The Q: From a woman, regarding men: "What is up with guys who flirt, but never make a move? He'll flirt. I'll flirt back. That's it. What's his hold-up?" -Emily*
The A: Few quirks in a guy frustrate a woman like his habit of flirting with her for no apparent reason (if you're me, anyway, so I feel Emily's pain). Frankly, flirting is fun, but it gets old when it's with a guy who doesn't attempt to pursue a relationship.
This is because flirting communicates something. When I flirt, I use body language and/or other words to say "I kinda have a thing for you." It's only natural, then, that when a guy flirts with me, I assume he's saying "I kinda have a thing for you," too.
But what if he isn't? Maybe the hold up for some of the guys who flirt but don't "make a move" is that they flirt because it's fun, and not at all because it's step one in their pursuit of a relationship. If a flirt flirts solely for fun, however, he (or she!) essentially says, "Here," to the person with whom he or she flirts, "Have this expectation (the expectation, that is, that we're probably on the verge of eating chicken piccata at a fancy restaurant while we pretend we haven't Googled** each other)."
Then he or she never delivers.
But my guess is just a guess. Emily's question would be answered better by people whose insight here is better than mine:
So here are a couple quick answers from a couple male friends and fellow bloggers:
Chris Schumerth: "Well, there isn't 'one answer' to this, of course, but at least two possibilities come to mind, both of which too many men would undoubtedly deny. First of all, men are capable of being confused. It could be that he's sort of interested but can't decide if he's really interested. The second thing that comes to mind, and this one's probably the bigger of the two, is that mutual flirting doesn't make facing rejection any easier! It's hard to go out on a limb and ask a girl out!"
J.Q. Tomanek: Men are from Venus but we understand in Martian. When I flirt with my wife and she flirts back, I get the "flirt" but for some reason misfire on the follow-up. Guys can diagnose what kind of bird is flying during dove season, invented Morse code, and can translate a third base coach's signal, but when it comes to reading women we need it LOUD, clear, and direct. At least for me, I take more risks with my wife when I have greater certainty that I know what she wants or expects.
A third guy whose feedback I sought shares more thoughts in an upcoming guest post. (Check back tomorrow!)
Edit 10/19/12: Click here to read the guest post in response to Emily's question.
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Q&A is an occasional feature. If you have a Q, I can come up with an A (and if I don't have an A, I'll find somebody who does). To submit a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comments. No topic is taboo (although I can't promise I will answer every question).
*Real person, fake name.
**For the record, I do Google guys but I never pretend I don't. :)