16:52 26 May 2010
A new study has found that men and women not only enjoy flirting, but many will wink madly and schmooze their way through life mercilessly in order to get what they want.
Men and women have evolved over the years to become the flirting specialists they are today. Gone are the days of clubbing a woolly mammoth over the head and dropping it off at a pretty girl's cave; no longer can women demurely drop their handkerchief in front of a suitor, without being chastised for littering.
Yet, there are many ancient ways of flirting that still hold strong (men puffing their chest out; women seductively swaying their hips). And while the goal of flirting has expanded to reasons other than to pass on one's genes, it will always remain a timeless art.
Women are often touted as the better flirts. They're subtle and seductive, and can say so much with something as little as a wink or a smile.
Personality assessment site Queendom, who conducted the study, revealed however that while women did have a slightly higher tendency to flirt, it was men who fared slightly better in terms of flirting expertise and techniques.
In terms of style, both genders had a greater tendency of being "drive-by" flirts, applying their seductive techniques anytime, anyplace, and anywhere, but mostly just for the fun of it.
"Future-oriented" flirting was the next most popular flirting style (flirting to find the "one"), followed by the "pragmatic" flirt (flirting to get something tangible, like a good deal), the "toxic" flirt (flirting for revenge) and, pulling up in last place was the "carnal" flirt (flirting solely for sex).
On the surface, this seems pretty innocent. Men and women love to flirt, plain and simple. It's fun, makes you feel good, and lets you know that you still "got it".
However, after making its way through the bravado, sucked-in guts, lash batting, lip smacking lips and seductive winks, Queendom uncovered some interesting patterns.
"Men aren't as cavemen-ish when they flirt as some women may think", points out Dr Jerabek, president of the company.
"For instance, 11% of men who took our test would easily and shamelessly flirt with a female officer to get out of a ticket, compared to 8% of women. Men also used their flirting skills to get a deal on a car (20%), and a surprising 6% of them would actually date her in order to get a deal later on."
So are women still the demure flirting maidens of medieval times? "Not quite", Dr Jerabek reveals.
"27% did admit they would do that 'shyly picking off a lint on a guy's sweater' thing, but 21% also stated that they would flirt mercilessly with a bouncer to get into an exclusive club if they heard that their favourite celebrity would be there. 6% of women admitted that they would go even further than that if they had to.">
According to the findings, not all flirting techniques are as subtle as they used to be. However, even the hopeless flirts have hope.
"We often hear that flirting is an art, and I would not want to suck the magic out of it," jokes Dr Jerabek. "We are certainly hot-wired to flirt by our genetics, and the best flirts have had the best chances of propagating.
"The body language used in flirting in various cultures has the same basic components - intense eye contact, smile, hair toss and coy glances for the ladies, chest puffing in men... So there is certainly a genetic component."
According to the Queendom data, flirting expertise does seem to improve with age, with the over 30s slightly outscoring their younger counterparts.
"Flirting is more than genes dictating our movements. It's also a skill based on social learning and learning by observing adult subject matter," Dr Jerabek.
"Teens use the same techniques, in much cruder form, and as we acquire more experience through practice and positive and negative feedback, and as we improve our social skills, we become much more subtle and much more efficient (if not effective)."
The study also revealed that men's most popular flirting gestures when chatting with a woman are to smile and to lean in to show interest, while women smile and look deep into a man's eyes.
Other interesting findings, included that 45% of men would converse with someone they found hot at a funeral; 36% would even go as far as to ask that person out, while still at the funeral (55% and 19% for men and women respectively). Only 10% of women would flirt with a male car salesman in order to get a better deal.
The claim that men are brutish and uncivilised flirts or that women are notorious seductresses who use their feminine wiles to ensnare unsuspecting gentlemen it seems would be unfair and a misconception.
There are indeed some people who use flirting as a means of manipulation, but for most, flirting is entertaining and fun.
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