Tuesday, 3 June 2008


“Do you guys actually like each other?”

It was a question I wanted to know the answer to, as all I’d seen is these two mates rip the shit out of each other for the last half an hour. You see, here was I fresh out of school, meeting new people at university, but I was still to some extent the socially inept, shy, introverted person I’d been for most of my life. And I didn’t understand what was going on. Here were two new friends of mine, who professed to being friends with each other and even shared a room, but all they did was insult each other. And not just insult. Really insult. The kinds of insults that would make anyone that subscribes to the “politically correct” ideas of communication have a heart attack. I mean, no topic was out of bounds. In particular race (one guy was Indian) and nationality (the other was half French, poor thing).

It was a moment of realisation. Teasing had for me been a negative experience. It was a way of putting someone else down and making yourself feel superior in the tribal laws of the school playground. But here they were teasing each other, and although they were putting each other down, that wasn’t the main point. The point was that it was a challenge, a social battle. It was really about seeing how far you had to go to really get a reaction. If they were upset at the first insult, it wouldn’t have gone any further, but because they were aware enough to know that it wasn’t meant heartlessly, it was then fun to see how far they could take it.

They weren’t taking it personally.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well obviously teasing is a key factor in flirting with women, and I’ve started to notice that I’m doing it more and more, and sooner after first meeting people as I get better at flirting. As I was saying to Trev the other day, I’m being generally more “cocky and funny” with people in general nowadays. I was at two barbeques on Saturday (I was “barbecurious” as someone put it). The first one was with the girl I used to sit next to at work, who I always used to banter with. So there was a bit of banter there, and with some of the other guests.

Then I went to the other barbeque, and there were a bunch of Kiwis that were up for some banter as well. They were really good, really pushing the boundaries. But they didn’t know who they were messing with, haha! It’s funny, because the less you care, and the more inventive you are with your responses, the further you can go. What I also find is that you have to gauge the point at which someone will not be able to respond – at which you take it too far for them. It’s important because if you’re not sensitive to this you’ll end up looking like a heartless dick. If you reach this point, a simple “only joking” and a pat on the back usually resolves it.

There was one girl who was very good at this, and she had a cynical, “I’m superior” vibe about her. Well, someone had to deal with that, right? Funny thing was, I didn’t say anything bad, just that she hadn’t had anyone beat her, so when I kept coming back with stuff, she eventually stopped, and became quite shy. I patted her on the back and made sure she was OK.

Another interesting part was that there was one hot girl there, actually my flatmate, who was getting teased by all the guys. We were all winding her up and stuff, and then halfway through she goes “Why are you all picking on me?” in a fake-upset kind of tone (trying to use her good looks to get some sympathy – an unconscious dominance test of sorts). To which I replied “You love it really!” – and she admitted that she did! She was being the centre of attention.

There’s a lesson in that for us all.

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