the arm, swats you on the butt, offers or seeks back rubs, collides with you on volleyball court), doesn’t fold arms or block your access to viewing her curves ... etc.

Personal example: With my fair skin, I was once the queen of blushing. Nowadays it may not occur so much in my face as it does the whole neck/shoulder region. Strangely this also occurs during public speaking, on which basis friends once advised me to wear turtlenecks when talking. Something I’ll have to bear in mind next Friday during a recently added brief speaking engagement (I’ll probably read something from the blog).

And those are all the decoder tips I’ve got for now! Feel free to share your own observations in the comments.