This may come as a shock, but I like to flirt. I feel it's harmless, it makes other people feel good, and gives a little boost to some otherwise boring days. I'm a free-thinking flirt, I like to spread it around to anyone who's willing and ready. Girls, boys, young, old, smart, not-so-smart-there is no discrimination when it comes to who I bat my eyelashes at or whose jokes I giggle at. Many people say flirting is healthy, I don't know what sort of credentials those people have, but I imagine there must be at least two doctor in the bunch. Therefore, doctors think flirting is healthy.
Side node: unlike smoking, it is unanimous amongst all doctors that smoking is not healthy.
Back to point, sometimes while flirting my way through the Internet ether, I snag a live one and get some flirting back. Sometimes it's in the form of a veiled reply to a pseudo-sexual comment I posted, sometimes it's a *wink* or a 'x' (that's a kiss for all who are unaware of the super-secret-super-sexy-cyber speak.) No matter what it is, the proper response is to toss up a winky emoticon and reply with a sweet response that could be taken two ways: innocently or not so innocently.
Now, it seems I've managed to acquire some sort of reputation in the last year in virtual reality. (In reality, I've had this rep for a long time-there's no point in denying it.) I imagine the recipients of my merciless flirting wonder if the person they are talking to in a forum or chat room is the person they say they are and if they actually act the way they do on the Internet. My Internet persona, is not a persona. It's how I am in real life, except in person my misanthropic ways are far more evident and my sarcasm reigns supreme. I've learned sarcasm doesn't transfer through emails or forum posts all that well, something about inflection of tone, or something like that.
Incidentally, flirting on the Internet can develop into crushes. Each of these crushes range in intensity, some are just a fleeting adoration, but some span months and (gasp) even years. At one point, you might realize one of these crushes isn't just a crush, that you actually like the person...who they are behind their funky profile picture and witty replies. And though you're still a rational person, and you aren't going to ditch your long-term spouse, sell your house, buy a plane ticket, and show up in nothing but cling wrap on their doorstop, you might entertain the idea. (Boy, wouldn't Noelle get a surprise if I didn't just entertain it! *ahem*)
All jokes aside, I am a big enough person to own up to the fact that I have a crush-and I have had it for a fair amount of time. And though this person is only my friend, I still toy with the idea of doing something irrational, and find myself feeling a little giggly when they send me some affection. So there, you have it...there are dangerous sides to flirting. And as we all know you have to respect Flirt Code #1: Don't allow harmless flirting to develop into crush, because you run the risk of having other icky feelings get involved.
And with all that said, let me just add one last thing. I like having a crush (Though I don't know how the person feels about me having a crush on them.) I have a feeling I'm going to be served a restraining order any day. Oh well, just another one to add to the collection.