The Art of Muslim Flirting

How does one find the perfect spouse? Of course here in the Muslim world, most people aren’t looking for a casual boyfriend/girlfriend or a longer term partner. Most of us wake up when we reach somewhere around the age of 20 and just want to get married. To someone. And thus starts the prowl for the suitable spouse.

I won’t get into the pros and cons of this way of thinking. I won’t address the various cultural approaches, whether semi-dating, meeting people in the family circle, or arranged marriages. Forget all that. Most people I know in my circle of friends just want to figure out how they personally can find someone they’d like to spend the rest of their lives with.

I’ve been telling my friends – guys and gals – that they all need to learn the art of flirting. They truly suck at it. For the most part, the girls I know won’t flirt at all because they feel it’s inappropriate. And when girls I know do flirt it’s very cheeky and superficial. It gives off the wrong message completely. The guys I know think flirting means batting their eyelashes at girls (yes…BATTING THEIR EYELASHES), looking at them inappropriately (they don’t realize it’s inappropriate but it is), and acting all manly and controlling with them. It’s a complete turn-off.

So as I’ve promised for quite some time, behold my blog post on the art of flirting in the Muslim world. I’ll only know if this post applies to other parts of the world once I finish writing it. I’m not sure yet what jewels will come out of my typing fingers!

  1. Find someone worth your flirting. I know so many guys and girls who will flirt with almost anyone of the opposite sex. Stop it. You make yourself look cheap and superficial by doing that. Trust me. Flirting shouldn’t be an everyday thing. Save it for someone really worth it. If I see you flirting with every girl in the office and then you come and flirt with me as well, I’m not going to give you the time of day. If you’re not generally a flirt, but then you come and flirt with me, I’m going to notice you.
  2. Flirting does not mean winking, puckering up your lips, or beating on your chest. Stop thinking of flirting as a semi-sexual act or talking dirty. It’s none of that. The best flirt in the world is when it doesn’t seem like a flirt at all. Let’s say you’re at some sort of an event organized by your company and you spot a guy on the other side of the room who you know to be really ambitious and who you’ve been silently attracted to for awhile. Catch the guy’s eye (no smoldering looks, PLEASE), just walk towards him with a smile on your face, and start up a conversation with him. Tell him that you’ve been really interested in the work he’s doing on project x and you’d like to learn more about it. Listen to him attentively. Show genuine interest. Be relaxed as you do this. A tense woman is a turn-off. Laugh when he says something funny. Be funny yourself, but not throughout the whole conversation. Most importantly, just be yourself. That’s your most attractive asset.
  3. Once you’ve found someone worth your time, take some initiative. There is absolutely nothing wrong, in this writer’s opinion, in inviting a guy for coffee somewhere to learn more about them. Don’t set it up as a date. If you’re truly interested in that person, tell them you’d like to learn more about their project. Find a hook. But don’t be creepy! I know so many guys that could, after one brief conversation with a girl, decide that she was the girl of his dreams and that he was going to marry her. Stop it. It shows. And it’s damned creepy! Learn how to take time to learn more about people. Don’t fall in love every single time you talk to a person of the opposite sex. Yuck! Simply find normal ways to get more of a chance to learn more about someone you’re starting to feel attracted to. This reminds me of a young man I met at an event I was in who started telling me his life story. He was doing this because I was a mother figure to him. He told me he really wanted to get married but he wasn’t sure if he should focus first on marrying or on finishing his degree. After a break, he came back to me and told me he had found the girl of his dreams. He looked in her eyes and just knew it. She was some complete stranger to him attending the same event. Rather than just find a way to strike up a normal conversation with her, he started asking her personal questions and within a matter of seconds was asking her if she was engaged or not because he’d like to speak with her father. This stuff really happens over here, people. Ewww ewww ewwww ewwww. I could tell you tons of stories similar to this one that happened to me when I was young and of a marriageable age. Ewwwwww! So although I’m telling you here to take initiative, I’m not asking you to go and get the girl’s father’s phone number! Find a normal way to have more of a chance to speak with the girl after this particular event is over. And girls, it’s absolutely all right to do the same. Show interest, but please do not go all needy and lovey dovey on this guy. Not yet.
  4. Develop a bond. Find ways to do stuff with the person you’re attracted to. Do this only if you get a sense that there is a mutual attraction. Again, we need to calm down all the emotions that so easily start flying around when two members of the opposite sex meet in this part of the world. Stop it! Develop a friendship. Invite each other out on excursions with your friends. Go out to dinner with a couple of friends after work. Dress well when you know you’ll meet your special guy. But don’t make it look like you went to too much of an effort. Not yet. Smile when you speak. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Listen. Talk a bit about yourself and the things you’re doing. But don’t just let everything out. Give things time. Be mature. Grow up in the way you think about relationships.
  5. NOW start doing the flirty flirt. Once you are certain there is a mutual attraction, once you feel you know enough about this person that you’d like to take it to the next level, there’s nothing wrong with being a bit cheeky every now and then. Allow him to say things that make you blush. Nothing dirty, mind you! But let him find a way to express his interest. And be receptive to that interest, but only if you are comfortable doing so. If you do not feel receptive to his interest, you shouldn’t be reading point number five to begin with. You’re with the wrong guy. Of course, if he’s laying it on too heavy at this stage, get out of there. Again, these creepy guys that don’t know how to control their emotions are not the kind of guy you want to spend the rest of your life with. As for the girls, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard guys tell me that a certain girl was too superficial and flirty. The guys will spend their spare time with you. Your excessive flirtiness boosts their egos. But they aren’t considering you for anything long term.  Learn how to flirt maturely.
  6. You’ve found someone worth your time, you’ve gotten to know them better, you’ve developed a bond, and you’ve started being flirty. Do something about it! This is when you can start being bold. At this stage you should be emailing, texting, Facebooking, and speaking on the phone. You’re starting to feel something really special developing. Keep it special. Be respectful of each other. Be respectful of your parents if you’re still young and don’t do anything that would upset them. Be respectful of your religious and cultural backgrounds. Use this stage to learn even more about the other person.

What happens after these stages varies depending on a wide range of circumstances. Age, culture, and religion play a huge role in the next steps. Personal comforts do as well.

It’s important for me to note that this post is written with adults in mind. It is not written for teenaged children or young college-aged kids. This post is for a legally responsible adult who has started his/her life, who works, and who is out there in the world and knows how to conduct himself maturely.

Members of the opposite sex are everywhere. Quite literally. Don’t tell me you can’t find anyone worth your time. If you tell me that, I’ll think you aren’t really looking. Don’t spend your time waiting for someone to find you. Get off your butt and start looking for him yourself. There are so many places to look. Look in your circle of friends. Look in your work circle. If you don’t find the right kind of person in either place, get involved in activities that you enjoy. That’s where you are most likely to find people who have similar interests to you. Of course, you know I’ll tell you to travel if you can manage it. Don’t limit your search to the members of the opposite sex in your neighborhood, city, or country. There’s a whole world out there.

Looking for that special someone does not mean you’re on the prowl for her either. It simply means being receptive; keeping your eyes open. If you’re literally looking for your future spouse, your actions will betray you and you will, again, appear to be quite creepy. Stop it!

Get out there. Be bold. Be flirty. But be mature!

 

Post-script: After re-reading what I just wrote, I felt that I’ve held back a bit. I’m trying to be too culturally appropriate. I’m avoiding the Muslim fundamentalist backlash that I’m sure to get if I write all my jewels of advice on this issue.

So if you’re a Muslim fundamentalist, stop reading here. This last part is not for you.

There are times when it’s absolutely worth throwing out a flirty flirt to a complete stranger. Those times aren’t many. They don’t come by every day. But they are out there. There are times when you’ll walk onto the metro or into the supermarket and you’ll see a drop-dead gorgeous guy who doesn’t have a wedding ring on his finger and you just want to run your fingers through his hair. Don’t miss the moment. Sit next to him on the train or stand in front of him even and then pretend to fall into his arms. Ok. Maybe you shouldn’t do that. Or maybe you should? But find a way to stir up a cheeky, flirty conversation with him without appearing needy. Compliment the tight t-shirt he has on. Ask him if he’d be willing to arm wrestle with you to see who is stronger, having noticed his huge biceps. Ask him what shampoo and conditioner he uses on that gorgeous hair. Anything! Just don’t lose the moment. Even if you will never see this man again, do it. It’s worth learning to loosen up a little bit. Just that little bit. You won’t regret it later when you find your special man. Trust me on this one.

 

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22 comments

  1. ok , Nadia, that was really helpful. But, how do u know u caught him?
    after doing bit this and bit of that and he seems to be responding then u wait for a while so not to appear needy and all that. You just wait for an imitation in return and here comes the disappointment .none!!
    They u start to initiate yourself again and he seems to be responding and you wait for a returning the conversation back one day and again ‘disappointment’.

    Yet it is still confusing.. is this rejection?, is this being conservative? ,if not , then why the hell they respond at that time then? Why they just push you away so you get a clear msg?

    1. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be that complicated. Good relationships are good relationships. They evolve naturally and mutually. If that evolution isn’t happening, if there isn’t give and take on both sides, just get out of it. Sometimes guys respond to a girl because they don’t have anything better to do with their time. Or as I wrote, because it satisfies their ego. Make sure this is not the case. If the guy isn’t showing any initiative at all, forget him. He’s a waste of your time.

    2. I’d say if they didn’t respond you shouldn’t complete and those who gives confusing signs i love to surprise them with some bold actions, like if i weren’t in the same time or if you weren’t like this we have made a cute couple. Or what’s wrong with you? do you like me or something :D It worked with my fiancee :D i got him out of his cave that way, although i felt like i screwed up after doing it but eventually it deserves

  2. My favorite part is the last paragraph. In a funny way it’s my only option because I’ve been home for the past 2 years and hence have no society of males that I can choose from. Only problem is that drop dead gorgeous guys usually know they are and they turn all snobbish. Hmmmm…. gotta figure out a way somehow.

    1. Not all drop dead gorgeous guys are snobbish. I’ve noticed that they appreciate a good flirt, just as we all do. Flirting is an acquired skill for most people. And you’ll only learn how to do it by practicing. Practice on the drop-dead gorgeous guys who you’ll never see again. It’s so much more fun than doing it to the less attractive ones you’ll probably see over and over and over. ;-)

  3. I’m getting some questions off-blog about signals. How do you know if someone is actually interested in you?

    For many people, it doesn’t take much to pick up that sort of a signal. A small amount of social intelligence will allow you to figure out if that guy is as interested in you as you are in him.

    Let’s assume though that it isn’t that straightforward for you either because you don’t naturally pick up that sort of signal or because you are receiving confusing signals.

    It’s very important for you to send off a subtle signal of interest if you’re attracted to someone and want that attraction to go somewhere. The signal might be that he’s more talkative with you than he is with other people. Or that he’s noticed something personal about you: your new haircut, or your new shoes, or your new headscarf. Or she might have sent you an email after you had a friends’ night out flirtingly joking about something you did. The first signal is never absolutely obvious. But it will always be enough for you to question that it may be a signal.

    Once a signal is sent, you must be receptive to it – of course if you are attracted to the person to begin with. If you do not receive the signal and reciprocate, the other person will assume you are not interested. If you do send a subtle signal, the other person will pick things up just a little bit more.

    Learn how to pick up signals and be bold enough to be receptive to them and to reciprocate. Learn how to send them as well. You won’t get anywhere with someone you like if all you do is look at your computer screen all day long.

  4. I guess you meant to mention Muslims criteria in choosing the suitable person within the bonding section. However, the suitable spouse or partner should be the one who understands the spirit of religion and its principals, be of equivalent background regarding , education , culture, vision, and ambition.i.e. have points where they could meet with each other and carry on life as one person , not as two. then comes the moral part which is also important , conscious part is important as well, and the last part is your feeling cause you need to feel piece and love whenever you saw the chosen partner.
    God Knows the Best.

  5. The last part has completely freshened me up; nothing’s wrong with a casual flirt with a random hottie every once in a while, even if it only happened once, hope I wouldn’t be sending any mixed signals though :D The whole idea of the article is nicely put *thumbs up*

  6. What if you found him but he doesnt talk to girls… Tried to found any work related issue but couldnt find since he works in another department … Tried giving him a flyer of sth he is interested in but he never came back to ask about it or even check it on FB :( …. It’s been one year and half until now :(
    I’ve done anything anyone would do in my situation :(

  7. Always a pleasure to read your blog posts. I just don’t know where do you find the time to read and write that much?! The part were you emphasize on the presence of people pf the opposite sex everywhere, I don’t think that’s quite true and that is for two main reasons, most guys and girls in Egypt lack main communication skills and a lot of people has no time to scratch their noses most of the time (me included) … The last part I think is a bit sassy even for a non-fundamentalist because we live in a society with very little open minds, a society that has zero tolerance for showing feelings in public. I think a girl will in most cases be misunderstood for being cheap or taken lightly if she takes initiative like that.

    1. Oh, Omar. If this is how you feel about a little innocent flirting, then I can promise you that no girl will “cheapen” herself and flirt with you. But it’s your loss. :-)

      If you don’t have time to meet people, you need to create it. There needs to be more in one’s life than work. There’s always time for more. Always. You need me to write another separate post on creating a work-life balance. Wait a minute. I think I actually wrote one awhile back. Yep! http://nadiaelawady.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/achieving-the-ever-effervescent-work-life-balance/. I have no idea what I wrote in that post. Tell me if it’s not helpful and I’ll write something new. ;-)

      1. I never said that this is what I thought. I only said that it’s the society we’re living in that is too cruel and aggressive towards such feats and that it’s carved into most people’s minds which make most flirting experiences fail miseravly. Actually for me I consider classy flirting to be very lovable and refreshing.
        I will read the other blog post in my next break and tell u what I think, that is if there was another break to begin with :)

  8. “Rather than just find a way to strike up a normal conversation with her, he started asking her personal questions and within a matter of seconds was asking her if she was engaged or not because he’d like to speak with her father. This stuff really happens over here, people. Ewww ewww ewwww ewwww”

    Looooooooooool, I fell off my chair while reading your post, very entertaining yet very useful indeed, in a matter of fact that’s how and why I ended up all the marriage proposals arranged by my family, you don’t just wake up one day and sniff the air and decide it’s time to get married then jump out in the street and go pick up a “bride”.
    I ask every single married friend of mine: why did you choose him or her? And in 90% the answer is “because there is nothing wrong about him/her, he/she fits.” and coincidently it happens that all of them are not happy, even fish are more active and talkative than they are.

    Unfortunately this is how it is now in Egypt but I somehow hope that as many numbers as possible from men and women would read your post and LEARN.

  9. Man is contemporary, he doesn’t look at the years ahead and how detrimental these things can be on the whole of society. Who knows, that man may be married whom you are giving the look on the bus and he gets seduced, thinks about you, and ends up divorcing his current wife? And regarding bachelors, they’ll fall in love the wrong way. There is no beauty in a woman greater than modesty.

  10. Please don’t call this “Muslim Flirting”. Non-Muslims will get a wrong impression of how Islam wants us to find our spouse.

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