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Flirtatious Dressing and Body Language: Tips from expert Neil Strauss

Flirtatious Dressing and Body Language: Tips from expert Neil Strauss


Yesterday, I posted Part One of my interview with flirtation expert Neil Strauss, during which he gave me some great tips on how to warm up for flirting and how to make appealing small talk, as well as some advice on eye contact. Today, during Part II, things get more interesting: we talk about what to wear and how to use your body language to say some flirtatious things you'd never be able to verbalize.

ME: Okay, so let's say I've gotten down small talk and eye contact. What should be next on my "Learn How to Flirt" agenda?

HIM: Try playing around with your appearance. When a human being sees you, he instantly makes some kind of judgement about whether he thinks you’re uptight, or hot; the kind of person he’d like to marry, the kind of person he'd like to be friends with--that kind of thing. Do you know what people think when they see you?

ME: I haven’t really given it much thought. Definitely not "uptight." Maybe sort of pretty--at least when I was younger! And some people have asked me to marry them straight off the bat--although mainly cab drivers, whom I think might have been more interested in having a green card than having me for a wife. ... I'm really not sure.

HIM: You might want to send a friend out with some photos of you, and have her say, "Would you go out with Maura?" Have them give her some back feedback, find out what they’d think.

ME: That sounds terrifying! I don't know if my ego could handle the truth!

HIM: Yeah, I’d be scared too. But you'll get some honest feedback about what message you’re sending, and how people react to you.

Whether or not you do that, I’d try playing around with your appearance and see how it changes people’s response to you. Change your hair color. If you dress conservatively, try dressing more provocatively, and vice versa. See how changes the way people respond to you.

ME: I notice when I’m in my gym clothes, people respond a lot differently than they do when I’m dressed for a night out.

HIM: But gym clothes can be sexy, too. No matter where you’re going, you should go out thinking there’s a chance you could meet someone. Be prepared for that. Do your hair, your make-up-- whatever you like to do to look to look and feel good.

Like I said, though, also try things you’ve never tried before. If you usually show your cleavage, think of another way to show some skin. Try showing your shoulders or your back.

And remember: Guys aren’t necessarily attracted to beauty, they are attracted to sexual possibility—although you never want to give off the impression that you’re easy.

ME: Interesting. I remember one guy I dated recently saying, "Wow, I’m surprised you’re so ... sensual." Which surprised me, because I like to think I give off a soft, bohemian vice. ... Which is to say: How do you send the message that you’re sexual—but not slutty?

HIM: Spend a little time playing around with body language. Get just a centimeter into a guy’s comfort zone, and look up at him with big eyes. Guys love that. And seriously—I've spent some time studying this—what you need to do is put your chest out, chin down, eyes high in the socket, head slightly tilted, and your weight on one foot. That’s important. If your feet are planted, they feel the resistance, just as much as they would if you had your arms crossed. You might have to practice if for a while, and you might look like a cross-eyed chicken at first, but get it down right and it’ll make him crazy. It makes him feel like he’s in control, which is what most guys want, no matter how wimpy or tough they are. A guy loves to feel in charge. He likes to feel like he's the hero and you’re the damsel in distress. Having a guy help you with something and then looking at him like he just did something amazing is pure crack for men—even if it’s just something like screwing the cap off the orange juice bottle.

ME: Right, or coming up with the answer to the crossword puzzle. Or I notice guys at the gym love to run over and adjust the seat on the weight machine for me.

HIM: Exactly. Anyway, then, once you feel ready to go for it, move on to having more of a conversation. At that point, it’s good to have some idea in mind of what you’re going to say ...


I’ll give you part three tomorrow, when Neil and I moved on to how to start a killer convo--which includes instructions what kinds of topics lend themselves to flirting, how to impose a "time constraint" on a flirtation, and how to help a clueless dude along if he's having trouble asking for your number.


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