Tonight on the metro, a solid 8.5 girl all but started doing cartwheels down the aisle to get my attention. I know because the car was nearly empty, the only males being me, an ugly high school dork, and an equally ugly IT geek, so she wasn't looking at someone behind me. She was in a group of four, and they were all about 19-20 (probably college students or interns).
Younger girls' flirtation is not effortless -- that's the wrong word, and assumes that they're trying but just make it look easy. Rather, they are not in control of their thoughts at all. Their behavior lacks the self-conscious calculation that a woman in her mid-late 20s would show. Aside from eye-contact and smiling, she wasn't just pushing around her hair a bit, but tossing her tresses madly about as though she were on an LSD trip -- I've never seen a girl stroke, tousle, and throw her hair so nervously. She also kept involuntarily touching her chest with her hand when laughing or giggling, and not in that pretentious seductress way. (It was the end of the workday, and I saw her walk evenly into the metro, so she was not drunk.) Nor were there gestures of skankdom: no forced pouty lips, conspicuous leaning over to reveal her underwear above low-rise jeans, etc.
Older women, when flirting heavily, give off the air of seduction, every subtle move planned out to manipulate you to where she wants you to go. Younger girls don't have the experience and cynicism to plan out such a thing: their more showy displays are meant to signal that their minds have been possessed. In them burns the flame of uncontrollable irrationality.
Some evolutionary psychologists suggest that this is adaptive, in the sense that it shows she won't just dump your ass for someone else.* If only your superficial qualities attracted her, she would leave you for someone who scored a bit higher on these, and her thought process would be: "Hmmm, let's look around... ah, that's a nice one. I believe I'll choose him for tonight." But if her reaction is "Omigod, who's that guy?!" and she gets butterflies in the stomach, then you can rest assured that, whatever qualities she finds attractive, she's been struck by Cupid's arrow and won't eyeball others who happen to score as highly or more highly than you do.
A cynic would respond that I only value girls when they lose control of their minds and can't think straight, as opposed to those who are rational and cunning. But -- and the few female readers I have can correct me on this -- for both sexes, it just feels more dignifying for the person who's flirting with you to appear "head-over-heels" rather than manipulating you for their own ends. Note that I haven't given in to the dark side and joined the players' club or whatever it's called: not in my nature. I've got a couple months before I turn 27, and I have a youthful face,** so maybe I'll have another try at the "young and in love" thing before it's too late.
Well, not with this particular girl -- I didn't do anything to approach her, other than flirt back a little, as I'm heading off to another part of the country tomorrow for graduate school, about the 34856994762nd time I've had to move. Being thrown about so often tends to make you more susceptible to nostalgia, and the last time I remember a 19-20 year old babe trying to get my attention was in Barcelonan nightclubs. (And come to think of it, this girl was very Mediterranean-looking, though I'd guess she was also 1/4 Irish or something.)
I've been to a club here or there in DC, but they just reek compared to even the mediocre ones in Barna -- the people here are on average more self-serious, they go out more "to be seen" than to cut loose and have fun, and the music will rarely include anything really danceable.*** It's a damn shame that the dance craze died so quickly in the US after disco's sputtering out. In The Last Days of Disco, we hear Ryan Paris' "La Dolce Vita," even though this song came out too late to be played when disco existed. I read this use of poetic license as a reminder that, despite the small role it played in the US, dance music would continue to draw legions of Europeans to nightclubs. With that, let's remember some of the better Italo Disco songs:
"La Dolce Vita" by Ryan Paris
"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora
"Boys" by Sabrina Salerno (semi-not-safe due to nipple exposures)
OK, so the last performer is a total bimbo in the video. The music's still great for dancing. Her Wikipedia bio says she became more serious later on, so maybe she's the converse of Shakira and Mariah Carey: she is 19 in that video, so a fairly slutty start may have exhausted her early and made her do decent work in her late 20s and afterward. Vanity became a born-again, didn't she?
* Steven Pinker reviews some of this lit on romantic love in How the Mind Works.
** This got me carded for R-rated movies until I was 20, I'd guess.
*** And please don't tell me that Thievery Corporation, some of the more danceable of current club music, stacks up to Chic.