Mystery Dance

What is the point of flirting on the internet?

Come to think of it, what is the point of flirting at all? I mean, when you have no intention of getting up close and making out, why wink and giggle and exchange sly innuendo? Flirting, or whatever you want to call it, is prelude to sex, isn’t it? If, as I suspect, nine out of ten cases of flirting do not lead to sex because the flirter doesn’t want to have sex with you, what the heck is going on?

If I like you and you flirt with me, I will want to take it to the next level, and the next, and the next, as quickly as possible. I can’t help it. So in person, it’s not really flirting. It’s teasing.

But on the internet, it’s far removed even from teasing. In most cases you are using your cute lines on somebody you don’t know, who is responding from a place god knows where, and the chance that a next level even exists is down there right around – say it with me now – zero.

So flirting on the internet: Are you doing it for yourself, to show yourself that you’ve still got it or something? Does it somehow boost your ego? Are you demonstrating to others that you are a player? Have you just not thought it through and realized that it’s going nowhere?

Why don’t you tell me about the mystery dance?

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32 Replies to “Mystery Dance”

  1. Who knows, it’s fun sometimes. I sometimes hear bloggers who admit to meeting in person later with their blogger flirts. In my case, it’s only some of the boys who live in Texas or otherwise close by, and I haven’t been flirting with them. Well, there’s you, but you live safely far away. There is not much legitimacy in all of Bloggerland, I suppose, and I would rather have the fun than to insist on everything being honest and straightforward. I’m only flirting with people I really like AND who are really flirt-worthy. Some of the women bloggers I talk to via comments and email don’t seem like very good candidates for flirting with, so I just leave that element out when talking to them. I assume a fuck would be out of the question in 95% of those cases if they suddenly moved next door.

  2. I don’t think that flirting always has to lead to sex. I think most of the time, that the “mystery” dance (ie. the fantasy of something coming of a flirtatious exchange), can be enough. It is for me anyway, & well yeah, it is kinda nice to know you still got it sometimes. (0;

  3. Hold up: You all flirt *consciously*? You deliberate about flirting? To me, it’s almost hardwired. Half the time I don’t realize I’m flirting, or that I’m being flirted with. Perhaps I’m merely friendlier than most people.

    It can cause problems sometimes. Problems such as, “Oh wait, sorry, I’m straight…” and, more recently, “Oh wait, sorry, I’m engaged.”

  4. Flirting is good, wholesome, apple-pie fun, and if it sometimes leads to sex, all the better. I think most people – most women at least – would acknowledge that there are as many motivations for flirting as there are people out there to flirt with. When you get down to it, I could be accused of flirting with seventy-year-old men and seven-year-old boys, if flirting means being sly and teasing enough to make a person blush. Obviously this doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them. Well, there may be a few seventy-year-old men out there who could make me reconsider that statement, but I haven’t met one yet.

  5. Ron – You ought to try a sexy remark or two with some o’ them ol’ boys. Statistically, a few will be receptive.

    T1 – You’re right – flirting doesn’t always lead to sex. Exactly the problem. What good is it? It almost never leads to sex.

    kStyle – Yes, sometimes we fire up the flirt engine knowingly, and taunt our coworkers, customers, fellow bus-riders and complete strangers at parties. Then we refuse to have sex with them. You mean you do it innocently and without knowing, like Charro?

    Erin – Thanks for joining in.
    Flirting is fun, because we think it’s leading to sex, right? Even when all our experience tells us that we are probably not on the express train to Pleasureville, we can’t help hoping, and thinking “Hey, (s)he’s interested in me…”

  6. Ususally, I think it’s harmless fun in an effort to boost the confidence of the flirter & the flirtee. That is the point of it most of the time, but as you said, about one out of 10 or so times- it might mean something more…

  7. kStyle – Yes, it’s flirting. You know what Dolly is known for, right? And then you say you have been compared. The image is inescapable. I feel so…used.

    T1 – You stop your reasoning too soon. You left out the part about how 90% of the time someone’s hopes and dreams are dashed.

  8. Not a fan of the flirting online (or anywhere else, for that matter). I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea about anything. The last time I flirted was in 1997, I believe, when I started making moves on the hubby. My flirting days are officially over.

  9. WTF is your problem with flirting? That every little flirtation doesn’t lead directly to “sex”? And the reason “sex” is in quotes is because good flirting can be nearly as satisfying in some ways.

    See, I think flirting is fun for its own sake, that it’s not merely or primarily a prelude to the rubbing of naked body parts. I also think it’s kind of subtle, in its own way, if you can enjoy it for its own sake. Take, for example, male friends with whom I don’t exactly flirt–there are other aspects of our relationship that kind of prevent that–but there are occasional slightly flirtatious moments between us. I like that little bit of zing. I don’t think either of us wants to push it any further. With one person, for example, we’ve occasionally become obliquely flirtatious, and that’s really nice, but sex isn’t likely to become part of our relationship.

    I’m rambling here, because I sense a fundamental problem we all must address. On one hand, we kind of want to do the mystery dance with everyone we meet (or I do, anyway), out of curiousity and general lust. On another hand, we especially kind of want to do the dance with people we like. But on the other hand, it rapidly becomes complicated and impractical, even for those of us with open relationships, and I’m not such a big fan of drama, so we really must put limits somewhere.

    Here’s another question for you, Larry: If you don’t like flirting unless it leads to sex, does that mean you don’t want to flirt with women you’re friends but not lovers with?

  10. Goldie – I’m not talking about polite, generic compliments about haircuts or new shoes. I’m talking about sexually charged innuendo and “accidental” touches which both sides know are not accidental. This stuff should be headed somewhere, and most of the time it’s not. Plus, on the internet, at long range? WTF?
    And if I’m flirting with a woman who is a friend but not a lover, maybe she should cross over.

    And now, only because I like the way this sounds and looks: Drama, schmama.

  11. Larry, Larry. Would you rather women not flirt with you? I mean, unless they wanted to move past the “accidental”? Think of all the fun, quirky dialogue you’d miss.

  12. Yes, I, too, am talking about little touches and a dash of innuendo–nothing over the top, but definitely a little zing. Why does it have to be headed somewhere? Why can’t it be enjoyable for its own sake? And, really, I think the place it’s headed is an acknowledgement that one finds the other person attractive, even if there isn’t a good way to act on that attraction without causing problems. Who doesn’t like the sense that s/he is attractive to someone s/he likes?

    I don’t know about the crossing over. Sometimes it’s okay, other times it just adds complications that will ultimately take away from the relationship and from the intimacy that already exists in the relationship. For me (and others around me), sometimes it’s more intimate to acknowledge an attraction and not act on it in the way you seem to demand.

  13. Erin – No, I still want to be flirted with, although I see I am on the verge of no one ever again wanting to. But, believe it or not, I have plenty of fun, quirky dialog with men and women with whom I am not flirting.

    Goldie – I’m not demanding anything except don’t send signals of feelings and intentions you don’t really have. I may be socially inept. I can’t decode.

    (Erin did say it more flirtatiously, didn’t she?)

    Guys – Little help?

  14. Sorry Larry, I would prefer to be flirted with and then dashed on the rocks than nothing at all. To me, flirting shows interest and strokes my ego. Now granted, I am not sure that I have been flirted with in the manner you are speaking of. If women kept heavily flirting with strong sexual overtones and none of those “panned” out, then it would easily become discouraging and no longer “fun”.

    Summing up:
    fun flirts = good,
    strong sexual flirts with no possiblity = frustration

  15. 1. yes, everything Emma said.

    2. Larry, I suspect the problem is not really with flirting in general, but rather with a particular frustrating situation you’re dealing with now. Si o no?

  16. I can’t speak for the other interveners here, but it just seemed to me that the comment was out of proportion to our own experiences of disappointment. It sounds like you’re saying, “If you’re not going to put out, then don’t flirt with me at all, because I’ll just be frustrated and disappointed.” It also sounds like you’re saying, “Don’t make me have to decode a single damn thing–in my book, flirting=wants to have sex.” I (and I think some others here) think that while flirting sometimes means “wants to have sex,” sometimes it means “wants to have sex, but recognizes it as a bad idea in this situation” or “finds you attractive and is letting you know, but doesn’t feel compelled to act on it.” We like those latter circumstances and it seems that you don’t, and at least some of us don’t get why you don’t.

  17. A larger story here perhaps? You don’t strike me as someone who gets rejected that often, what with the witty rock star thing you have going on. So, who is she?

  18. Goldie – A harsh judgment. I look like an asshole when viewed the way you decribe it. Starting to feel like one, too.

    Erin – You caught me. But the real story must remain a secret for now.

    kStyle – I was cranky about something, and I dashed off a cranky post, then found myself defending a position I was rapidly losing faith in. So yeah, defensive is the word.

    Who knows? One day I may be able to flirt again.

  19. Well, and, I think the reason we’re pushing you on this is that we don’t think you’re really an asshole! Don’t worry about it: I think all of us say things sometimes that, when boiled down to their essences, aren’t positions we really want to take or defend. But sometimes it takes some working out and working through them to realize (a) what the essence is and (b) that we don’t really agree with it.

  20. Larry, you sparked an incredibly fun discussion. I’m just aggravated at the dame for giving you the run-around! Everything I’ve read from you gives no indication of you being a jerk; quite the contrary, you seem kind, smart, and witty.

    Am I flirting again? Sorry. Just can’t help it.

  21. My hopes are dashed!
    I’ve been flirting with you for months and months, and now you tell me that my chances of shagging you are ZERO? Why have I been wasting my time and energy?
    Larry, you are nothing but a big tease!

  22. Goldie – Thank you. You’re strict, but merciful.

    kStyle – I’m glad somebody had fun. Y’all come back.

    Theresa – You want to shag me? Did I mention that I take back everything I said in this post? Yeah, I thought I mentioned that.

  23. I SUCK at flirting. First of all, any time I go to “wink-wink, hair-tossing land,” I end up with some psycho standing on a ladder, whispering in the window that he’s decided to spend the night, and the Girlfrands all have to come over and help me stand guard.

    I’ve thus reverted to good old-fashioned conversation, which resulted, 2 weeks ago, in someone telling me “this isn’t the conversation I’m used to having while I’m out in a bar, y’know?”…

    I felt like such a schoolmarm.

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