Flirtatious behavior is evident throughout the early phases that Givens has delineated. Success in finding a potential partner off-line might be in some ways attributed to how skilled an individual is at flirting. Moore (1985) observed individuals in bars and identified 52 facial expressions and gestures that women display when they flirt. Although these actions might be subtle, they can be enough to indicate attraction. Moreover, it is important to note that one gesture in isolation is typically not enough to indicate attraction. Sometimes a smile is just a smile. While flirting is not necessarily a prelude to sexual interaction, researchers, such as Moore (1985; 1998), have found that women who display them are more likely to be approached by a man who shares the same sentiment.
In order for flirtation to work, it needs to be ambiguous. This is why it typically involves a number of carefully orchestrated body gestures rather than a frank statement, such as ‘I really fancy you’. As will be examined in more detail later on in this chapter, this poses an obvious problem online where the body is typically not physically present (note: Webcams, videos, and photos can make the body more present). Moreover, the ‘dance’ can be so subtle that it is not always conscious to the flirtee. First, however,
I move to develop a model that delineates the phases involved in online dating.