Saturday, September 4, 2010


There's this line that I can't quite remember. I think it's something like, 'I don't know what porn is, but I know it when I see it.' Something like that. Granted, porn is a poor thing to bring into this discussion, because I don't think that flirting and porn are related at all, but by putting the two in the same post...well.

That's how I think about flirting, though. If you asked me to define what constitutes flirting, I couldn't tell you - not in any specific way, at least. But I know it when I see it. Or when I'm doing it. Anything can be a flirt. It (like so very many other things), depends on the person (people) involved. Everyone finds different things attractive, entertaining, interesting. So something that is flirtatious to one may not be to another. Humanity is not a monolith!

I've flirted over comics. And I've had perfectly platonic conversations over comics. Very similar conversations, actually. So what made one flirting and the other not? The people involved. There's a start to a conversation, an interaction, where it's simply two people talking. And then there's a shift and your voices change, subtly, your postures, and both (if both parties find the other interesting/attractive) recognize that the conversation has an undercurrent.

Now, does this have to go anywhere inappropriate?

First, what's 'inappropriate'?

I would think that we can agree (most of us), that inappropriate would be sex, or anything that immediately arouses and/or leads up to it. So, no heavy petting, no making out, no groping, no second, third, fourth, home run whatever. This is because sex is something that should only happen between a married couple. And anything leading up to sex, I think, falls into that category automatically.

But flirting is none of those things, in and of itself. Flirting is like the opening salvo. If you don't find someone with whom you click, with whom you can have this easy exchange, then you shouldn't date them. And dating is what leads to marriage. Of course, I know of at least one person who doesn't believe that Christians should date, (hi caraboska!), but I disagree. So long as both parties are respected, and the lines are clearly drawn as to what activities are acceptable between two individuals as opposed to those that are acceptable between a married couple (wherein they have become one person), and both individuals are respecting of God, then I don't see dating as a problem.

As a matter of fact I think remembering that God (and all the angels, and the saints, and all your departed friends and relatives) are *watching you* would help keep any stray libidinous thoughts under control. That's right, your great aunt Frieda sees what you're doing there!

Now, the Bible doesn't deal specifically with 'dating', and I guess some people argue from that that dating is not a Christian/Biblical thing, but since the concept of 'dating' or even choosing your own spouse based off of mutual attraction and love didn't really fly back then, I don't think you can use that. We have to take Christian concepts, and apply them to the times that we are living in - not attempt to live as though we were living 2000 years ago.

So what is forbidden between unmarried individuals - sex and lust. I guess we can argue as to *why* those are forbidden. For instance, is sex forbidden between unmarried individuals because of the need to be able (on a material level) to trace the lineage and for men to be certain that the children they are supporting are *theirs*, and that their honor (and, of course, that includes the honor of their wives) is intact. Which is a purely secular and 'manly' reasoning. Or because in marriage the individuals are meant to come together in a deeper way, the trust and respect between them should be as pure and as singular an event as can be expected and marriage reflects (as well as anything corporeal and created can), the love that God has for humanity and the community that the Trinity has amongst itself.

Lust is obviously forbidden because it leads to sex. And I suppose that to some people's minds, flirting must mean that there is lust there. But attraction is not all about (or even always about) lust. We are attracted to people without *lusting* for them all the time.


  1. "That's right, your great aunt Frieda sees what you're doing there!"

    Ahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaa! No! No! No! No! Say it isn't so! That was so funny! :)

    Great post! I totally agree with it all. Thank you!!

  2. Yes, yes it is. She sees, and she doesn't approve. So cut it out!

    Yeesh. The first time I figured that out, really thought about it, I was freaked. I was *convinced* that I would never, ever be able to have sex because, holy crap, invisible people are watching! I've gotten over that...

  3. Haaaaaaaa! I really just try not to think about that because it's just too weird!

    *cleanses brain*

  4. Oh my last captcha was


    wrong spelling, but I think it caught on that you hate WEEDing.

    This one is clever: gumistri

  5. Yeah. That's mostly how I deal with it too. I just don't think about it. But when I do, I try to think that they have better things to do with their time. They're not watching *all the time* (my relatives anyway), and as long as I'm not doing anything *bad*, then it's okay. But mostly I just don't think about it. At all.

  6. seriously. Captcha *knows* things. It's the first step to SkyNet, and then, Terminator world! Machines trying to destroy humanity! *glances around in paranoia* I've said too much!

  7. :D You make me giggle. Hope you survive the night!

  8. I flirt a lot :-D I know it is wrong, being married and all but hey, that is how I was created!

    I dated my husband for four years before we were married and I used the same logic to justify it to myself.

    Really like the post!

  9. I think if you are attracted to someone, with out knowing it just happens. flirtying that is...

    you go girly, your voice changes, you stand differently. you are more likely to touch the other person, when speaking, on the hand or arm.

    You also subconciously touch your hair face and neck.

    I think in todays day and age, you need to date to know if you are compatible. Women are stronger now (we have to be), we have jobs, so more things need to be discussed to find out if you are a good match. as in what you both see for future possibilities. Will you still need to work if you have children. where you will live. can you finish your studies.

    not that I have a distrust of men, but some are not so truthfully and still would like their wife to stay home. (I like this idea, but friends and colleagues at work fight this train of thought, and you've guessed it, they dont have a husband). Of course things do change, and you have to adapt. But I am a planner and I like to have an idea of what has to be done and where we hope to be in 5 years+ time.

    word verification is distru

  10. There is a difference between dating and spending time together. I agree that some kind of spending time together is necessary. But is the purpose to engage in idle chitchat or even outright immoral behavior, or is it to talk about really important stuff: for example, to transact legitimate business, to engage in religious witnessing or fellowship, or to ask the questions that must be asked before one agrees to embark on a marital relationship?

    And it is also not necessarily true that one will automatically start flirting if one is 'interested'. Some people keep such close watch on their behavior that it would be nearly impossible for them to do anything automatically. Now, it may be that I am biased because I most probably have a mild form of autism, which has the charm of not creating the automatic brain connections that neurotypical people create, so that it is not even possible to do almost anything automatically. Everything must be thought about or it just... won't happen. But let me tell you: I wouldn't trade that part of me for the world, because while it can be time-consuming and tiring to do all that thinking, it does mean freedom to choose...

    Word verification 'choses' :)

  11. I think sometimes people forget we are animals. Flirting is our way of attracting a mate. Looking nice is our way of attracting a mate. That doesn't mean you need to do anything more than that. But flirting is our natural biological way of attracting a man and seeing how we click. And I see nothing wrong with that. I do however have issues with things like one night stands. Some things need to stay within a serious, committed relationship.

  12. suroor,

    Thanks. Maybe it would help people who are against dating if we all started to refer to it as courtship?

  13. slice,

    Exactly. It's an instinctive change in a person when you come across someone that you find interesting and attractive. It's not harmful.

    I would never be able to marry someone that I didn't know very, very well. You have to trust them more than you trust almost anyone else on the planet, and I don't think that you can get to know someone that well without spending extended amounts of time with them.

    See? Captcha knows things...'distru' - it got cut off before it could finish spelling 'distrust'! *makes Twilight Zone sounds*

  14. caraboska,

    I guess it depends on what you include under the heading of 'dating'. Going out to eat, talking about things you have in common, hanging out with mutual friends, seeing movies, going to sports games, going to church together, to family gatherings - all that comes under the heading of dating. It is also spending time together. And nothing inappropriate has to happen at all. It's all up to the people involved with each other.

    But is the purpose to engage in idle chitchat or even outright immoral behavior, or is it to talk about really important stuff: for example, to transact legitimate business, to engage in religious witnessing or fellowship, or to ask the questions that must be asked before one agrees to embark on a marital relationship?

    Why do you include 'idle chitchat' along with 'outright immoral behavior'? What's so immoral about idle chitchat? Does every conversation you have have to be about something very specific and business like? Does it all come back to religion every time you speak to someone? Can one never just discuss mutual interests? And how do you even get to the point where you might consider the person for marriage if all you ever talk about is business and religion? It seems very dry and boring and joyless, to me. There's no fun there. It seems so unnatural.

    And that's the thing, really. All of your observations about your personal interactions with people, how you react can't be considered as typical, or even remotely close. At best we might consider you an exception that helps to prove the rule. For people whose brains function normally, flirtation is automatic. I won't deny that some people find it necessary or even helpful to be able to override their instincts, but most of us don't. It's all a part of the mating ritual of humanity - perfectly natural. Artificial constructs of society around it (which vary so much from one society to the next, from age to age) don't stop it from being the way we were designed.

  15. LK,

    Some people want to deny that we have anything in common with the animal kingdom at all. I'm not really sure why, honestly. We're designed along so many of the same lines...

    *nods* One night stands, etc. are all things that would fall into the category of immoral behavior, and aside from any religious issues, they do harm psychologically, in so many ways.

  16. Bismillah. Amber, Whether the term 'courtship' is applicable depends. See, I define 'dating' as 'unfocused spending of romantic time alone together just for the sake of spending romantic time with someone - without any notion of commitment beyond "as long as we both shall love"'. And I define courtship as 'focused spending of time together - probably alone, not necessarily romantically - for purposes of deciding whether to get married'. And I define friendship as 'spending non-romantic time together, not necessarily alone, as a value in itself'.

    I do not necessarily view idle chitchat as immoral. But it can be - for example, in the context of what I refer to above as 'dating', which I view as without exception immoral because it entails either leading people on (giving them the impression of a serious intent that is not there) or actually countenancing sexual relationships outside of marriage.

    While I do engage in a certain amount of chitchat with people when we visit together to transact business or discuss some private or religious matter - or even to inquire about the welfare of a friend from time to time - it is very true that I believe the focus must remain on the business at hand. It is true that nowadays M and I talk once a week on the phone - but I also talk to each of his parents (who live with him), because I am friendly with all three of them independently. But having known M for over 7 years, there has been only one single time when we met alone in person together with absolutely no 'program' of matters to be discussed.

    I fell in love with M simply by accumulating a critical mass of choices to 'love my neighbor as myself' - in a ministry context. And I began to think, once I noticed he was more than just a musician (which hit me like a ton of bricks, I assure you), that it was a no-brainer: he is devout, serious-minded, we can talk to each other, I don't have to ask how we can serve God together because we have already been doing it... It's basically guaranteed that sooner or later, I'll fall in love with such a person. 'Sooner or later', up until now, has meant (depending on the given other party) anything from about three days to a maximum of just shy of three months.

    And I wonder why you think this is joyless. What if the 'business' is music? What if religion or God is your biggest joy in life, the only thing you will be glad to stay up all night talking about - or even be woken up at 3 AM to talk about? I mean, I love my cats, I can talk about them at great length indeed, but I would not be pleased if someone woke me up at 3 AM for that purpose... I doubt I'd even be pleased to be woken up to talk about M at that time of day. God? Jesus Christ? The Bible? Quite another matter...

  17. caraboska,

    Some people call 'dating' what you define as 'courtship'. You've assigned only negative connotations to the term dating, and you should probably make it clear what you understand when you use the term 'dating' in discussions because it is not what other people understand.

    I suppose I imagine it as joyless because I would find it painfully, extremely boring, if it were my limitations. Even if the 'business' is something that I love, like books. *Only* being able to discuss books, and *only* at the level of business - so not being able to chat for hours, aimlessly, about things that we love about them, going off onto tangents, lest we fall into the 'immoral' area of idle chitchat...

    Somebody wakes me up at 3 am? The house had better be on fire or someone had better be dying, or else they will be, shortly.

  18. Bismillah. Amber, That business about being woken up at 3 AM to talk about God was from real life. Way back in my former lifetime, a friend was having serious family problems and even frequently needed someone to talk her out of committing suicide in the middle of the night / keep her company right through until sunrise. And since the someone in question needed to speak French... guess who she called?

  19. That'd fall under the category of 'house burning down, someone dying' - an emergency. I had a friend last week call me at 2, 3 in the morning because she had some guy slumped over in a truck in front of her house and had called 911 and wanted someone to be on the phone with her until everything was over. That is also acceptable. Waking me up to have philosophical conversations (or any conversation, really) for a non-emergency reason is not acceptable, and liable to get you hung up on, and possibly cursed at. I am not a 'morning' person.


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