It's true that I love to flirt! I was so excited when I was approached to present my Power Flirting: How to flirt with anyone, anytime, anyplace workshop for a group of Asian gay men (gay-sians) at API Wellness in San Francisco.
First thing first, my homo-loving friends! Say it with me, "Flirting is NOT the same as cruising!" Flirting is really something of an art form. Flirting is something we were born to do, so don't get down on yourself if you feel like you happen to fancy yourself something of a huge pile of "flirting don't"
Think of it this way, when we were born, we flirted with everyone. We smiled exubertently to practically everyone we came in contact with. It is one of the reasons babies can be so irresistibly cute! So if you happen to be bad at flirting, just remind yourself that you are brushing up a skill you already possess.
Just so we are all on the same page here, flirting is using a combination of verbal and nonverbal communication to express interest in someone else. Cruising, on the other hand, is a wildly popular behavior in gay culture where your main purpose is to engage in some kind of sexual activity with the other person.
Some gay men don't think they are very good at cruising either and that's where glory holes can come in handy. **Ok, ok I am mostly poking fun here :)**
The concept of flirting can be particularly difficult for those who identify as something other then heterosexual. One main reason is that gay culture tends to be hyper-sexualized. Gay men can be masters at picking up other men and engaging in sexual play, but many are hard pressed when it comes to identifying men who have been coupled long term.
There are some major barriers when it comes to gay flirting and a few off the top of my head are: men who have just come out of the closet and may not be as secure as other men who have been out and proud for years, men who are too self-conscience to risk approaching another man, and men who don't know what they would do if they found another man flirting with them.
Well, having solid self esteem helps. People love confidence in others and gay men are no different then heteros when it comes to this. Notice that I said solid self esteem, and not the self esteem that comes with someone who is high on crystal methamphetamine! **Again, I am mostly kidding here too, but it is something that came up time and time again as I spent 5 1/2 years working with HIV positive youth in San Francisco**
Everyone wants a partner who has a good sense of humor, is able to laugh at them self, and someone who is approachable. Being able to laugh at yourself is one of the most refreshing traits in another person. Sure it is fun to make fun of others sometimes, but being able to draw the line between funny and outright bitchiness is key.
Gay flirting superstars also know they possess both good communication and social skills. Part of having good communication skills means you are a good, active listener. Successful flirts have to be able to shut the hell up once in a while and let the other person or persons they are with take center stage.
Having the ability to read, send out, and interpret body language and nonverbal communication is hugely important if you want to be a successful flirt. Part of being a great flirt means you only flirt with people who are available! Got that hot stuff? Learn to read body language so that you only put out energy to other people who are interested.
Superstar flirts are assertive enough to approach hotties, will not get bitchy or feel defeated if their attempts are rejected, and know how to exert good, healthy boundaries.
Finally, gay flirting superstars tend to be honest, authentic, and know that life isn't all about them. Lying, being disingenuous, and being the center of attention works if you happen to be a Hollywood star. For the rest of us mere mortals, this type of diva-ish behavior is a huge deal breaker.
I know, I know, after reading this blog you might be thinking to yourself "I don't know Catherine, this sounds like a lot of work!" Just remember that learning how to flirt effectively can assist you in almost every other aspect of your life. It is also a wonderful thing to be able to recognize (both in yourself and in others) the difference between flirting behavior and cruising behavior.
Happy fabulous flirting, men!
Catherine is also the organizer of a monthly meetup.com group called "Flirting, Dating, and Sex, Oh My!", and we are scheduled to meet next on 5/19/10.
Please contact her to arrange your FREE 20 minute phone consultation