Men vs. Women: Looking and Flirting

Category: Men vs. Women Series, Weekly Columns

Men vs Women Talk about Looking and Flirting

Men Vs Women and Interpretation

I had a discussion the other day with a young woman friend who said she preferred dating older men because the guys her age were only interested in one thing. Ironically it was the guys that either were not interested or feigned disinterest that attracted her the most. I was struck by the irony of her statement, though I was sure it was true for her and many other of her contemporaries. Like the song said, “Love is strange.”

Wrong Way to Flirt - Talking about Sleeping Together

There are so many things about men and women that are generally and inherently different as I hope this blog series has demonstrated. I’ve chosen to tell the truth rather than adhere to any gender politics or higher education belief systems. Sometimes that has generated some raised eyebrows, but not nearly as much as I expected. I still want some Women’s Studies and/or Gender Studies professors or students to weigh in.

So, let’s look at “looking” and flirting. Again, I will represent several generalities that I assert to be largely true. Again, I acknowledge that there will be exceptions to every one of these generalities. And, again I say, “So what, they’re generally true for a reason – they’re generally true!”

Men Look at Women - The Look is the Beginning of Flirting

First, I want to admit that I have that looking disease that afflicts many men. It’s almost chemical that when a woman enters the room, I will take notice. When I’m with my wife or when I was with any other women prior to my marriages, I did everything I could to try and be subtle about it, but I usually failed miserably. I took to sitting facing the wall whenever we’d go out to a restaurant. At least that would inhibit my insulting and useless looking behavior.

What struck me most about this pattern that I and many other men suffer from is the reality of what we could possibly think might happen with our gazing at an attractive woman across the room. Did we think – or hope – that said woman would cross the room, come directly up to us, give a cursory and dismissive glance to our female companion, and insist we leave the restaurant immediately because she hand to tear our clothes off right now. Really, what could we men possibly think might happen, especially if we are with a date or permanent partner?

Men vs Women and their feelings on flirting

It’s laughable, really. It’s even more pathetic when you do the lookie-loo thing while driving. We men see a woman running and do an exorcist-like turn of the head — expecting what?

For this series of columns, I’ve usually done lists in which I’d alternate men and women’s differences on a topic. This time, I will just carry on in the style I’ve already begun – list-less.

Let’s face it; women are just more classy and subtle around these issues. Perhaps, it’s changed among the younger generation, but I suspect not much. Part of the reason is that women are generally less “turned on” by looks and much more attracted to a man’s mind and wallet contents, neither of which are that readily apparent at a glance.

Flirting can be fun

Okay, if that is the case, maybe women are as superficial as men, just in other areas. Women generally care about a man’s ability to provide and to engage their attention intellectually and humorously. Both are, I suspect, to some degree built into a woman’s DNA and both, especially the provide part, relate to historical needs of our species.

Taking my generalities even further, I will really go out a limb by stating another generality. Men can and will be promiscuous and would always be promiscuous if they were allowed, could get away with it, and not risk bringing home any diseases. It’s societal pressure and their partners that help domesticate the wild rover in most men.

Footsie Flirting Women with Men Under the Desk

On the other hand, women are generally more interested and comfortable in a monogamous relationship. I’ve never known a woman – granted this statement is an unscientific sample of women – that has ever had anything beyond a brief period of promiscuity, and usually in reaction to a breakup and an attitude of “if they can do it, so can I.” But inevitably, women will wake up at some point during this promiscuous period and recognize they plain don’t like it.

I believe women flirt simply by being a woman, the way they dress, the way they display a smile, and a look they choose to give a man that may interest them. Again, it’s subtler and I would assert classier than many of the guy’s come-on lines, the lameness of most being laughable and fodder for comedy routines.

Cartoon Men vs Women

Where does all this leave us? Ahhh, that is God’s handiwork. We will never fully understand the opposite sex but, if we are wise, we will learn from each other and grow as a result. Rather than try to be like our counterpart, let’s express wonder at our differences, celebrate them, learn from them, and perhaps actually enjoy one another simply because we are so different, yet fit together so very well when it works.

Please read and/or comment on any of the other columns in the Men vs. Women series.

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  • http://twitter.com/audaciouslady audaciouslady

    oh boy! Where shall we start on this one? Wallet and mind? If their mind is great, the wallet should be as well. There’s a connection to that. I don’t judge a man by his wallet because I can see it as quickly as a man can see a woman’s figure. I think it depends on the generation. I don’t need a man to take care of me. I can hold my own. But MEN want to be the bread winners even in the dating scene. If not, they feel inferior. It goes back to the caveman days of bringing home the meat. 
    Women being as promiscuous as men is very possible. I know many women who have a career, had a long relationship/marriage and just didn’t like being with ONE Guy for the rest of their lives. 
    So many generalities here that my eyes are dizzy. 
    Men who have wandering eyes tend to have roaming hands. If you love someone so much you won’t look around. Or maybe the person you are with isn’t eye candy enough to keep your attention. It can happen. 
    Now I want to see what others have to say about this one. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So, we agree @twitter-16091340:disqus ? lol…

  • http://twitter.com/profkrg Kenna Griffin

    Perhaps women look just as much as men, but men are too dense to notice. Did you consider that?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Ahhh, we’re back to disagreeing @profkrg:twitter – I don’t think it’s inherent in women to look near as much as men. Just look at the magazine racks? What are the men’s mags covered with? And, what are the women’s mags covered with (usually sexy women in clothes that inspire other women to want to look that way)! Huh HUH! and HUG…

  • David Weber

    Too much territory covered … the looking issue and the flirting issue, to whatever extent they may be interrelated, are each so complex that they warrant separate columns. 

    I can only hope that I have trained myself effectively to eliminate or markedly reduce any looking I do that, untamed, would be inappropriate in the company of a female companion.  I wouldn’t want that companion to be checking out men overtly (i.e., so’s that I’d notice!), so it is only right that I not do it.  We may be four-legged sexually-charged mammals at heart; but our prefrontal cortex should be well developed enough to provide some kind of check on those behaviors that, in polite company, would be hurtful to perform.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      You’re a better man than I am @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus – but I try and that is also why I always choose the seat facing the wall!

  • Leslie

    Great article Bruce. Are there answers? No! Questions – certainly. Look but don’t touch / flirt but no fires please….

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thx @8b878e017158c5545384f1989cd9724b:disqus  aka @Moondustwriter:twitter – I could use YOUR wisdom with some of the aggressive commenters on this post – saying I’m sexist for my part at the end of it (ridiculous!): http://www.brucesallan.com/2013/02/16/thin-skinned-can-todays-millennials-handle-constructive-criticism/

  • arelis cintron

    I have to say that I agree and disagree…In my twenties I knew many women who behaved like the “male” you mention above and loved every single minute of it. We all stay in this state until we meet someone who is different and actually means something to us. Then it all changes. I dated plenty of guys and they all wanted to be in relationships and they were all left behind because of it. Until I met “the one”.

    At this point in my life I have to agree with Leslie’s sentiment “Look but don’t touch…

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      It’s an interesting discussion @google-d23d013c9fac2ee5304b85e8c5a3ca62:disqus – thanks for weighing in!

  • http://twitter.com/TheHeavyPurse Shannon Ryan

    Interesting. I’ve been married for 20+ years, so I try to limit my looking and flirting to my husband only. 🙂 I do work in a male-dominated field and it’s been interesting to observe their behavior. I do think women are becoming more outwardly aggressive in their actions. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @twitter-824080602:disqus – but do you basically agree with the differences I’ve laid out? I do agree with you that women are more aggressive than ever before.

  • Organizewithsandy

    I agree that I do think men usually look more than women. My husband, thankfully if he looks, he does it without me noticing. If someone stands out, I might notice them, but I’m not the least bit interested in looking at other men, just to “check out the man”. I would look at it as an insult to my husband. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @288426f22502d36316e2c6e006b16989:disqus thx for your comment Sandy – I am glad you mostly seem to agree with me – we’re just built differently!

  • http://www.thevirtualasst.com Michelle Mangen

    Not sure I fall into the feminist category though I probably do lean that way. I’m a really laid back person and don’t get too worked up if a guy looks at another woman. I know I def noticed hot guys but probably am more subtle about it than guys can be. 

    I feel that regardless of what I say a guy will do as he wants so no need in getting worked up to the point that he feels uncomfy, bad or decides to not be honest. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Where were you when I was single @mmangen:disqus !?!?

      • http://www.thevirtualasst.com Michelle Mangen

        *laughing* I am one-of-a-kind and pretty darn awesome 🙂 That’s why I know my time will come.