So, you are a nice young woman. You are attractive, but you are generally appalled by aggressive feminine behavior that cheapens your character. In public, you prefer to keep your physical assets adorned in tasteful clothes rather than dressing like a twerking, ass-jerking, flesh-mongering pole dancer. You hope to find a gentleman who both respects you and adores your inner and outer beauty, not one who wants a cooperative piece of meat.
How about flirting? It is natural to the species. I think most men understand the difference between friendliness and being sexually aggressive, but so much simple touching and movement meant to be flirting is misread by males as an invitation to slide between the sheets. Yet, of course, some simple, intended flirting can actually enhance positive dating potential.
Although direct eye contact and intentional smiling appear to be universal nonverbal behaviors to communicate romantic interest, what do the "good guys" want to understand about a lady and the manner in which she flirts? How should she pursue a real interest?
Let's Turn This Into a Second-Person Opinion
Help our beautiful damsel with some wisdom. What do you think is the best advice about behavior that makes showing the right intent a science (or, at least, an art)? How should a woman "get her flirt on"?
Believe it or not, researchers of human behavior have speculated that the best strategy is to give a potential date the impression that in general you were hard to get (and therefore a scarce resource worth having) but really enthusiastic about him or her specifically. They tested this notion by using some of the same techniques… and found overwhelming evidence to support their hypothesis.
(Richard Wiseman. 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute. 2010)
The deeper part of this flirting technique isn’t to play games, rather it is to communicate your value and, at the same time, your potential scarcity. Psychologist/Author Richard Wiseman's research suggests the best advice is to give a potential date the impression that, generally speaking, you are hard to pin down, while simultaneously paying specific, enthusiastic attention to the person of interest.
You may find this somewhat antiquated view of preservation a true revelation in a society that seems to be spinning in ugly circles as it attempts both to acknowledge the appeal of sensuous attractivenes and to preserve the honest innocence of young womanhood. Believe me, I don't think most young gentlemen want a hardcore, hormone-oozing bitch for a lifelong companion. I believe they want a moral, intelligent, attractive, high-achieving, hard-to-get gem.
The more available the person, the more intense is usually sexual desire. Indeed, accepting a person's sexual invitations is the most effective way for someone to attract a prospective partner into a casual liaison. Everyone understands that sex creates bonds. Still, read that sentence again and make sure you picked up the word casual.
To me, that word casual denotes "unconcerned." And the attitude of being "unconcerned" certainly involves indulgence that can connote "easy" in terms of attaining a female's favors. It is my contention that most men who commit to one woman for lifetime companionship are not happy with a partner who sports a long history of "easy" love affairs.
Aaron Ben-Zeev, Ph.D. and professor of philosophy, believes an opposite effect of the availability impact is expressed in the tactic of playing hard to get. If a person seems unattainable, love and sexual desire may be stronger.
Someone suggested, "By keeping men off, you keep them on." This is known as the "Romeo and Juliet Effect,": some experts believe if real impediments exist, such as a family feud or marriage to another person, love and sexual desire are likely to intensify.
Ben -Zeev concludes the following:
"Indeed, 'playing hard to get' is a most effective strategy for attracting a partner. It should be noted, however, that when the required effort is too immense and the probability of its success is low, people may give up the idea and may not invest extra effort.
"In accordance with the tactic of 'playing hard to get,' Hollywood films portray genuine love as a culmination of a difficult journey; love in this sense must be "earned" and "proved," often by enduring the pain of separation."
(Aaron Ben-Zeev. "Is It Worth Playing Hard to Get?" Psychology Today. September 19, 2008)
Then, is it worth playing hard to get or easy to get?
Research supports the tactic is most effective when used in the context of long-term love or the marital context in which a person wishes to be sure of a partner's fidelity. The benefits accrued through long-term romantic love require a huge investment and a sacred commitment on the behalf of both partners.
Playing hard to get can ensure that the other person is ready to make a commitment to an enduring relationship. The tactic of "playing easy to get" is most effective when used by someone in the context of casual sex, where availability is the most important commodity. In this context, people are not ready to make significant investments since the benefits are smaller and more temporary; hence, playing hard to get here will not be effective at all.
The mystery, the deeper qualities, the more obscure and more demure assets -- a sweet, lovely woman understands only certain companions with good intentions are permitted to share her soul. I think that definitely means she is "hard to get." The beautiful words of Emily Dickinson in "XIII" give us the poetic truth:
The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.
Unmoved, she notes the chariot's pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.
I've known her from an ample nation
Then close the valves of her attention
Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886
Young lady, your femininity can cast a spell that can quake the knees of your chosen lover and make his head ache for just one kiss. You control the "valve" that permits entry to your soul. And, I think true gentlemen understand that the most precious commodities require the most time and effort.
To close, let me include how Richard Burton described his first sight of a 19-year-old Elizabeth Taylor. He didn't record what happened next, but I'm sure from his prose that he became instantly willing to invest himself wholeheartedly in pursuit of her affection. He was awestruck to say the least ...
"She was," he (Burton) proclaimed, "so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud. She... [was] famine, fire, destruction and plague... the only true begetter. Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would topple empires before they withered... her body was a miracle of construction... She was unquestionably gorgeous.
"She was lavish. She was a dark, unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much... Those huge violet blue eyes... had an odd glint... Aeons passed, civilizations came and went while these cosmic headlights examined my flawed personality. Every pockmark on my face became a crater of the moon."
And, the rest of the story, as they say, is history.