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William Ifeanyi Moore: Innocent Flirtation – Oxymoron or Casual Gesture?



Just out of interest, I would like to get the general consensus on the term “innocent flirtation”. If you haven’t got your dictionary on hand or memorized, perhaps this is a good time to remind you that by definition a flirt is someone who playfully suggests sexual interest. This is not to be mistaken with good manners or simple appreciation.

Now that we got the definition out the way, I ask again, is there any such thing as innocent flirtation? In my opinion, this term is what philosophers call fallacious, and writers refer to as oxymoronic. If you attended lesson instead of school, or slept through most of your classes out of boredom, I am just saying the two don’t go together.

Flirtation is never innocent. It is either to express an underlying intent of sexual attraction or to get attention which is just sad if you ask me, but lately this idea of innocent flirtation has become a thing, and dear I say it, for me it is mostly from girls in relationships. Of course I am aware that guys in relationships flirt even more than girls, but at least with guys you don’t have to guess at our intentions. If we are flirting, it’s a green light.

Females on the other hand, and please correct me if I am wrong, can actually flirt simply to get attention and provide themselves with entertainment. Granted, there are guys that cater to this narcissistic tendency by flirting back and generally engaging in supposedly harmless conversation, even though we know well someone’s boyfriend or husband would near enough stab you if he ever read half the stuff you were sending his lady. To these guys I say more grease to your elbow, but for guys like me that simply don’t understand why I will play entertainer only for the boo to come and collect award in bed, ladies please don’t start what you can’t finish. To start with I thought there was an unwritten rule for people to declare their relationship status before venturing into a situation with someone that might want more than friendship (and when I say more than friendship in this case, I am including other relationships like casual partners). But apparently it is now accepted practice to withhold this information until a guy is near enough trying to unhook the bra?

So at the end you have guys trying to get with ladies that have consciously flirted with them with no intention to follow through stuck in this zone between the friend-zone and fu*k-buddy zone. Then the guy is like ‘well, if we aren’t fu*king please leave me alone’, and the girl is like ‘so that is all you want? I have standards.’ The concept of leading on is often assumed to be a male thing because we do things to give the impression that we might want to date, but women also do this with sex even through it doesn’t get nearly as much press.

And I have to say, I get it. Sometimes life can be boring. For people in relationships, it is possible for things to run stale and get a bit dry after a while. For men, most of the times we just go outside and take it all the way. For ladies, sometimes they only engage in enough flirtation to still maintain a sense of innocence from cheating, though the event that inspired this article was a story of a friend who was seeing a girl that asked him if he could only give her head because she didn’t want to cheat on her boyfriend with sex…WTF. Firstly, very selfish, let’s just get that out there. But the notion that all this time she had been flirting with no intention of sex caused me to run through my own experiences where I found I had been in this same situation a few times.

So ladies, please, let me know. Is flirtation now a casual thing that should never be mistaken for intent? Do I literally have to start asking question like ‘I hope this one you are asking me to come over and scrub your back in the shower means I can bring a condom along?’ Or is it still a clear sign of interest that just suggests I only need to work harder on my game and the promise land could be mine?

I leave this to the capable hands of the Bellerians (is this what BellaNaija readers are called?) So again, is innocent flirtation just another casual thing I need to get used to, or is it just an oxymoron used to garner attention when there is no intent of going all the way? Guys…and ladies, if you have any experience of an all flirt and no action situation, please feel free to share with the house.

P.S Whenever you hear a girl telling one of those ‘he got mad because I didn’t give him the cookie’ stories…Please ask her, but why would he have even assumed he could reach for the cookie jar if you didn’t at least put it where his eyes could see? Not saying some guys don’t just overstep their boundaries, but you would be shocked how often this is because the amber light of flirtation has been flashed by the lady.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)

William Ifeanyi Moore is an MPharm graduate from the University of Portsmouth, UK. His true passion is in novels and poetry but he cheats on them with movies, plays, and music. He believes sacrifice and compromise is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. His debut novel Lonely Roads is out on 10/12/2015. Blog: Twitter: @willifmoore Instagram: willifmoore


  1. kemi

    November 3, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    William, William, William …….tsk tsk!
    Whatever shall I say to you now??

  2. Iamnephiza

    November 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Lmsao. Flirtation should not be casual at all as you are sending a message, a very strong one. By the way let me share my story real quick before my clinical starts, so I have this very very fine class mate of mine, when i first knew him I did not believe in any way that he was married as in…. First because he never wore a wedding band, 2. he looked so young/he is under 30yrs. Because he is Nigerian(I reside in the US) and because we had some classes together we started talking,anyway it turns out Bobo has a crush on me and he actually told me once that if he wasn’t married he would have married me (if its possible I will marry me too 😉 first time he said it I was like hennnnnn? Anyway there are some things that bros does that makes me pause. He calls me bae in a very sexy voice, pecked me once and if we haven’t seen in a while calls me to show face. Anyway when I see him I usually ask after is wife and tell him “ebami ki aunty o” so that he knows that “aint anybody got time for that” lol. Actually I use “E” not “O” to address him.
    By the way he winks too lmsao. the first time I had to ask my sister “what does it mean when someone winks at you?” I mean I know what it means, I just wanted to confirm.

    On a more serious note, we usually have a good laugh together and I hope boda is just “flirting innocently/casually” if there is anything like that.

    • pipi

      November 4, 2015 at 10:35 am

      aunty emabeno, abeg stay clear from this uncle

    • brown-ice

      November 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      Are you IBO tho? “emabeno”? Sounds like what an IBO boy in Alaba market would say to his Yoruba customer looool. Please guys don’t bite me

  3. cindy

    November 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    justification for rapists #okbye

    • no.

      November 4, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      My exact thought and I hadn’t even finished reading it.

    • Iamnephiza

      November 4, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      That is a very insensitive thing to say. 1. Never justify rape. 2. This is US. If he should try it, he just ruined his career with the line of profession we are in. (He knows better) 3. We only see in school (I know better)

  4. Tosin

    November 3, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    flirting is the best.
    ok, let me go and read.

  5. Tosin

    November 4, 2015 at 12:05 am

    1. this one was funny! still laughing.
    2. you did conflate “flirting” with “leading on” abi cock-teasing; anyhow, for either one, I’ve heard Yoruba girls are the best 😛

    • Omo yen

      November 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Waa gbayii!! I was thinking this the whole time I was reading the article. To flirt is one thing, to lead on is another. I sometimes flirt and then almost immediately put up my titanium walls, if it was just a ‘flirt’ . If not, I proceed to turn on the green light, and lead you safely to me.
      Flirting is a form of entertainment for me. I like to see a guy choke on his drink or start to sweat or feel uncomfortable because of something I said… LOL!!! such joy!!

  6. guilty as charged

    November 4, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Well, am guilty of this “innocent flirtation” thing. Although I don’t allow mind to get to bra removing point before I stop the whole act. You see I was out of relationship for about 3 yrs and life was kinda boring, so I started this act to keep mtself entertained. Infact it was lovely cos these guys(more than one of course) will call me and give me all that attention. I kept on with this act to a point that I was comfortable keeping those guys around for that selfish reason rather than date them or invest emotionally in them..
    Well, some guys were pissed and left, some didn’t mind, and when some were taking things too far, I will go all righteous , pissed and friendzone them. This went on for 2yrs until my present boyfriend came into the picture.
    I was ready to go that lane with him too, but this guy won’t agree to be friendzoned and be flirted with if I am not his girl. He just kept coming all serious (he meant business). He was, either I have you or forget it.
    Well, I lost this time and agreed to date him and we’ve been together over 3 yrs now and he is the best boo.
    Sometimes, i wonder that assuming he wasn’t persistent and straight up with me, dts how I would have lost a good guy through those silly acts.

  7. Theurbanegirl

    November 4, 2015 at 7:32 am

    SPOT ON!

  8. Vernita

    November 4, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Lmaooo, William my liver, u freaking did it again. Well, I.know for sure ‘innocent flirting’ is out there cuz I’m sometimes guilty of the crime myself. But just as I said, it’s a crime, a cheat code, a ‘wachumacallit’ and it isn’t fair to ur partner or the very fine piece of Human specimen ur indulging. It’s alittle comforting to feel something outside a relationship that has been slow secsually (yes I put cs instead of x) if only we could condition our partners to love/care a little less and bring out that raw primitive side of us that has been suppressed by caring or sharing or all that mushy sweet stuff especially when it’s bout to get down. Like I get it it’s important in a relationship but it gets boring when there’s no ‘action’ if u get me. Oh well. Again, nice one my love….I’m not flirting oo lmao #winkwink hahaha

  9. Ga

    November 4, 2015 at 8:09 am

    No smoke without fire.
    Flirtation is like testing waters.
    But I knw guys that do it fot fun and ladies that do it to gt something sometines not the D.

  10. Vernita

    November 4, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Okay my previous comment couldn’t come through for us, sad and it was good stuff yknow. Anyways willbaby (I just made that up) innocent flirtation is indeed out there and we’re all guilty of or victims to this crime one way or another in different levels of it. The root of it is in the accused person’s relationship. It’s either going good (good being normal) but a little boring in bed or not good meaning like for real not good. Advice for that last part, communicate or high tail ur booty outta them shackles. For the fist part mmmm well happens when ur partner is comfortable. Lets use me as an example, he knows ur hot, he knows he has u (mutual) but then he be doing the same ol shii like niqqa I’m not forcing u to do anything but ur making me frustrated and I know I’m not ‘posed to frustrated and this can be expressed in innocent flirting with some poor unexpecting victim who Flys into my Web amongst other than ways. That kinda thing. An innocent flirter is a frustrated person. I believe people should just get used to it cuz it’s always gonna be around and not going away any time soon. This was nice.

  11. Dark and Lovely

    November 4, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Most guys flirt even if you make it clear to them you have a boyfriend, it’s like second nature. I’ve been in a situation like that where this guy kept leading me on and I reciprocated.. Not with the intention of taking it to any level. He was in a different state and I agreed to meet after a year, the communication was constant. After meeting up with him, I lost interest and told him I didn’t want anything.. If you see the curse this guy gave me ehn.. According to him, he’s already in love with me but I felt it was because he didn’t get the cookie lol

  12. Meek Mill

    November 4, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Flirting is flirting, period. No ifs or buts here. But then as a guy it is left to you to ‘decode’ what ladies mean when they flirt with you. To answer the ‘rub your back’ question, Man, i’m sure if she did say u should come over common sense dictates you go prepared. I am praying to God you didn’t ask her if u can bring condoms too cos that will just ruin the flow.

    Had a girl once i was flirting with in school and she called me out of the blue at night and said her computer was giving her issues. I said sure no problem imma come over but you do realize i have not a clue about computers. And then she said, just come with your ‘hard drive’. It clicked…….. Best night of my life.

    Assuming i wasn’t on the same page as her, would have ruined it for myself for good. So fellas especially, you need to sharp up when dealing with ladies cos damn they can string you on and on and on

  13. Ada

    November 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    The one wey pain me na your closing paragraph….

    “Whenever you hear a girl telling one of those ‘he got mad because I didn’t give him the cookie’ stories…Please ask her, but why would he have even assumed he could reach for the cookie jar if you didn’t at least put it where his eyes could see?”

    What are you trying to say here? That all the guys who think they should get the cookie automatically, believe this because the girl flirted with them? Not only do I beg to differ, I don’t hesitate to label you a chauvinistic pig for that ignorant remark. You are not a babe, you cannot tell what babes are going through at the hands of cookie monsters who want to gobble every cookie in sight and feel every cookie is there’s for the taking. For the record, I have been rude to a guy who wanted to go out with me (my brother told me he was a bad guy say make I ignore am) and after being rude, I thought I should just tone it down a bit sake of say na human being he follow be and I agreed to go to see movie with him, then I specified even before the movie that I had a boyfriend o, na im bros begin shout say I bin dey lead am on! What rubbish? You bother me for weeks, I take pity on you but inform you that nothing will work, you start to scream lead on.

    In case you don’t know William, men can be outright obnoxious and women cannot take the blame for it all the time!

  14. shy girl

    November 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    funny but i dont even know how to flirt or give a guy green light. i often notice cute guys staring at me and trying to get my attention but i just freeze. i get so nervous especially around guys i like and end up giving them the impression that i dont like them at all. guys who eventually get the courage to approach often say they were initially terrified by me. how do i change this? ladies who flirt pls how do you do it?

  15. shy girl

    November 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    funny but i dont even know how to flirt or give a guy green light. i often notice cute guys staring at me and trying to get my attention but i just freeze. i get so nervous especially around guys i like and end up giving them the impression that i dont like them at all. guys who eventually get the courage to approach often say they were initially terrified by me. how do i change this? ladies who flirt pls how do you do it

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