Social networking always starts off with the best of intentions. The aim to encourage people to share information and stories and feel 'part of something' is all well and good, but when you throw a load of gay men into the mix, it isn't very long before the talk turns from poaching eggs and what's on TV to exchanging those infamous 'headless torso shots in the mirror'. While some of us are intent on telling everyone about how nice our morning porridge was, the other half of Twitter has their pants round their ankles and something in their hand that you could probably stir your oats with, should you wish to.
Whether bored, idly horny or the sort of person who could do with a bromide enema or two daily, the Twitter flirter will think nothing of plunging even the most innocent of conversations into a seemingly bottomless pit of clumsy innuendo, and it doesn't matter who's on hand to see. In fact, the bigger the audience, the more inappropriate the flirting will be.
Twitter seduction starts off gently, typically instigated by a (usually younger) guy seeking a little bit of assurance - although there's always a slew of dim-witted predators just waiting to be led a marry dance. Here goes:
young_gay11: "#bored feelin lonely 2nite. wish i had a special some1 lol #toofat&ugly :-("
This is a near-perfect feed line from our young scamp. He's almost guaranteed to attract the attention of a sharp-toothed guy looking for someone to groom, his virtual wooden-backed brushes all good to go. And, sure enough, here he comes, our hero armed with a bag full of compliments:
complimenter69: "awww you're not fat OR ugly. you're cute! if i was there i'd give u a cuddle 2 make u feel better #hugs"
The use of 'cuddle' is important. Cuddles are affectionate, yes, but nonthreatening. One cuddles babies, or teddy bears. Of course, in the privacy of their own room, two grown ups cuddling usually leads to underwear being discarded pretty quickly, but our two heroes are not in the same room; they're a world apart and will probably never meet, which is the ideal breeding condition for a spot of light Twitter flirting. Let's re-join our fascinating subjects, remembering that their tête-à-tête is happening in public. These aren't texts or emails or even scribblings on a toilet wall; this is happening for all to see. We may as well be at a bus stop.
young_gay11: "dunno bout cute but thx. wld luv a cuddle right now tho"
complimenter69: "well here you go then *gives big bear hug*"
young_gay11: "mmm thx that's better *snuggles* ooh yr arms are so manly"
complimenter69: "*feels a stirring* Oops sorry about that, I must be getting a bit excited"
young_gay11: "ooh naughty! that's ok tho. feels nice"
complimenter69: "feels even better out in the open. hey! careful you don't rub it"
young_gay11: "you mean like this? *gently strokes it thru trousers*"
complimenter69: "mmm now you're being naughty. might just have to unzip for comfort"
young_gay11: "let me do that for you... with my teeth"
You get the picture. Fast forward a few more tweets and young_gay11 is virtually typing with his mouth full, while his complimenter deftly wipes down his splattered screen. What would their mothers say?
There's nothing wrong with flirting, really. But to fully appreciate it, you have to be directly involved in it, either the subject or the flirter. There's nothing worse than working in an office and watch two flirters circle each other, their genitals pulsating at every innuendo or meaningful look. It's the same principle on Twitter: most people don't want to see you get fellated via social media. The phrase "get a room" is overused and tasteless, but could be perfectly employed here. And it's not as if the star-crossed tweeting lovers don't have a room to go to; what's wrong with direct messaging? But to take things into a private zone would miss the point. They want people to see - to join in, even. It's the great exhibition that no social media should be without.
So do carry on, it's fine; I'll be over here throwing up. Well, just as soon as I've put my latest poached egg triumph on Instagram, of course.
What to do if Twitter flirting happens to you:
- Start talking politics
- Mention your 'boyfriend' over and over again - even if you don't have one (WARNING: this may not be much of a deterrent to the most determined of Twitter flirters)
- Go and look up 'awkward' in the Oxford English Dictionary, stick a picture of yourself over the definition, take a snap of it and tweet it to all your followers
- Casually drop into conversation how you've been thinking a lot about God lately, and that your egg this morning looked like Jesus
- Wet your nipples with a damp finger and join in - you're already tweeting about your breakfast; how much more self-respect can you lose?