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Monday, April 22, 2024

Column: Trying to understand …

Why and how has flirting become this extremely mysterious and over-analyzed experience amongst people?

The evolution of flirting needs to be investigated. It used to be a simple, fairly easy process — or so it seems. The men would court the women, perhaps choosing to be a tad bit inconspicuous in their attempts, but always being clear with their intentions.

From what I’ve ascertained, this has changed.

Although current flirting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry, where suitors wooed women with poetry and serenades, now people tend to go for the more casual and nonchalant approach. This could stem from the Victorian Era, where courting was viewed as a formal art.

A man could not simply walk up to a woman he was interested in — an introduction had to first be made and even after, an appropriate amount of time would have to pass before having a conversation — in the company of a chaperone.

In comparison to centuries past and even decades ago, flirting has significantly altered. Maybe it’s become more thrilling and interesting, but some might entertain the thought that it has become more tiring and confusing. It might also be a mixture.

On one hand, it could seem endless and like no conclusion will ever be drawn, but on the other hand, yolo.

What I’ve observed is that flirting is a mixed confusion of what’s going on in the opposite sex’s heads. I’m sure that this problem has been prevalent in most societies from the beginning of time, or at least since we’ve evolved enough to let it affect us and our actions. That at least seems to have remained consistent.

Generally speaking, today, flirting is this completely tedious experience where at least one person out of the two is never sure whether or not the other is actually interested in them. This may seem juvenile but it happens to people of all ages.

Sometimes, I think this version of flirting is superfluous but it can also add a lot of fun and mystery to the whole process. It’s like, “Which piece of cake do I choose? The one that looks like it doesn’t have much flavor but one that I know I will like or the piece that looks crazy and mysterious and might be one that I’ll love?” It also might just depend on who’s serving the cake.

Flirting evolves with us. With the addition of technology in our lives, sending a winky or smiley face to someone can be perceived as more or less than what it might actually be. That’s the thing — it’s hard to tell.

Society tends to pick apart simple sentences and conversations like they’re some sort of complicated code, but it really might just be a straightforward message. Is this person really interested in me or are they just nice?

I blame technology. Because without it, people would be forced to rely on face-to-face interactions to convey emotion. Now, people automatically go to Facebook messaging, texting, Snapchat, etc. when trying to connect with people they’re interested in.

Sometimes, that makes things difficult in the respect that two people might be getting to know each other through nothing but the monotonous pressing of buttons, which can create a weak foundation for a potential relationship.

In years past, no one had to deal with this. Different cultures would have their own ways of going about things when one person was interested in another, and it all seems more productive than this mysterious gallivanting that exists today.

Although it’s our human nature to be productive in most aspects of life, flirting seems to be one of the exceptions to that. For some, it’s not about getting a quick result, but more about the long and drawn-out experience that could easily be made into an enchanting affair to remember.

When a man or woman (predominantly teenagers, I’ve noticed) seeks the affection of someone else, it automatically becomes this complicated tangle of chaos. How am I cleverly going to let them know I like them? I have to be as casual as possible. I can’t just tell them. I have to be devious.

It all depends on what each individual person prefers when it comes to flirting; we just have to learn how to stop looking at our screens and start looking at other people’s faces.

 

SAVANNAH HOLMES can be reached at skholmes@ucdavis.edu or around campus if you ever want to discuss how to avoid awkward flirting encounters, or just drink Diet Coke together.

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