The Lost Art Of The Flirt: Why Dating Leaves Us So Damn Dissatisfied

by Zara Barrie

Whatever happened to flirting? When was the last time we unabashedly indulged in an awesomely enticing flirting session with a supremely-talented flirting partner?

Oh, you know what I’m talking about: the wonderful, electrifying, quick-witted, rapid-fire, playful back-and-forth that happens between two entities exploring their budding attraction toward each other?

It can exist in something as subtle as the exchanging of an understatedly seductive glance between two fluttering eyelids. It can reside in cutting conversational words and rapid-fire responses.

It’s that nerve-racking, improvisational exercise that recklessly takes us for a dangerously thrilling joyride in a hot and fast car with no seatbelt to keep us safe.

Flirting is liberatingly playful, frustratingly intriguing, palpably exciting and oh-so-FUN (whatever happened to FUN, anyway?).

It’s the necessary warm up, the preamble to sexual exploration; it's the seductive pull of the heartstrings, the welcomed mind f*ck, the foreplay to foreplay, the test drive that ensures our chemistry is cohesive.

It’s what makes the single life heatedly teeming with endless excitement, for we spend our workdays wondering which sexy soul we will sinfully flirt with once night falls.

So why the hell is no one doing it anymore? It seems to me that flirting has become an endangered art form. It’s an occurrence so rare, most of us have forgotten how to even do it.

We are clueless, and we are hungry for it.

So, what's the problem? Did the hook-up culture kill the art of flirting? Is the modern world so instantaneous -- so mindlessly easy -- that flirting has become too hard, has become too much work for our spoiled, over-indulged little selves?

If it’s not downloadable, if there’s no free “app” for it — we can't figure it out.

Even when we try to flirt, it seems no one can keep their noses out of their smart phones long enough to seductively lock eyes with us for even a second.

And flirting begins in eye contact; without the meeting of the eyes, there is no absolutely no chance to flirt.

The real tricky part is this: Flirting is a muscle, like anything else. If we don’t take it the gym and exercise it regularly, our flirting physique will rapidly deteriorate.

And to put it lightly: We're out of f*cking shape.

Has our Tinder addiction, incessant social media abuse and hankering for delivery food apps stamped out the fine art of the flirt?

Has the willingness of the masses to put out so quickly and so easily made flirting far too much blood, sweat and tears for the quick-fix Millennial?

Is our culture of f*cking before flirting, the reason dating is no longer satisfying?

Where there is no game, there is no winning.

Flirting is a wonderfully tantalizing, sheepishly innocent game that teases us with what’s to come. It’s the sexy little taste we experience before attaining the full-fledged PRIZE.

Herein lies the conundrum of the insta-hook-up culture: If you don’t dabble in a little pre-play (in other words, if you don’t dare to FLIRT), if, instead, you dive in headfirst, then scoring the goal feels dirty and cheap.

It's like we cheated on our own team in the game against ourselves.

It's much more gratifying to work for sex or a relationship. Think of it like this: It's impossible to WIN when you haven’t even begun to play the game.

Where there is no challenge, there is no charm.

Let's get real, we are human beings and we LOVE a challenge; it wildly turns us ON. A challenge is stimulating, and sexuality is all about stimulation.

Before we can be stimulated in the bedroom, we need to be stimulated with our brains.

And nothing will lubricate the mind like being put to the test with thought-provoking questions and razor-sharp wit.

When a good conversation lovingly plays with our otherwise numbed-out brains, our interest is piqued. When our interest is piqued, we are charmed.

When you challenge us, we are suddenly awakened. When you leave us flummoxed and stumbling for words, you are spicing up our day with a well-needed sprinkling of nerves.

And being made nervous is refreshingly sexy. It leaves us with thoughts of you lingering in our brains long after you leave.

Where there is no chase, there is no reward.

Oh the healthy chase, not to ever be confused with the unhealthy chase (treating us like sh*t, never calling us back -- that's NOT cute).

What we mean is this: If we get our hands on something (you) too easily and too quickly, the reward doesn't feel special or sacred.

Don't hand it to us just because we want it. Flirt with us first. Make us work for it, because the things we worked the hardest for are the things we value the most, right?

Where there is no conversation, there is no connection.

I believe we have two ways in which to connect: through the bending of our bodies and the bending of our brains.

However, when we connect through words first, the sex is so much more powerful.

Trust is built through conversation. When we trust whom we're having sex with, it's so much better.

We can read each other's bodies with far more clarity; we're less self-conscious and are able to plunge into all those positively subversive sexual risks when trust is present.

Where there is no banter, there is no chemistry.

If you don't have chemistry, you don't have sh*t. Chemistry is that special ingredient that separates friends from lovers.

How do we know if we have chemistry with another human being if we don't talk to him or her first?

If we don't have that tongue-in-cheek witty banter with our partners, how could we ever have enjoyable sex or long term relations with them?

How do we know if that vital ingredient of CHEMISTRY is there, when we don't give ourselves the opportunity to flirt first?

Flirting might seem like it's hard work, but in the long run, it saves you from a lot of time wasted having bad sex with someone you're not compatible with.

Where there is no back and forth, there is no movement.

Move US. Not literally (at least not yet), but move our minds. Make us think. Ask us questions. Tempt us with a taste of your fresh perspective and bold opinions.

There is too much sleepy stillness in the universe, shake up our worlds -- otherwise there is no point.

Where there is no laughter, there is no lust.

There is no greater turn on in the entire world than laughing. Laughing on its own feels so f*cking good, it's almost sexual in of itself.

Mix laughter with inherent physical attraction, and we are in the throes of an irrepressible lust. 

Flirting is about making us laugh. Making us forget about our high anxiety, endless work meetings and sky-high ambitions. We lose ourselves in laughter, like we lose ourselves in love.