New rules of flirting: Relationship expert Jean Smith reveals how to make that tricky first move (the odd compliment, lots of eye contact...But strictly NO hands)

Mail Online | 1/13/2018 | Jean Smith For The Mail On Sunday
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At the theatre recently I was groped inappropriately by a complete stranger. My husband and I were squeezing along to our seats when a man grabbed me around the waist.

He joked he ‘wouldn’t let me fall’. My husband was appalled. But this man’s familiarity towards me seemed relatively harmless on the constant sliding scale of what we women regularly encounter.

Allegations - Behaviour - Movie - Mogul - Harvey

Since the allegations of inappropriate behaviour by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein surfaced, along with claims made by women against MPs in Westminster, one thing is clear: touching someone without invitation will no longer be overlooked.

So how do we navigate this brave new world? Especially when some women, such as the French actress Catherine Deneuve, aren’t happy with the changing rules, suggesting that men should be ‘free to hit on’ women.

Flirting - Men - Women

So, what does it mean for flirting, for both men and women?

I would suggest that modern-day flirting needs to recognise that other people are not objects, or something to be conquered or ticked off, but human beings to be treated with respect, empathy and consideration.

Question - Situation - Person - Do - Ask

Ask a question, then assess the situation: is this person responsive? Do they look like they want to engage? Do I want to continue engaging with them? Ask another question, then assess again.

So what qualifies me to tell you about the do’s and don’t’s of flirting? Well, I’m a social and cultural anthropologist and, as one of Britain’s leading experts in flirting and human attraction, I’ve devoted the past 15 years to the subject.

Flirting - Encounter - Things - Chemistry - Moment

Even so, you probably don’t need me to tell you that a good flirting encounter is one of the best things we can experience. It doesn’t need to be about sexual chemistry. It can just be fun. The two of you are relaxed and in the moment, while a hint of something exciting bubbles under...
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