The art of flirting the right way without coming across as a creep
Two experts discuss how to experience the pleasures of dating, romance and sex without coming across as a creep
Among the many good things that have come out of the #metoo and Time's Up movements, is the vital, yet often overlooked conversation on dating etiquette, consent and flirting. The general narrative is that most men lack clarity regarding what's appropriate and what's not, and that they need to be more intuitive, when it comes to recognising what the opposite sex is looking for.
Dr Kersi Chavda
In keeping with the times, Agents of Ishq, a multi-media project on love and desire, has organised a session titled, Flirting: What's Okay? What's Not Okay? today, where sexual rights advocate Arushi Singh and Dr Kersi Chavda, former president of the Bombay Psychiatric Society, will discuss the healthy approach to dating, romance and sex. We invited the two experts to examine six real scenarios faced by men and women, in terms of how best they could have negotiated the same.
Brynel Coutinho 21, self-employed
One of my schoolmates recently reconnected with me on social media. We would chat often, but then one day, he started inundating me with heart smileys and kisses in between random conversations. That's when the alarm bells rang.
Arushi Singh: I would just be frank and let the man know that what he is doing isn't appropriate. Sending heart smileys and kisses is certainly not the right way to go about letting someone know you are interested. It is more important to be upfront about your intention with a woman, and then it's her decision to take it or leave it. You need to engage in a conversation, which is honest and frank.
Kevin Mendonca 34, self-employed
I think the best way to get a woman's attention is by complimenting her. I am the kind of person who is observant of a woman's footwear or the accessories she is wearing. And, I don't hold back from letting her know if I think she has good taste.
Dr Kersi Chavda: I think telling a woman that she has good taste is perfectly fine, but to tell her that she has great footwear, could freak her out. She could think that he has a fetish or something. I feel that one should not over-do it to strike conversation.
Vinod Kumar Nadar 25, privately employed
I play the wait-and-watch game. I don't believe in flirting, instead I opt for long conversations with the girl I am interested in. It would be at least six to seven months, before I even try and make a move. Even here, I am very cautious, as I don't want to come across as a creep.
Dr Kersi Chavda: It is good to be nice and gentle, but if he finds her attractive, he needs to be clear and spell it out in that many words. Long-drawn-out conversations don't work at all. I do believe that he needs to show her that he cares for her, and do more than just talk, or it may come across as being wimpish.
Sushmita Murthy 30, freelance writer
I was at a New Year's Eve party at a restaurant, when this random man approached me and asked me for a dance. When I refused politely, he said it was unfair. He was behaving as if he was entitled to a dance. Though I didn't dance with him, I was very worried about having a confrontation with him.
Arushi Singh: Society makes men feel they are entitled, while women, on the other hand, are conditioned not to make a fuss. While I know where she is coming from, if she had friends around, she could have sought their help to ensure that the man backed off. I think young women, in particular, need to learn how to be brave. We shouldn't care two hoots about making a scene.
Gavin Chubby Methalaka 32, actor-comedian
When it comes to flirting, I follow the three Hs - humour, honesty, and hugging. While the first two work well, the latter is a tricky space for me. I am generally a spontaneous hugger, but, am always guarded when hugging a woman, especially when I am meeting her for the first time.
Arushi Singh: It sounds like he is conscious about how he is approaching women, and also being sensitive to what they want. But, if I was him, I would curb my instinct to hug someone, even if my intentions were clean. People have different life experiences, and different triggers. Keeping that distance is good.
Shefali Alvares 30, advocate
A man came up to me at a farewell party of a common friend, and started chatting. What irritated me was how he kept cutting in when I was speaking to others. He also forced me to accept his friend request on Facebook at the party. I tried to ignore him, but he mistook it as me being shy.
Dr Kersi Chavda: I think it's a disgusting move on the man's part. He comes across as being brutal and forceful. I would have suggested that she blocked him, as soon as she returned home. The best move here is to be upfront and walk off. It may come across as being rude, but this man seems problematic. This is Neanderthal behaviour.
'Flirting is healthy'
"I think flirting is healthy. There is always a little excitement associated with it, but, if that flirting starts getting linked with something inappropriate, then we need to re-think it. The most important thing that should be kept in mind is respecting the other person's desires and wishes. So, when flirting, if you realise that the other person is enjoying it, and even reciprocating, then it's perfectly okay. If you feel, the other person is uncomfortable, or suddenly becomes quiet, then you need to know what you are doing is not acceptable to that person," says Dr Chavda.
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