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I’ll admit it, I’m bad at flirting. I’ve never been able to do what those girls I grew up with did, with the downcast eyes lifting all starry and shining through carefully-blackened lashes, those girls who insinuated with the sweet high-pitched quaver of their voices that whomever they were talking to was so manly and important. Those girls whose chastely-covered breasts pointed pertly to the object of their attention like soldiers on standby. Those girls with the perfect hair and the inane, adoring smiles. Just thinking about trying to do that to get a guy’s approval made me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.

I mean, I get why guys would like it. It’s nice to be flattered subtly and even not-so-subtly. It’s just that, personally, I’d rather bang my face into a brick wall than flatter anyone. Unless they deserve it. But then it’s not flattery, is it? It’s just a fact.

What I’m actually good at is anti-flirting. It’s like flirting, but the total opposite. You want to get a guy’s attention so you can let him know you’re not going to fall for whatever he’s pitching. Note that you should not do this unless it’s really called for. There’s no sense being a jerk about it.

So I recently signed up for a free online dating account, because, well, why not? Online dating sites, however, particularly free ones, seem to be a minefield of sad-sacks, morons and liars all looking for some easy action, with the occasional serious prospect thrown in. Actually, I’m not sure about the serious prospect part; I have yet to personally find one of those. However, I did receive this rather astonishing message the other day:

“I was hoping if we hit it off in our messages I could invite you over for a nice seafood dinner. I would catch lobsters myself, with my bare hands, from the nearest waters that inhabit them, which is the tank at the Red Lobster down the street. I would cook them for you in my kitchen…naked if you desire. Then we would indulge in the lobsters, along with any side dishes you would like, and a few glasses of wine from my cellar. Over dinner we could chit chat a bit, you could discover that I am more than just a guy with the physique of a greek god, and I could discover that you are a smart, sweet heavenly blessed beauty just putting on a calloused façade. If you enjoyed my company then perhaps we could do it again if not then you leave with a stomach full of good food when otherwise on a night like that you would throw one of your Lean Cuisines in the microwave and watch Blow.”

I wondered if the writer was attempting to channel Smoove B, and how much of a rip-off this communication was. I checked out his profile, which had about the same tone as this message and was actually quite amusing. Oddly or not, his photos did reveal the body of a Greek god, albeit one who possibly used Elmer’s glue instead of hair gel. His unkempt locks were ferociously pointy. So I wrote him back: “I am intrigued… more by the lobster than by the photos, since I’m wary of any guy who would pose headless, no matter how rocking his abs are. Your profile made me laugh. So is any of it serious, or is it all cobbled together for the personal amusement of some balding fat man?”

After sending this, I put his message into Google and found out that it was floating around the internet in various forms, and was notably found on a body building-related forum for picking up women online. Dang, I thought, I love a man who can use his web browser so effectively that he doesn’t need to do anything but copy and paste.

Soon after, I got another (mostly) stolen message from this dude: “I come up with the most random stuff, comes in handy when writing papers lol. Basically, the more we talk the higher your standards will be raised, and I don’t know if that’s healthy. I have a bad effect, if you get to know me more everybody else will seem bland and boring, and you’ll get ‘the hunger’ that won’t be filled unless you get your fix of me. You have had your opportunity to turn around now without taking the red pill and finding out things you might wish you could’ve been left without. Ignorance can be bliss, and I’m the wake up call, you sure you can handle that?”

This was getting old. Time to shut this yoked-out playa down. “See,” I replied, “the problem is, I know a lot about writing papers. I wrote them, I graded them, and now I edit them for publication. So I’m pretty good at using Google and finding manwhore.org pick-up forums that, however amusing, sort of kill the illusion of creativity. In the biz, we call it plagiarism. I compliment you on your six-pack, though, unless that, too, is plagiarized.”

For the record: if any other women are directed to this page after Googling the above messages, feel free to plagiarize that line about plagiarization. Go, and anti-flirt with my profound blessing.

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