First Date Questions for 2013: To Flirt or Not To Flirt – 6 Tips For the How and Why of Modern Flirting.
One of the more provocative first date questions refers to flirting: The dating advice offered here asks, “is it still okay to flirt?”
Experts extoll the essential necessity of flirting. Many of us like to flirt on occasion — with friends, co-workers or passing acquaintances. However, when you are looking to form, or are in a committed relationship, flirting can be more complicated and fraught with unexpected consequences. What constitutes acceptable flirting depends not only on your intentions but also on how your prospective partner might feel about it.
A related question is how might you tell a person is flirting versus just being friendly. It isn’t easy, nevertheless, it is the uncertainty of it that makes it exciting. Flirting can be defined as ambiguous behavior with potential sexual or romantic overtones that are goal oriented. In other words we flirt with a purpose, but because we’re testing the waters, we don’t let on what that purpose might be.
Most of us know flirting when we see it, though. It may be verbal, in the form of compliments bantering or teasing; it can be smile, steady gaze a toss of the hair or a hand on the arm.
And of course it can be an e-mail or text with all those smiley winky faces. You can thank evolution for all of it, including the cheesy one-liners, e.g. “going my way?” Scientists say that flirting developed to further the human race by helping males to find a mate, and females to evaluate a potential partner and his commitment before moving forward.
Research shows people flirt with one of no fewer than six different reasons. Some people are still looking for a mate of course. But we also like to flirt because we enjoy it. This kind of flirting is a kind of back-and-forth tennis game: It’s fun and we do it together so to build our relationship.
Early flirting allows one to explore what a romantic relationship with another person might be like. Or we want to reinforce or increase intimacy in a relationship we are already in. Alternatively, we may want to boost self-esteem, whether it’s our own or the other person’s. And some of us flirt just to get what we want – a dark art that is often referred to as “instrumental flirting”.
Flirting with a partner or spouse can help keep a relationship healthy. Such partners flirt with each other to minimize conflict and communicate as if in their own private world. In addition, it has been found that partners who flirt with each other are more satisfied and committed to each other.
When flirting outside a relationship, however, it’s easy to misread cues. A recent meta-analysis of 15 studies found that men often overestimate the females interest and interpret flirtatious behavior as more sexual than intended. Flirting differences between the sexes revealed that when women flirted in a sexy suggestive way men found then more attractive. But men who flirt this way are seen as pushy and less attractive.
It’s possible to flirt without getting in trouble. Here are some guidelines:
(1) When flirting quickly try to assess the other person’s goals. Are you interested or uninterested in real romance? If the latter then don’t flirt with someone you know is looking for relationship. Bad flirting is intentional miscommunication.
(2) If the banter is heading in a direction that makes you uncomfortable, then stop. Pretend you were just being friendly. But if you have offended the other person, apologize.
(3) Don’t keep secrets from your partner, if you think your significant other would be appalled if he or she could overhear the conversation, then dial it back.
(4) Don’t flirt to make your partner jealous. This is manipulative behavior and it can push a partner further away. Plus you could hurt the person you’re flirting with.
(5) When there is a power difference, such as between a boss and underling, or teacher and student, flirting usually leads to trouble, as many defendants in sexual harassment complaints can confirm.
(6) Think twice before making physical contact with the person you’re flirting with. Putting your hand on your date’s arm maybe a good idea. Doing this with a work colleague probably isn’t.
Happy flirting; successful dating.
In the meantime, check out this fun, frivolous, flirtatious little video thing…
OK, you survived Halloween and Thanksgiving; but now the Christmas and New Years holidays beg some new first date questions. Here are some helpful holiday dating tips.
Truth is, dating may actually be facilitated during the holiday season: things to talk about during dates (funny family stories, traditions, etc), overall happier people, seasonal activities, and so on. Indeed, having a first date during a time that associated with togetherness and family bonding might make it easier for you to make that personal connection.
In addition, because family’s traditions often form a base for one’s behavior during the holidays, a first date during the holidays can offer a revealing opportunity to look into relevant early childhood experiences that contribute to the character and personality of your prospective suitor. So, should you venture out into the midst of the holidays to meet a romantic someone for the first time, one of the most important (pre-) first date questions you might ask is, “what are we doing; where are we going”? A date destination is a window into what your mate likes/dislikes.
Here are some broad interpretational guidelines to holiday dating; these first date ideas should not be taken as distinct, hard and fast categories, but rather may actually overlap considerably as fun first dates:
(1) If your partner chooses a first date scenario that in some way (or ways) focuses, reprises or reminisces years-earlier Christmas experiences, then sentimentality, nostalgia, desire for childhood (or childlike nature) and/or tradition may form important components of their character makeup.
(2) A tendency toward physical closeness, coziness, romance (It’s nice to warm up by a fireplace with someone) and/or a touchy-feely nature or character (i.e. warmed by closeness) may be revealed by a first date scenario that emphasizes the seasonality of a cold weather environment.
(3) A first date with a focus on a Christmas tree suggests traits of romance and domesticity, a homebody (home & hearth), and/or indications of a strong female/maternal side.
(4) A holiday party first date can indicate a life-of-the-party personality, social seeker, someone who particularly thrives in a crowd situation, or who often needs people around them (for various reasons).
(5) A first date scenario that involves a focus on holiday music, shows or lit-up stages suggests the qualities of creativity, flamboyance, festivity and/or ability to appreciate, even flourish in unstructured situations.
(6) A holiday first date with a strong theme or focus on light or lights can indicate a need or desire for illumination, clarity, safety, truth or even a connection to the supreme internal sense there is a God. Thus, your date may be a person who might be strongly spiritual or, on the other hand, perhaps a little lost or in the dark…. seeking clarity.
That said, lets look at some festive, seasonal first date ideas, and how they might fall into, or straddle these categories.
1. The Christmas Market Date – tradition, nostalgia
Many major cities have Christmas Markets where there are usually stalls of Christmas ornaments, artisan gifts for sale, hot cider, sausages, live music, and general Christmas cheer. You can speed through a Christmas market pretty quickly, so this is the ideal weeknight date if you can spare half an hour after work, before dinner. Even if you get food, stop and listen to the music, and look at every single booth, you probably won’t want to stay for more than an hour and a half, so plan a second activity in case the date goes well. You may even challenge each other to pick out a perfect (or cheesy, or grotesque) ornament for each other, with a $10 budget. One day, you may be hanging those ornaments with your kids and telling them about your first date. This idea is a really inexpensive first date: free to walk around, and cup of cider or cocoa shouldn’t set you back more than $4 each.
2. The Christmas Music Date – creativity, festivity
Most churches invite the public in for holiday concerts, so check the local schedules. If you live in a bigger city, you can attend a performance of Handel’s Messiah or The Nutcracker Suite as performed by your local symphony, or maybe a Pops Concert of some sort playing more modern Christmas music. Check out a little pre- or post-concert champagne at a nearby hotel bar that’s all decked out for Christmas. Church concerts are free (but it’s nice to put in a few dollars when they pass the basket around for offerings).
3. The Light-Peeping Date – Seeking clarity/truth, spirituality
Festive holiday light displays seen after Thanksgiving are all the rage and offer fun opportunities for seasonal nostalgia dates with romantic overtones. Hop in the car (or take a walk, if it’s not too cold) and see the lights that cities, businesses and homeowners have put up to celebrate the holiday season. Taking a stroll through through lit-up neighborhoods with a cup of holiday Starbucks makes for a great conversation time. Many displays can be quite touching, especially at night, and going out is an excuse for a cup of hot cocoa when you get back home.
This is one date that’s more fun to do in the suburbs, so head out of town for an evening and drive around residential neighborhoods, looking for the most impressive displays.
Most towns and cities have one street where for whatever reason, neighbors really go all out, and a quick Google search should tell you where to look. If you’re carless in the city, a walk to look at the city lights can suffice, though renting or using ZipCar and heading out of town would really bring things to the next level. This idea is good for an hour or so, if you live in the suburbs, longer if you have to drive out to them. As long as the music and the conversation are good, a nice night drive can easily last a few fun hours.
4. The Ice Skating Date - warmth, closeness, physicality
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where it snows on Christmas, take your loved out for a round of ice skating or sledding. These activities, in addition to providing fun for an afternoon, are sure to generate some memories, and a great way to break the ice both literally and figuratively speaking. Taking a date to the ice skating rink is a great way to develop trust and a sense of humility (depending on your skills). Ice skating is a fun way to get to know a person, and will also increase physical contact but not in a creepy way.
If you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy, you know that holding hands while skating around an ice rink is the status quo during the holiday season. Don’t try to escape it: embrace it. Pack a flask with some spiked cocoa, head to the cheesiest, most overcrowded rink of all, and pledge not to leave til you’ve done a full loop, or heard “Jingle Bell Rock” played three times, whichever comes first. If you’re confident on your skates, a figure-eight or two never hurt anyone when it comes to impressing a date. This date idea is a bit pricy and will cost around $20, and skate rental will be about $10.
5. The Toy Store Date – sentimentality, nostalgia, childlike
There’s a kid trapped inside of every adult, and visiting a toy store will definitely bring him/her out. Taking a date to the toy store is a bit unconventional but with creativity, it guarantees conversation and a good time. As long as you pick a time when it’s not too crowded, like late on a weeknight, toy stores are the best at Christmastime.
Even if you don’t have a kid in your life, Christmas traditions always include charitable organizations such as Toys for Tots or Salvation Army’s Angel Program where you buy toys for children in need. Perfect excuse to check out all the awesome toys kids get to have now, under the guise of being philanthropic. Some Adopt-A-Family programs lets you deliver your gifts in person, an experience that’s sure to make the heart of any grinch grow three sizes that day. Expect to spend an hour or so shopping.
6. The Christmas Tree Date – domesticity, home body, maternal qualities
This is an adventure not for the faint of heart, but if you really want to make yourself appealing to a date, show of your outdoorsy, woodchopping skills. Many places in the United States have Christmas tree farms within a two hour drive or so, (and often much closer). At the farm, you’ll be able to choose a tree that’s still growing and then, yes, chop it down! It’s a lot of work, but you can reward yourself with hot chocolate and apple cider donuts which most farms sell.
If you simply aren’t in a position to go to a tree farm, going out to pick out a pre-cut Christmas tree can still be a pretty fun, if not quite as engaging, experience. This experience can take an entire afternoon/early evening, at least. But if you’re into the outdoors, it’s worth it.
7. The Anti-Christmas Date - individuality, untraditional, eclectic
Some days, some years, you’re just not into Christmas. If you’re feeling a little Holiday’d-out, escape the madness with an Anti-Christmas date. Head to a Mexican restaurant for ice-cold margaritas, chips, and guacamole. Go to a bar, preferably one not decked out with Christmas lights, and request all your favorite summer anthems on the juke box. Clear off the snow from your BBQ and grill up some burgers. Forget about Christmas altogether. Find a heated outdoor swimming pool or hot tub and go swimming in the cold. This is a great way to warm up a cool evening for moderate expensive, depending on how many margaritas you throw back.
8. Alternative Culture & Tradition - diversity, flexibility, creativity
The holidays are about tradition and culture, and that includes that idea that exploring different cultures is always an option. Restaurants with both traditional holiday favorites as well as culturally diverse menus are popular during the month of December. For instance, it you’re looking for Jewish Christmas ideas — as not many businesses are open on Christmas — try Chinese restaurants and movie theaters, jokingly referred to as “Jewish Christmas.” It is common for new movies to open on Christmas day, so take your sweetie out for a thriller and some dim sum after.
9. The Window Shopping Date – tradition, domesticity, childlike
Some people think that Christmas has become too much of a capitalist enterprise in the last 50 years or so, and maybe this is true, but at least stores make up for it by providing mind-blowing window displays, right? Take a stroll through the main shopping district of your town or city and check out the windows at major department stores. (Some have Christmas traditions that are unique to that particular location: Macy’s, for instance, has had renowned lighted window shows since 1956) Stores plan their Christmas displays months and months in advance, and the results are usually pretty spectacular. A hot toddy at the end of the night at a pub with a roaring fire place, or a hotel bar with a piano player singing Christmas songs. It’s window shopping — free!
Good holiday dating and happy holidays… and above all else…. let yourself believe….
Meeting up with someone for a first date on Halloween, particularly if you decide to spice it up with costumes, can provoke some pretty interesting first date questions.
Not only is Halloween an historically based holiday with rich cultural background, it’s also an opportunity to express things we’re normally not allowed to express — permission to let your underside or dark side come out. Thus, dating with costume offers a serendipitous, interesting dimension of scrutiny for first date scenarios (i.e. who is this person…really?).
Hopefully, on a first date, one would avoid any gross Halloween costumes involving things like vomit, tons of blood or guts. It might be better to go with something light, funny, even a bit sexy (but not too sexy, or too stupid such as a pimp with the velvet jacket). The antithesis of everyday repression, dating on Halloween brings with it an opportunity for much-desired attention. You can return to your inner child, unleash some emotional burdens, or get over your fears…. indeed act in any manner you wish.
From a deeper psychological point of view, choice of costume can be seen as a kind of personality projector: potentially capable of revealing aspects of inner, deep-seeded personality characteristics normally not obvious at initial stages of dating. At Halloween, however, such hidden characteristics are given permission to jump to the foreground. Quite a unique and revealing opportunity if you think about it.
As you might expect, Halloween costumes aren’t random choices, and can reveal inner urges that reflect hidden personality characteristics. So, a funny Halloween costume could indicate a sense of humor. A person who makes their own costume might be revealing adventurousness — a good quality when it comes to dating.
Classic psychological perspective on personality includes the idea that a strong or obvious outward statement or behavior often represents an internal defense of the exact opposite. For instance, women who dress up as a sexy animals may actually be lonely; men dressed as super-heroes are often actually lacking in leadership roles and/or responsibility, while childhood costumes might indicate a personality with a strong level of maturity.
Those who wear really sexy costumes can often be the ones who are most mild-mannered in their daily life—modest people who aren’t overtly sexual.
If your date dresses as a super hero, they could well be masking submissive personalities, or lack leadership roles or any great responsibility in their daily lives. Appearing as a CEO, pimp, policeman or any other authority figure can be masking characteristics of introversion and/or shyness. Childhood character costuming can be revealing of high levels of self satisfaction and maturity. Dressing as a pop culture figure may well reveal higher levels of insecurity and/or a strong need for affirmation, acceptance, or approval. Scary costume wearers may be demonstrating a preference to stay under the radar, or want to be seen as easy going. Sexy or any sports related costumes may represent secret aspirations to play that sport, rather than any athletic ability at all. Women who make their own costumes may be subconsciously telling you that they are more adventurous and, therefore better in bed versus those who simply bought them. Women who are willing to experiment and create things for the pleasure of themselves and others outside of the bedroom are guaranteed to overachieve or do the same in the bedroom.
In any event, while the psychology of Halloween costumes can be a fun exercise, interesting to contemplate, it is at best a generalization: Not every sexy nurse is covering a fear of seduction. Still, it makes for provocative analysis.
Further to the theme of Halloween costume analysis, costumes can be viewed as falling into classic categories or archetypes:
The Exhibitionist. Let’s just call it what it is: showing off the goods. Both genders have their versions: the hot sexy-man or super hero costumes, or the slutty, sexy girl costumes, e.g. slutty nurse, sexy Disney princess, slutty kitty cat, etc. However, whereas on its face an exhibitionist costume suggests confidence, cockiness, feeling sexy, power, readiness to have a good time, this suggestion might well be far from the truth. The slutty princess flaunting her inner vixen may well be sexually repressed; Batman maybe just hanging in on buy his fingernails to fantasies about being an all-powerful superhero.
The Comedian. The comedian category supposedly houses the witty folk. The costumes may not be as obvious as superheros, but often has considerable thought behind them. Humorous alter egos might include old people, tourists, food items and Mitt Romney. The comedian doesn’t rely on exhibition to make a statement. The comedian’s costume says, “I’m funny- and I know it.” However, the truth may be a lot different: that they’re dying to be funny, but really are shy and feeling quite dull. Question is… what do you think ?
The Minimalist. (Keep It Simple Stupid.) Examples of minimalist costumes include pumpkins, the white sheet ghost and t-shirts that read, “This is my Halloween costume.” These are easygoing individuals with spirit – but they won’t be over the top. Don’t let the minimalist fool you…. they often have more going on — particularly in the intellectual or emotional realm — than they want you to think or are prepared to show quickly.
The Over-achiever. The total Halloween enthusiast; we’re talking the whole enchilada, including complete face makeup, fake blood, hand-sewn costumes, hi-tech accoutrements and more. These people might work on their costumes for months.
Your costume overachiever date might want you to believe that their even be a bit hyper or manic. They can appear intense, extroverted, enthusiastic and up for anything. But…. and here is the big but: Lots of over-the-top costuming, while showing ingenuity, could actually indicate the exact opposite of delightful extroversion and enthusiasm: a sense of insecurity and desperate need for approval.
The Politician. People dress up as those they emulate or abhor, or a bit of both. You might meet Mitt Romney or Barack Obama on your Halloween first date, particularly if one of those two make a great public faux pas. This also extends to athletes: for instance the NFL payer who costs his team the Superbowl. You could be meeting a celebrity or newsmaker, a date who wants you to see their knowledge of current events, to consider them smart, trendy, “with it”… an aspect of themselves with which they might desperately struggle.
Fear. Over the past few years, viral and disease bugs, e.g. West Nile mosquitos, Lyme tics, etc have sparked widespread panic all over the country, evoking plenty of disease-related stress and fear. One way of coping? Dressing up as these pests for Halloween. Viruses, Lyme-carrying tics and the like can be seen as a form of vampirism: dark and hidden, feeding on our blood, sleeping with us at night, hard to destroy, scary as hell. Dressing up as these helps conquer our fear, because we’re gaining control over it…. but ultimately reveals one’s unspoken worst neurotic, obsessive or hypchrondriacal fears.
The Caveman/Cavewoman. The date who invests a lot of time and energy in their body, might well be defending against some form or insecurity, perhaps struggling with feelings of being unappreciated (no one cares how much iron they can pump). For these folks, Halloween provides a chance to really shine, but be aware of darker, insecure aspect of what might be lying underneath the rippling muscles of Tarzan or svelt curves of Jane.
The Grim Reaper. As with viral and disease bugs, we’re drawn to what frightens us. By dressing up as what we fear, we feel protected from it; we diminish its power. If we become it so we can’t be hurt by it.
The Dominatrix Nun. Sexual conflict personified. Traditional nun garb over a sultry, short leather skirt, with high-heeled boots, handcuffs and a whip, this neatly displayed conflict of opposing urges blends a desire for pure with one of being overly submissive. Both urges are within but each part of the sexuality vies for dominance. What better way to present this taboo conflict within oneself. Watch out.
The Princess. A desire to return to a stage when life was safe and simple. Your date who dresses as a princess is subconsciously reverting to childhood, a time defined by fairy tales and the belief that Prince Charming was waiting. Very romantic, but can be very unrealistic and naive.
The Superhero. Your date who dresses as a superhero often fosters childlike fantasies of saving the world and extinguishing evil. Such costumes embody the desire to be brave, strong, and admired. While it’s tempting to believe that superhero date is simply expressing affection for the character,
The Vampire. Control… plain and simple. Vampire date is about seduction in a predatory manner. Neck-biting, for example, is a form of intimate contact often linked with gaining control over another person. It’s an appealing premise we often feel safe expressing only on Halloween, but “bitten”, beware.
Dating Psychology and Psychosexuality of Other Classic Halloween Icons
Wicked Witch. This is all about the desire for power in a relationship, especially in the bedroom. Despite the traditional ‘ugly’ tag of the witch costume, with its stick-on warts and pointy nose, witch date displays a sign of inner confidence bordering on vanity. Uglying up is secretly meant to remind people how fabulous they look.
Devil. The sinisterness of the devil’s appearance is often indicative of a childlike sense of humor, letting everyone know they’re not always responsible for their own naughty behavior. Devil date possesses a desire for loveble roguishness — annoying their lover with bad behavior one minute, then charming them the next, usually by flirting or being really hot stuff in bed.
Fallen Angel. This is the most complex costume in terms of romantic and sexual signals. People who choose this persona often see themselves as rather deep, hard to get to know, but ultimately rewarding if you do so. Fallen angel date prefers to be wooed, seduced and chased, with sex tending to be deeply romantic.
Scream Mask. The life and soul of any Halloween festivity, scream mask date usually removes their mask quickly after arrival to the event, as they get down to the serious business of flirting. Expect your date who wears the scream mask to be very earnest, honest and down-to-earth. As a lover, scream mask date prefers straightforward vanilla sex to anything more sophisticated.
Zombie. With a need to produce the greatest shock response and/or most screams from any audience, zombie date’s idea of seduction often involves slow but steady pursuit that never quits, with persistence that often pays off.
Skeleton. The vacuous image of this bag-of-bones characterization belies skeleton date’s underlying strongly competitive personality that includes fast, strategic thinking, fast-talking, fast-moving, with pick-up techniques that are smoking hot and bedroom techniques based on quantity rather than quality.
Black Cat. Sexual, sensual, demanding and picky, black cat date is a serial flirt. High maintenance one minute but cute and lovable the next, black cat date has very high levels of confidence and self-esteem, and knows how to play any situation to his or her own advantage.
Pumpkin. The generous, fluid proportions, and warmth that describe this Halloween icon form the cornerstones of this costume wearer’s personality: likewise generous and warmhearted. Pumpkin date is someone who likes to ensure everyone has a good time at a party rather than taking centre-stage. A pumpkin is hardly flattering so this isn’t a vain type; they are lovable, sexy and loyal.
Ghost. The mercurial image of this Halloween icon is often chosen by the date who is more emotionally deep and edgy than his choice of appearance would suggest. Ghost date is all about romance rather than lust, may appear slow to start, even seem rather cool and aloof until they feel they can trust their partner. Ghost date is quirky and spontaneous, can be wild and uninhibited one minute and prim and shy the next.
Werewolf. This icon is the cool, contemporary monster of the day. Werewolf date can be expected to have a body to die for and seduction techniques that will leave you gasping for breath. A bit dark, devious and dangerous, Werewolf date has a heroic, admirable and loyal side as well, just looking for someone to tame them.
Spider. A date with a dark side who has a thing about invoking fear, dread and phobic response dresses in this costume. Quietly crafty but full of determination, spider date may hate to play by the rules, inventing and creating them as he/she goes along with a no-holds-barred, web spinning seduction from which their prey cannot escape.
Mummy. A desire to be revealed (unwrapped) characterizes a chief aspect of this date’s personality.Mummy date is likely to be rather naughty and kinky in the bedroom. They have rendered themselves helpless and will therefore appeal to a dominant partner.
Bottom line: Halloween is an excellent opportunity for some fun holiday dating. In addition, Halloween costume analysis provides a unique and fun projective opportunity, even a serendipitous window to the soul…. potentially revealing to you something deeper about the substance and character of your date.
In the meantime, enjoy this fun halloween prankster video.
Happy Halloween dating.