If I haven't made it abundantly clear, I do like to flirt. I have for quite some time.
However, with the recent breakup of my long-term relationship, some things have changed. I am still pretty shaken up by the circumstances, and although I do think I'm making considerable progress, I still have a long way to go before my confidence in my abilities as a partner will be restored.
Primarily because of that, and to avoid the complications of rebounding-type relationships, I have declared myself off-limits for dating for the time being. And in case you're wondering, yes, that means no nookie.
That means I have chosen to be celibate. On purpose.
Which has really had an effect on my flirting. Knowing the absolute outcome has eliminated any pressure, and knowing it's just for fun has made it really easy. I can take risks that normally I might not take, even with the "assault" paranoia from a few days ago.
However, I also noticed that I am touching less. Any physical contact (except with friends that I know) is pretty much nonexistent except in the rare circumstance. Which is a little weird, because I believe that the occasional touch in flirting is fair game. (And note I said "touch", not "fondle".)
Of course, not everyone appreciates flirting. Sometimes women have had bad experiences and feel unsafe. Usually this comes across in body language: arms folded, legs crossed, turning away, or pulling weapons all indicate a kind of defensive posture, and it's best to remain somewhat distant.
Or they might take any approach whatsoever as a come-on. I have found that as a first approach, complimenting a woman on something about her (clothes, hair, eyes, etc.) is usually good, as long as it's sincere. If she responds to this kind of approach negatively, then walk away.
Sometimes they have boyfriends/fiancees/husbands that are less than appreciative of attention being paid to their woman. Hey, it happens. Most of the time, it's another walk-away situation.
Someone recently asked me how you know when it moves from flirting into genuine interest. And I really don't have a good answer for that. I don't think there's any one particular sign, because everyone's flirt level is so different. Some women think of kissing as flirting. And very often it changes depending on the circumstances.
I think that if there is a sustained interest, it is the kind of thing that you will most likely find out by talking.
Then again, I'm not exactly the master of relationships.
Code review today. My brain hurts.