- The average Kenyan man just doesn’t understand the whole concept of flirting. In fact, most men, women have reported, confuse it for foreplay.
- Dude, just because she is shyly stealing glances at you doesn’t mean you are going to get laid. I have seen men make fools of themselves enough times.
Gentlemen, just because she winked at you from the other end of the room, don’t rush over and sheepishly ask, “Your place or mine?” She will be horrified, and might even slap you very hard.
Look, I have this 70-year-old uncle in shags who is a flirt. He cannot help himself. He takes every chance he gets and is a man who lives by the law of probabilities. On a recent road trip to Siaya for a drink, he complained that we were driving too fast to smell the roses lining the roadside. As widower for the last decade, he never looks a gift horse in the mouth.
Most Kenyan men approach flirting with the same strategy. Random optimism with no caution. In a country that has its fair share of misfits, flirting could get you screwed in more ways than one. Flirting can be disastrous and a cause of grievous bodily harm. There are too many cases of mixed signals gone wrong. She was smiling at the hulk standing directly behind you in the coffee house, and you mistook her flash of perfectly lined white teeth as an invitation to her table moments before her husband, an ex ODM Men-in-Black bouncer who earned a living thumping people announced his presence with a fist to your jaw.
As a rule of survival, flirting is for single people. Married people who flirt outrageously are walking in the valley of temptation where the devil lurks. If you are a nothing-special-about-him kind of guy, have no worries, you are not alone. Most men will learn how to flirt by error and deep trials. Years of cheesy moves have created this expectation that any friendly female could be making a move or throwing a hint. But distinguishing a friendly gesture from genuine flirtation is akin to reading the Morse code: Get one signal wrong and there is a real threat in your hands. The biggest fear of male flirts is not the rejection. It is the fear of the other men who get ridiculously territorial. Somewhere in our ethics code, we all agreed that it was okay to beat up someone found disturbing your lady. Men have lost limbs for less and flirty women have encountered hostile opposition from possessive wives.
That said, flirtation is a necessary first step in a country filled with desperate singles and it helps gauge potential mates. Every likely relationship begins with flirtation. But if you ever hope to make any headway in dating circles, a man or woman for that matter has to learn how to break the ice or live a life marked by a series of missed connections and opportunities. To clean up your flirtation basics, we put together an extensive list of Dos and Don’ts.
1. Do not drink and text. Sending a racy text to your office crush after four shots of tequila should not be interpreted as a flirty behaviour. Confessions made in text after 6pm that involve dirty thoughts are best kept in your head. Avoid whatsapp groups unless you want to end up with Brother Ocholla Cloud Nine drama. Remember the case of a man caught unleashing deep sexual innuendoes in a church group, who ended up as a trending roasting topic? Anything written is a public record and in the era of sexual harassment, your enthusiasm to get the next desirable female in bed could land you in a court room.
2. Do not ever say, ”Hey sexy” and wink. Don’t run your tongue over your lips or blow air kisses. All of the above are cheesy. Stick with eye contact and hope for progress. Cheesy lines do not work either. When an airhostess asks whether you would like some headphones, do not be tempted to reply “How did you know my name was Phone?”
3. Do not ever send nude selfies. Teenagers and DJ Creme may be excused for unrestrained horniness, but a picture of good old ‘John Thomas’ at full mast and in all his glory will come back to haunt you. No woman in her right mind will delete the picture before asking the committee of friends for an in-depth opinion on the latest pervert on her blacklist. A man’s member is as big as he thinks it is, so rein in that ego. Women should never send pictures of their naked parts even when a potential crush begs for a peek unless you want his entire gang checking you out the next day with eyes that say, “We saw, we liked, we want it too”.
4. Do not giggle like someone on laughing gas. These Idris Elba types can tell when you are laughing for no good reason and will dismiss you as weird. Do not stare down a man and appear so involved in what he is saying that you look like an owl trying to bewitch him.
5. Do not mistake a nice woman for a flirt. There are certain environments that provide great opportunities for flirting such as house parties. Assumption is always the mother of royal [email protected]#k ups and epic rejections. In such places, women feel safer and comfortable. Thus, they tend to drink more than they should, which creates the impression of ‘easy lays’. When she says, “Oops, I almost fell”, withdraw the hand lingering on her bust. A drunk woman is not flirting. She is drunk and you do not want to wake up the next morning to a date-rape charge. Do not confuse good manners for hints. The woman who keeps filling your plate could just be a good-mannered host, so avoid statements that would be construed as tacky such as, “Aki, umenikalia chapatti”.
6. Take good care of your big mouth. Guys tend to think they are really funny when they get drunk. It is, however, important to have a true friend in the vicinity who drags you out for air before one launches into a full-blown confessional about why the host’s married sister has callipygian attributes — big, well-shaped buttocks and all — that would make a great screen saver. There is a big difference between flirting and confessing. When all the men or women who broke your heart make it into the conversation before the 10-minute mark, that qualifies for a case of “too much information”.
7. Listen for a response from your potential flirt object. If you have been talking for five minutes without a single response, and the subject of your attention has her eyes glued to her smart phone, take the loud hint. When the conversation resembles one-way Mombasa road traffic to nowhere, move along quietly.
8. Do not be a Lothario on Facebook. Facebook is now the flirting mecca for shy closet romantics. When Jane from marketing has a post about enjoying her shopping trip in Johannesburg, it is not smart to add in naughty jokes like, “I wish I could ‘select all’ your clothes and ‘press delete’”. Chronic retweeting does not qualify as romantic interest and getting moody because your object of fascination does not follow one back will only get you blocked as spammer.
9. Do not try too hard. Women can get really desperate with the nice act hoping to pull off a guise that “I am flirting with you but I am not, really!” Guys can tell and anyone round can tell that you are trying too hard. So stop being silly.
10. Careful, not everyone is ready for flirting. Your attempt to flirt with strangers in a nightclub can be greatly deteriorated by proximity. In a smoky, dark night club, most things look good from far. The woman twerking solo on the dancefloor could be pulling a show for her two-left-feet KDF man back from Somalia, so look around before stepping up to the tease. In the club, prostitutes are forward, so before you start to play bedroom-eye tango with your object of desire, remain aware that you will be probably reduced to a night of hard bargaining.
11. Do not read too much into things. Ultimately, it is very difficult to distinguish flirtation from everyday courteous friendliness. My advice would always pretend you don’t know what’s happening. When you are not sure he is flirting back, he probably isn’t. If you have to send a text that starts with, “Hey”, hoping he remembers your number, kill the thought.
Flirting is akin to walking the thin line between embarrassment and romantic opportunity. Courteous has become so rare nowadays; most people confuse it for flirtation. Remember, just because someone is friendly does not mean they are flirting, but they could be. Make common sense your best friend.