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Article written by Maya Vukovska

Unless you’ve been confined to a monastery all your life or were raised by a pack of wolves, you must be familiar with the art of flirting. And you probably realize that making direct sexual advances to strangers is considered rude and even aggressive in our civilized society. That’s why we invented flirting! It’s about communicating in a delicate, but not-just-friends kind of way to someone we are into. But flirting is also about giving and reading the right signals. Flirting is not an exact science (that’s why we call it “art”!), and the rules are constantly changing. Nothing is as it used to be back in the days when our parents and grandparents got to know each other in order to decide whether they might be together. Online matchmaking has completely changed the face of courtship, and this is especially true about the gay dating scene. Alas, we don’t have the manual, but we can at least give you some valuable tips.

1. What was your name again?

We are usually so concerned about the first impression we make on someone we’ve just met that we somehow fail to hear their name. Plus, if you are meeting someone with a really difficult name to remember, like Cillian (pronounced KILL-ee-un) or Chiwetel (pronounced CHOO-ih-tell), the situation can get really uncomfortable. What do you do then? Do you never talk to a cute Cillian just because you’re embarrassed to ask him to repeat his name again? No, man, don’t blow your chances because of a name! It’s OK to ask him to repeat “KILL-ee-un” as many times as it takes for you to memorize it. Plus, he might be even flattered that you put so much effort into learning how to pronounce it right.

2. What’s your pronoun?

Now that a lot of people describe themselves as transgender, genderqueer, nonbinary, and so on, you need to be extra careful when referring to them with pronouns of your choice. Remember that some guys you meet may have special preference about their gender pronouns, and they’ll really appreciate it if you care to ask them about them in advance. How you do it?
"Hi, my name is Steve. My gender pronouns are he, him, his. What are yours?" Something like that, just improvise.

3, Don’t be a dick!

Every time when my baby sister would come home crying that some boy at school had pulled her hair or pushed her from behind, my Mom would say, “Oh, honey, that means he LIKES you!” Well, guess what, Mom, that’s bullshit! The archaic assumption that one picks on you because they have a crush on you is valid no more. Being rude or mean to a guy you feel sexually attracted to will only guarantee his disinterest.

4. Excuse me, are you on a date with your phone?!

I know, I know, it’s a challenge to let go of your precious device even for a couple of minutes, but you have to make the effort and put it away while communicating with a human being “in the flesh”. If it’s difficult for you to do it of your own free will, start practicing by attending venues where they require the clients to check their phones at the door. And don’t worry if someone grabs your attention--you can always borrow a piece of paper and a pen at the bar to write down his number.

5. There’s no such thing as “grey area”

When you approach someone and start flirting with him, you’ll receive either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If it’s an enthusiastic “Fuck yes!”, go for him! But if it’s a “Fuck no!” leave the guy alone. Don’t even try to look for hidden signs suggestive of his interest when there are none! No matter what you think, there exists no such thing as grey area between “yes” and “no”.

6. Give them time to assess your worth.

If you start a small talk with an attractive man, let’s say, at the bar, don’t exercise exclusive rights on him. The guy is probably here for the same reason as you are - to do some cruising and see what the night will bring in. Show some consideration and give him time to decide whether he’s also interested in you. At some point, apologize for going to the restroom, and leave him alone for a few minutes. This will give him enough time to
formulate in his head a polite excuse to dispose of your company. But if he’s still game when you come back, you’re good to go on flirting.

7. Gay stereotyping is for losers

It’s an undeniable fact that many people in the LGBTQ community fall into niches when going out to have fun. However, you need to keep in mind that many others are repelled by the idea of fitting into a stereotype. When you start flirting with a guy, don’t instantly assume his “type”. Oh, he must be a Bear. Is he a Femme? If he’s into twinks, as I suspect, then he won’t like me. Sure, he’s an Otter! Hm, the guy is definitely a Butch! The truth is, no matter if they’re Femmes or Butches, people are people, and they can surprise you when you least expect them to.

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