Men are crap at flirting. Or so the majority of women would have you think. An informal poll of straight female friends and colleagues indicated that men favour “calculated lines that you can see through or straight-up abuse because they've read The Game.” But a new study has thrown in a spanner in the supposition that the blame lies entirely with men.Can there be any doubt that if the numbers were reversed, the argument would be that women are more empathatic, which is why they are better able to detect flirting?
Research at the University of Kansas concluded that women are generally pretty clueless when it comes to detecting flirtation. Dr Jeffrey Hall and his team paired 52 heterosexual women with 52 heterosexual men and asked them to chat one-on-one. In separate rooms the subjects were then told they were participating in a study on first impressions and were asked to fill out questionnaires, with one of the questions asking if they had flirted with their partner and whether they thought their partner had flirted with them.
Whilst 36% of men were able to correctly detect when flirtation occurred, women were only half as likely to realise, with a mere 18% of female flirtees realising that a bloke was putting on the moves. Whilst we women may blame blokes for being bad at flirting, the study raises the question that perhaps men are not so terrible as first thought, but rather it's women who are just really bad at picking up the signals.
In any event, my observation is that most women are feigning this inability. I've listened to women deny that a man is interested in even after the man openly expresses his interest to her and everyone else. And we're not talking about doing it in an offhand or joking manner either. If a man doesn't measure up to a woman's belief in her own status, she is inclined to pretend that she isn't aware of his interest, because admitting it is tantamount to admitting that she might be in his lesser league.