Friday, 08 July 2011
“You’re such a tease” is something I’m willing to bet many women have heard at least once in their lifetime. And while these words can be said in a light-hearted, fun-loving sort of way, more often they are spoken against the hard edge of frustration – as when a man is brought to a state of intense physical arousal, only to be denied release. Isn't it funny how the same words can communicate entirely different sentiments?
While women can have good, naughty fun with physical teasing, it's really not my place to write a post about it. Truthfully, physical teasing is not only unfair for our poor male counterparts, whose biology can be so damn unforgiving - it's also just too easy. Any woman can get a man a-fluster with a few physical tricks - but not all women can achieve a comparable effect by teasing a man intellectually.
This is where the real fun lies. Guys are used to feeling like the leaderand powerhouse in all aspects of a relationship, from the cold approach at the club all the way to the marriage proposal. So to be confronted with a woman who does more than nod and accept, who pushes back, who steers the conversation a little according to her thoughts and opinions is a) confounding, b) engaging and c) extremely attractive.
What do I mean by intellectual teasing? It’s hard to explain, both because it is so broad, and because it is something I do without even thinking. When I was younger I was always getting in trouble, and my father was always yelling at me about it and demanding explanations. So I became very accustomed to finding ways to poke holes in his arguments. Which means that now, when I am engaged in conversation with a man, my instinct is to poke holes in whatever he says. Gently, of course, and with a smile that communicates just how little I mean to offend him.
What it boils down to is this: Don't just blindly accept everything he says. Look for inconsistencies in his stories and opinions, and point them out. Try taking everything he says literally - it's amazing how much we let each other get away with because we "know what he meant." Don't just infer what he meant - make him say what he means. If you do this playfully, in a laughing-with rather than laughing-at kind of way, what you'll find is that he will start to look at you a bit more directly; becoming a little less aware of the world around him, as he subconsciously diverts all of his energies to keeping up with you. When faced with a challenge, the rest of the world sort of... fades away.
As an aside, a personal favorite of mine is this: If he is telling a funny story and does an awkward imitation or makes a funny noise, I will look at him with a sly smile and say - "wait - what was that again?" This translates to a small, almost imperceptible dare: Will you do it again? Some guys will laugh it off to avoid exposing themselves a second time. But the keepers will do it again without even thinking, because they know how to laugh at themselves. And while the second impression is never as authentic as the first, it has its own charm because he was willing to have something un-flattering teased out of him.
It's important to note that to a certain degree, teasing a man in this way entails a sort of selective listening; you are listening for something, which is a way to challenge him, which means you're not really hearing what he says in its pure form. For this reason, teasing is not something you should do all the time. It is fun and refreshing in small doses, especially in the beginning stages; but it can easily become exhausting when abused. Nobody likes to be on their toes all the time. You don't want the guy to feel attacked, and you don't want to constantly interrupt him with your little quips and counter-points, because it breaks up the momentum of a conversation.
So don't overdo it - pick your moments. Remember that everything hinges on tone. And if you sense that he is getting a bit defensive or turned off, drop all pretenses, touch his arm and say: "I'm just giving you a hard time." Then remind him to finish the story you interrupted five minutes ago, and this time really listen.