The Science of Flirting: The ‘Hot Ape’ Method
“Hey, I think she likes me. Oh my god, she just touched my hand. She definitely likes me. She’s laughing at my jokes…this is going really well. And those eyes. Oh, those eyes.” Whoa, that was an intense inner dialogue but one that happens all the time when a man or woman who is skilled in their flirting techniques spell bounds their target. Whether you meet a sexy single via online dating or bump into them at a party, how you flirt will determine whether or not your flame dies out or whether it grows into a hot, fiery relationship. But how do you do that?!
Flirting, believe it or not, can be whittled down to a science. A science that Jean Smith, a social anthropologist and self-proclaimed “Flirtologist”, has studied for decades. In her popular TED Talk, Jean Smith points out that the art of flirting is ever-changing and evolving as we rely more and more on dating sites and dating apps when looking for love. Most of us come to master the art of flirting in text and with emojis, but have no idea what to do when it comes to flirting in person. Never to fear, however, because through her observations, experiments, and conclusions, Jean Smith has laid out the science of flirting in an easy-to-follow acronym: H.O.T A.P.E.
What is H.O.T.A.P.E.?
Hot Ape encompasses 6 critical techniques to help you remember how to properly flirt in any social setting – and more importantly, how to recognize when someone else is flirting with you. No more missed opportunities. No more waiting and wondering. The “Hot Ape” method is here to help you take control of your inner Flirtologist and teach you how to find a boyfriend/girlfriend:
“H” is for Humour
When you make a joke, does your flirting test subject respond with laughter or with crickets? Is your sense of humour dry? Is their sense of humour cheesy? Do your individual senses of humours match up? Humour is a keen tool to figure out who is and who is not a good match for you. According to Jean Smith, if your sense of humour doesn’t match up then it’s just not going to work. And that’s okay! Let your sense of humour attract like-minded individuals. Your vibe attracts your tribe! Use humour as that vibe.
“O” is for Open Body Language
The three rules of open body language are as follows…
1. Don’t cross your arms over your body like you’re protecting yourself from the tickle monster. This protective body language signals to the other person that you’re literally closed off and not interested.
2. Always keep your shoulders facing the hottie with whom you’re flirting. This shows that you’re engaged, you’re present, and you’re totally attracted to them.
3. Watch the feet. Subconsciously, we’ll point our feet towards the person we’re attracted to. Most often, we don’t even realize we’re doing this. When the feet are pointed away from the other person, it might suggest that we’re planning to flee. This isn’t accurate all the time so if the other person’s feet aren’t pointing towards you, don’t give up. However, do be aware of your own feet and the message they’re sending.
You can use these 3 techniques to signal that you’re interested. You can also use these techniques to read someone else’s body language to see if they’re interested in you.
“T” is for Touch
There are 2 places to touch a person to let them know, “Hey, I’m into you!”
1. The Arm. Touch someone on the arm and they’ll certainly get the hint that you like them – but the exact location on their arm can send increasingly more powerful signals. The shoulder is a friendly flirt; mid-arm is a bit more intimate; and the hand…the hand is as intense as it gets.
2. The Back. Same rules apply on the back as they do the arm. The top of the back is friendly, but as you move lower towards the small of the back, that touch is much more intimate.
Touch is a powerful flirting weapon that can “get you out of the friend zone”.
“A” is for Attention
Participant observation. This is the key to objectively assessing whether or not the attention that your getting or giving is flirtatious or friendly. While you’re engaged in flirting with your test subject, momentarily take yourself out of the situation – like an out of body experience – and assess the signals. Does the other person blush when you touch them? Are their feet pointed towards you? Are they engaged in eye contact? Take a moment to measure the amount of attention being shared between the two of you.
“P” is for Proximity
When someone is interested in you, they want to be close to you. Duh! This is an easy one to see. Maybe they gravitate towards you once you enter the party. Maybe they sit next to you in class. Maybe they find a way to refill their drink when you’re refilling yours. If you find that the other person if often in close proximity to you…it’s not a coincidence!
Important to note: some people are shyer than others and don’t always have the courage to get close to the person they like. They might actually shy away. In this case, it’s your job to flip this experiment upside down and see what happens when you get close to them. Sit a little closer than usual. Do they scoot away? Lean in a little deeper. Do they lean back? Test it.
“E” is for Eye Contact
According to Jean Smith, the #1 way to tell whether or not someone is flirting with you is through eye contact. The intensity of the eye contact can help you decipher whether someone is just listening to you as a friend or actually flirting with you. The difference? When flirting, eye contact is held longer and eye contact is initiated more frequently. This is the kind of eye contact you feel with butterflies in your stomach.
Okay, did you get all that? Good. “Hot Ape”. It’s easy to remember and easy to execute. Now you’ll be prepared to flirt when it comes to online dating and in-person dating! Use all of your signals to physically, verbally, and sensually spell out “Hot Ape” and you’ve (theoretically) got this one in the bag. Now, what if the “Hot Ape” technique doesn’t work? Then you (and your flirting victim) have just saved yourself a lot of time by weeding out the matches who weren’t on your same wavelength. As Jean Smith says, “If the test subject doesn’t respond positively, then you can try someone else.”
Remember: flirting isn’t a tactic to make any man or woman fall in love with you or to trick them into a relationship. Rather, it’s a way to attract your match, your species, and your perfect playmates. It’s a tool to navigate the world of dating and make your intentions clear. Now it’s time to find singles near me, get out there and “Hot Ape” it up!