Flirting, Friending and that Other ‘F’ Word

They say prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, but I think flirting is the world’s oldest diversion.  Flirting stems from attraction, whether it’s attraction to a person’s sense of humor, affable personality, or the very primal desire to ride it like a rodeo.  In it’s place, it can be fun.  (I’m hesitant to attach the word “harmless,” but we’ll address that later.)

Enter The Dragon.

By Dragon, I mean, The Internets.  Dare I say, it has revolutionized flirting, dating and relationships.  People from all walks of life and corners of the globe can interact in ways that were once impossible.  Of course, as with every new thing, there are high and low points.  Once taboo, meeting people from the internet is now the norm.  You’re “meeting” a person in a very sanitized, controlled environment. We quite often become very comfortable opening up to objective strangers.  So yes, on the internet, a person may well reveal the sensitive part of themselves they rarely share with friends.  However, you may not realize that they are rude to wait staff (sounds like a small thing; it is NOT).

Myriads of people are connecting romantically via the internet at an increasing rate.  The pull to do so is all but irresistible.  So we poked and threw sheep on Facebook (you should NOT be doing this anymore).  We send thinly veiled suggestive “@replies” on Twitter.  We comment on pictures and blogs.  We laugh our virtual asses off.  We roll on the floor while laughing said asses off.  We IM.  We text.  We call.  They take too long to reply to our text.  They don’t call back.  We go to their Facebook page and don’t say anything.  We stalk their pictures and blogs.  We’re not laughing anymore.  Our asses are safely in tact, and the smiley faces are replaced with makeshift side eyes.  You know the ones: O_o.  We wonder why the hell so and so always “likes” his/her statuses?  What’s to like about “I’m on my way to the grind?”  Oh snap son! They’re e-creeping.  Ultimately, onlookers get to witness the passive/aggressive coup de grâce:  “Well maybe you’re getting me confused with one of your other girls/dudes.”

In my years perusing these here internets, I have lost count on how many times I have actually witnessed that progression.  Particularly the final blow.  I can tell you that I was originally inspired to write this piece, after witnessing some variation of e-player accusations/hate crimes three times in one week, and it was only Wednesday.  Infatuation makes us crazy.  Not everyone knows how to flirt, and some people have either never been the object of flirting in real time, or it happens extremely rarely.  When that’s the case, those people simply do NOT know how to act.

I can speak from my own experience: there is NOTHING harmless about my flirting.  If I take my time to send a couple of flirtatious key strokes, that means I have at least entertained the possibility of a dry hump.  (Do people still dry hump?  I don’t know the rules. I’ve been in emotional seclusion.)  Reason, however, prevails.  There are a million reasons that you should not become physical with every person you flirt with.  I do it almost subconsciously at times, so if I were to engage every object of flirting, I would quite possibly be a veritable Ground Zero of ho shit.  With that said, I can flirt with you, and though I might entertain thoughts, I have no intention whatsoever on doing anything.  Lots of people are like that.  We’re trapped in offices all day and we need something fun to do.

But we’re grown folks, and sometimes sex DOES happen.  Not everyone is going the marriage, 2.5 kid, white picket fence route.  People aren’t even always going the shack-up route.  Some people really, are just trying to have sex.  Ideally, these people should hook up with others of their ilk. Since I love you like play cousins though, I’ll acknowledge this:  There are people who just like to be players.  Having “just sex” isn’t enough for them, and part of their hunt is getting a person to be attached to them, whether they plan on sustaining a relationship or not.  Mentally dog-ear those pages where they let their true intentions seep out.  (I promise you they will.  People ultimately want you to know who they are so they can absolve themselves of guilt if necessary:  But I told you…)

If you are looking for something more, or just getting yourself through the day, govern yourself accordingly.  I’ve seen far too many people create, or fall victim to, what I like to call “Fantasy Monsters.”  You create these virtual romantic situations, yet one person is too invested, the other is not invested enough, and neither of you are equipped to deal because your communication is nonexistent.  Simple words on a page become this fire breathing dragon that makes you stalk pages and wonder why Person X is tagged in not one, but two pictures.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for the people you let in your cipher.  Govern yourselves accordingly.  If you’re an emotional person and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a player, you must exist with the knowledge that you will ultimately be benched.  If you are a player and you ignore the signs and symptoms of a Stage IV clinger, you must exist with the knowledge that your spot can and quite probably will be blown up at any given moment.  It’s crazy in these internets.

Govern yourselves accordingly.

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