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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: The woes of uninvited flirtation

    When thinking of a setting that could invite potential flirtation, one would picture a bar, a party or somewhere public and highly populated — like a college campus.

    Networking, socializing and getting involved is expected of any college student who is looking to get the most out of their college experience. But some people care more about getting to class on time or finishing homework than giving out their number to someone they just met. That still doesn’t stop flirtatious types from trying.

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    Back when I was in community college, I saw attempts at flirtation on occasion. That’s not to be confused with catcalling, where someone is being shouted at in either an objectifying or otherwise uncomfortable way. Almost every woman I knew had a story regarding flirtation while they were occupied or just wanting to be left alone. Even I had experiences like that. Looking back, I thought it was because the population in community college was usually smaller and less dense. It made sense; the smaller the community, the more likely it was for you to know someone. After transferring to the UA, I found out I was completely wrong.

    One day, I saw a guy walk up to a girl working on her laptop. I was sitting on a bench nearby when it happened, so not only was I overhearing them completely unintentionally, but I also had a front row seat to everything unfolding. It became very apparent that they weren’t familiar with each other, and the girl, who seemed busy, tried to avoid the advances even further by trying to look invested in her work and paid little attention to the guy. It didn’t work. Her body language said “I’m not interested” as she didn’t face him, and continued to either be on her laptop or her phone.

    The guy wasn’t being conversational either, as he went straight in to asking her questions on knowledge only he seemed to know. Their interaction was completely a dead end street.

    Eventually the exchange ended with the guy sliding his phone towards her and saying, “here, put your name in this” without even asking her permission. She replied with a perturbed, “what?” At that point, even I was getting uncomfortable, so I pulled my nose out of that conversation.

    I wasn’t the only one watching; another guy sitting at the table beside me threw in a comment about the exchange as well. I can only assume how she felt. I gathered from her tone of voice as she was on the phone after the guy left that she was very bewildered.

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    Now, I want to break down this interaction that I witnessed. I want to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting oneself out there to try and pick up some eye candy. That’s the number one way to get anyone’s attention.

    What makes the situation immediately awkward is when you go in with some sort of expectation, and stick with your failed plan after the other person doesn’t reciprocate. At this point, it’s time to abandon ship. Don’t cling to the wreckage. That not only makes the other person more uncomfortable, and the interaction usually ends up being a weird story someone tells to a friend afterward who’s not listening, which is exactly what happened in my experience.

    If you’re going to approach someone, level out the field and don’t loom over the person as you’re talking to them.

    This is a type of exchange you can expect to see during your years in college, but know that therearepeople who are wary of such interactions, as there have been incidents where flirtation turns excessive, even violent. I’m sure many people have stories of when they received unsolicited flirtation; be sure to share those stories with others so they know what to do when it happens.

    Follow Annetta Nit on Twitter.

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