Advice: How can you tell if someone is flirting with you?

Hi Anna,
I was wondering how can you tell when a woman is flirting with you. Whenever I’m talking to a woman in a bar, and I think things are going well and that we're clicking, she later tells me she’s married or has a boyfriend. What’s going on here?--Seeing Stop Signs

Identifying which girls have boyfriends is tricky, SSS, except for those with name tattoos on their faces or cleavage, but married women should be fairly easy to spot. Why do you think wedding bands were invented? Check out her hand the next time you're engaged in flirtatious banter with a budding barfly, and while you’re down there, spot check for any potential lesbians by casually measuring her index-to-ring-finger ratio. A longer ring finger indicates you’re about to get Birkenstock-blocked!*  

It’s possible, of course, that these married and taken women are flirting with you intentionally, for the thrill, the attention, out of boredom, or dissatisfaction with their current relationships. But I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about it. You may be out a half hour and a Malort cocktail or two, but it's not too big of a loss, when you consider the overall timesuck of our long and lonely existence.

As for flirting itself, Men's Health advises men to count the number of times a woman blinks in a minute. If it’s more than the average 15 times per minute, then she's probably on birth control. How does this information help you? I don’t know because the next sentence after that is: "Put on your toughest, most confident mug as you look at her. Because of the shift in hormone levels, research says, women on the Pill are more attracted to men with rugged features, such as strong, wide jaws." Got that? All you have to do is have an engaging conversation while timing and counting each blink and somehow magically widening your jaw. You could also carry around warmed banana-nut bread, which "has an aroma that, according to one study, increases bloodflow to the vagina." We bet you haven’t done any of these things! No wonder you’re alone.

Or, if you’re not insane, you could simply ask your next lady friend if she is seeing anybody relatively early on in the conversation. It’s okay to have intentions and to make them known. Flirting, unlike warmed banana-nut bread, is not an exact science. We misread each other’s signs all the time. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Keep trying to establish connections, and don’t get too caught up in the placement of her elbows or whether she’s breathing from her solar plexus. Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

*There is some science behind this, but we’re not seriously recommending you measure her digits.

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