A while back, I was up visiting my buddy Paul at his mini mart. Being the close friend of the owner means I get to sit behind the counter. When people come in, I sometimes take part in the banter between the staff and the customers.
After one particular customer left, Dan (the night stocker, not stalker) remarked that the woman had been flirting up a storm with me. He kiddingly chastised me for flirting back because "you're a married guy!"
But here's the thing: I wasn't aware that any flirting was going on! From my perspective, all we were doing was shooting the breeze.
In all honesty, I don't understand flirting at all. While I certainly understand the dictionary definition of the word, I can't spot it in real time in real life. What others consider to be flirting, I consider to be simply talking and I tend to relate to people the same way regardless of their gender, age or level of physical attractiveness.
From reviewing the literature, I realize this is related to my autism. It is because I don't read people well (or at all!) that I can't tell when a woman is expressing interest -- casual or serious -- in me. I tend to take things at face value and, unless someone straightforwardly expresses a direct interest in an intimate and/or sexual relationship, I'm certain to miss the obvious hints.
In our society -- though this is changing -- the guy is expected to make the first move. In ALL of my dating experiences years ago, I NEVER made the first move. The gal I was with either had to kiss me first or ask me why I wasn't trying to kiss her. If the latter, I would ask if she wanted me to kiss her and, on more than one occasion, the answer was Duh!
Of course, being a long-time married bloke, this isn't that important of an issue in my life right now. It's really immaterial if a woman flirts with me or not. I'm not in the market for an extramarital affair. But I often wonder that, if Della was to die in the next few years, I might be back on the market. I would be just as lost in the world of women and dating as I was in my youth.
That would create a lot of anxiety, so I've told my dear wife that she is not allowed to depart this world until I'm of an age that it doesn't matter anymore. ;-)