What’s the difference between a flirt and a tease? According to my handy-dandy dictionary:
Flirt: verb – behave as if one finds another person sexually attractive without intending to have a relationship with them.
Tease: verb – tempt someone sexually, without intending to have sex with them.
They may sound a lot alike, but you’ll find a real difference in the synonyms listed in the same dictionary:
Flirt: tease, coquette, heartbreaker, lead-on, toy with, play with.
Tease: make fun of, laugh at, deride, mock, ridicule, taunt, bait, goad, pick on.
When a man refers to a woman as “a tease,” you can bet that it’s not a positive thing – it’s a warning to everyone else.
I also see a real difference in the two based on the “physical” actions of a flirt and a tease. A flirt likes to play, but those involved knows it’s a game, and it is done in front of everyone, including each other’s spouses. There’s giggling and pointing and the game is fun for everyone involved.
Teasing on the other hand often leaves someone unsure if what’s going on is a game or not. There is often a fine line between the two, but I’m willing to bet that almost all of us know the difference when we see it.
Flirting can happen at the strangest times. The best ones happen quickly, are often “dirty” and are followed by a quick return to reality. What follows is a real exchange that occurred on a social networking site. The names and a few words were removed to protect an identity (they appear in brackets[ ] ) We were talking about a picture of me in a Brownie uniform when I was six years old.
Him: “I was 2 in [that year]. But, I was into… skirts… even at that age!
Me: “That’s okay. I liked younger boys – they’re easier to tie up…”
Him: You know, handcuffs will never rust if they are coated with baby oil… I’m just saying…”
Me: “Silk doesn’t cut up the skin as much… I’m just saying…”
Him: “… I could always count on a lot of fun… I’m just saying…”
Me: “You, [his name], are a lot of fun!”
Him: “I am the fun guy. I hope to be the fun master someday lady!! Hooah! Seriously, that’s an adorable picture… [xxx] is now a girl scout…” (referring to his daughter)
Me: “If you’re a good little boy I might give you permission to be in charge. Hooah! Seriously, thanks – it’s one of my favorite pictures.”
A good exchange and then just before it goes too far… the return to reality and a catch up on the family. This is fun stuff – no harm, no foul, and no one feeling like they were mistreated. My husband was three feet away and I was laughing aloud as this exchange happened. Everything is out in the open where anyone (including our spouses) can see it.
But you can’t play these games with some folks. They live to make you uncomfortable and push your buttons. Those folks like to make everything a joke, but you become the butt of that joke when you step back. They take pleasure in your discomfort. Those are the ones who ruin the game for everyone.
They are also the reason that I learned to shoot! Okay, that’s a lie – I learned to shoot because it was fun and it turned out I was good at it. Being capable of removing the teases from my life is simply a bonus.
I, along with all of my characters, am fine with a little flirting. But if you’re a tease, I’ll simply warn you in advance – Colt Model 1911A1.