In this post, guest author Marcus Neo, discussed the issue of “teasing” and whether it still has a place in showing affection. Is it still warranted or is there a better way?
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Can you walk up to a woman and express your affection outrightly or is it more ‘socially intelligent’ to come up with a witty line, throw in a joke or two, tell her that her shoes look red and a little off?
Modern Culture and Teasing
In the classic pick up artist movement, in the efforts to better men’s chances with the opposite sex, men are taught to use flirting strategies such as push and pull or to come up with witty one-liners to ‘neg’ women in order to ‘demonstrate higher value’.
This is also reflected in the modern media.
How is an effective means of flirting commonly portrayed?
The main character (usually the man) has to come up with a perfect, witty and somewhat derogatory means of teasing to communicate affection to a woman.
The result of this is an entire movement in the men’s dating advice industry attempting to come up with lines, strategies, and an entire generation of men focused on the superficial components of dating and relationships, as opposed to what truly matters.Marcus Neo
How many members of the opposite sex can receive direct compliments without feeling awkward?
This is commonly expressed in Eastern cultures: if a man openly expresses affection, women may find it unattractive, cheesy or may not find it attractive.
You need to make fun of them.
Call them names.
Hopefully they laugh to signal reciprocated interest.
Freud argued that for societies to be organized, the sexual impulses of individuals have to be somewhat controlled.
In Western cultures, they do it through shame.
In Eastern cultures, they do it through honour.
When we were growing up, how many of us got made for a romantic expression or rejection?
You confided with a schoolmate that you fancied a girl, and next thing you know, everyone is making fun of you and the other party.
Funny Lines and affection
In my own personal life, I made a personal note to make a shift from a derogatory, indirect means of flirting to a more direct, expressive and affectionate means of communication.
The results were inverse.
Now, women not only find me non-witty, they even feel eked out to a certain extent.
Yes, wit and coming up with one liners are signals of competency and intelligence.
Those are attractive behaviours that signal mating value to members of the opposite sex.
However, there must be a line where lines go out of the window and vulnerability can ensue.
This is made worse by modern culture.
You see it in modern films where the individual that stammers over his delivery of lines is always the ‘loser’.
Even if those lines were genuine and an expression of vulnerability.
The one that speaks clearly with a one liner or two, with macho confidence always ‘gets the woman’.
Eastern cultures face a different set of problems where both direct expression of affection and decretory form of teasing is frowned upon.
Is There a Better Way Forward
Good natured teasing between old friends is fun and harmless.
It’s also a great way to spark some romantic tension between two people.
Humour can be a good means of adding some light heartedness in your romantic interactions, however, should never be replaced for vulnerability.
However, what if it becomes the main method of expressing interest and affection?
What if other means of expressing affection and interest are shunned?
In Eastern cultures, direct expression is perceived as awkward.
In Western cultures, direct expression is shunned and ambiguity is promoted, between two parties.
Until society evolves out of such cultural narratives promoted by modern media, we are going to perceive decretory means of expressing affection as useful or effective.
This comes from the recognition that a vulnerable, honest and somewhat direct expression of emotions is a better way forward than continuing to blur the lines.