People frequently see flirting as a prelude to sex, but this is by no means always the case Calling someone a “flirt” isn’t seen as an insult, but in some cases it might serve as a snide sort of traducing. It’s also not great reputationally at the moment, post-#MeToo. But I would argue that those who have responded to #MeToo by moaning that, “God, nobody is allowed to flirt any more,” might just have flirting very wrong indeed. Flirting is lovely. I am a flirt. I flirt all the time. There is, for me, a spoken language of flirting, and a bodily one. In conversation, there is something of a frisson to a wonderful, witty back and forth. This is because I find intelligence attractive. I might not be physically attracted to my interlocutor – hell, it might even be a friend, and the idea of hooking up weird – but it’s the thrill of the exercise. I hesitate to say that language is sexy, but also: it is.
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