General Question

kevbo's avatar

Ladies: What does this "signal" mean, exactly?

Asked by kevbo (25603points) November 30th, 2008

Twice I’ve had this happen with women who are taken and who know that I know that they’re taken. It’s when I grab something (a doorknob in one case and a camera in the other) and the woman puts her hand on my hand a split second later as if she is “late” to grab the thing that I’m grabbing and accidentally on purpose puts her hand on my hand instead. Is this a come on? Is a reasonably reciprocating response to take her hand? Or something else? It’s weird being in that situation and not knowing exactly what to do.

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20 Answers

syz's avatar

Well, I’ve never done that with a man, but it sounds like flirting to me.

I think there’s a certain category of flirting that has no intention of leading to anything. Speaking entirely as a hypothetical (based on my former marriage), a long term relationship can sometimes become mundane and, er, lacking in excitement. If your husband forgets to tell you how attractive he finds you, if the daily grind has worn you down and you’re just too tired to flirt with each other, having your ego metaphorically stroked by someone else can be a boost to morale. You are unavailable, and he is unavailable, so nothing’s going to happen. It’s safe sexiness. At least in theory. Maybe some people get caught up in the fantasy, or get carried away, and find themselves in affairs when they never intended to. I don’t know. Is it completely innocent? I don’t know.

kevbo's avatar

Okay, that makes sense. And I should do what exactly?

I’m guessing flirt back but harmlessly, right? Take her hand, e.g., and twirl her or something. Eh?

chyna's avatar

Twirling is good…

basp's avatar

Your response should be indicative of your intentions.

I’ve never felt the need for flirting outside my marriage and, maybe i’m just old fashioned, but it would feel like an insult to our relationship if I felt that need.
At least, this is what works for us, but every couple is different.
(We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last week.)

laureth's avatar

Congrats, basp !

amandala's avatar

I agree with basp on this one. Unless you intend to pursue something with these women, I wouldn’t recommend flirting back. You don’t want to find yourself in a hole you can’t dig yourself out of. Tread carefully.

augustlan's avatar

A flirty joke would be ok, but don’t take it any farther.

Edited to add: Only if you are sure it’s not a genuine accident.

Snoopy's avatar

@kevbo If I was the female in the scenaios you present, I would likely yank my hand back as if I had touched a hot stove and/or say “Oh…excuse me!”, or comparable.

If the yanking back of the hand and/or the “pardon me!” didn’t occur, flirting was what was happening. Indeed.

As to the motivations or intentions of the owner of the wandering hand? Not enought info to say….

congrats, basp!

delirium's avatar

Stuff like that is usually flirting for the fun and thrill of flirting, and just playing with reactions. Be playful back, without being too forward… keep it joking and gentlemanly.

Once in a while, girls like to feel wanted. I find this to be true particularly in relationships. Its nice to remember that you’re somewhat desirable and that you are choosing to be with the person you are with.

Just theories, o’ course.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m personally with basp on this, also. Harmless flirting is okay in certain circumstances, I suppose, but it’s not something that I would ever do if I was taken.

No matter what though, I do not suggest grabbing their hands. Not if they’re taken. I don’t know if you’re taken or not, but if you are – or even aren’t – imagine your girlfriend’s hand being grabbed by another guy because there’s attraction there. Now imagine that it was your girlfriend who started it to begin with. Not such a nice feeling.

Something else to put it into perspective, too: If you are taken yourself, is this kind of behavior something you’d be completely willing to express to your partner? If not, don’t do it.

meowomon's avatar

It’s flirty. Both “taken” men and women flirt all the time. I find myself doing it and I have been happily “taken” for fifteen years and would never cheat. It’s in the blood, I guess.

Snoopy's avatar

hmmmmm. Personally, I try not to do or say anything to someone that I wouldn’t do if my husband was standing next to us….I save the flirting for my husband :)

….but to each his own….I’m not judging!

Gunter's avatar

Put some crazy glue on the back of your hands to add more comedy to the moment.

MrBr00ks's avatar

two words: Stink Palm.

(see Mallrats)

derekfnord's avatar

I agree with the general consensus… if she withdraws her hand right away, and/or says “Excuse me!” or some such, then it was really an accident. If she lets her hand linger there for a moment, it was flirting.

What you should “do” about it depends on a lot of factors, I suppose. Are you taken too? How taken is she? (Are we talking married, long-term relationship, dating a guy, etc.?) Are you attracted to her? If the flirting would need to be “harmless” flirting (i.e., if you’re both taken, have no intention of changing or endangering that, etc.) then are you okay with harmless flirting between taken people , or does it bother you? And so on. No one response is likely appropriate for all scenarios.

But I definitely would say… You talk about taking her hand as a way of “flirting back harmlessly.” I don’t think that’s just flirting back… that’s escalating the flirting. After all… she didn’t take your hand… she just touched your hand. Flirting back harmlessly would be doing something like looking for a chance to position yourself to “accidentally-on-purpose” touch her in a similar way, etc.

If she touches your hand now, then touching her shoulder later says “Hey, I appreciate that you think I’m attractive, and I think you’re attractive too, even though we both know nothing’s going to happen, so I’m playing along.” If she touches your hand, and you take it in yours, that says “Hey, now that I know you’re into me too, let’s blow this taco stand, sneak away from our significant others, and have some fun…” ;-)

Val123's avatar

Well, it could have been a genuine mistake. If she pulls her hand back immediately, then that’s probably what it was. If she lets it linger, it’s something else.

Just_Justine's avatar

I am confused loll.

zenele's avatar

Peeks in, reads, nothing to add except Congrats @basp – checks out.

zzc's avatar

Or, you could cough. . . .it’s possible to cough in all sorts of ways. Depending on your personality, i.e. on a continuum of shy guy to bold, or doesn’t know how to play to always playful etc, the people and their relationships involved. . . . you could start coughing like it was spontaneous and it completely disrupts whatever WAS going on, or your could clear your throat in a “My, what do we have here?” innuendo sort of way, that takes the pressure off of you and puts it on her, but is playful. Like an acting exercise, that has you say the same sentence over and over, but putting the emphasis on a different word each time, conveys a different meaning. . . you could a cough like that. That way, you don’t move, she has to remove her hand, if she says she’s sorry and laughs, it maybe didn’t mean anything, and it’s funny. You can then carry on as if it hadn’t happened. If she was trying to flirt, she may be disappointed, but I sense you might feel more comfortable with that than games, or misunderstandings, or guessing and complications etc. It might be a safe way of not getting entangled. If someone wants to let you know they are interested, let them be clearer and unencumbered by not being in a relationship. Someone may think it’s just harmless, but is it? Look how you asked the question; it puts you in an uncomfortable position. But then, I don’t like someone playing games with another, just for their own enjoyment. But, that’s just me.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I agree that this is definitely flirting behaviour. “Taken” women seem to like to flirt, I guess because they feel it’s safe because they are taken. Maybe they feel insecure and want some validation that they “still got it.” Personally I hate it – makes them look like a combination of desperate and needy. As far as your involvement, if you react favorable, they will get the validation they need, and probably run home to their man and tell him that you were coming on to them! Don’t give them the satisfaction – stay away and don’t get involved.

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