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Ask a Bad Boy: Why Do Taken Men Still Flirt With Single Women?

Steve Santagati, of and author of the best-selling book The Manual, answers your burning questions when it comes to dating, love, and how men think. He's a veteran at giving street-smart, straight-to-the-point advice, so ladies, tell me, what do you want to ask Steve about men? This is your chance to get answers so don't hold back! Submit your questions here.

Dear Steve,

I can't tell you how many times I've been out some place — like a bar or a restaurant — and I'll find out the guy that's been flirting with me and my girls is either married or in a relationship, what's up with that? Why do they even bother if they can't "swing through the ball" — so to speak? I feel like I need to preface every conversation I have with a man with "wait, do you have a girlfriend?" — Perplexed Penelope

To see Steve's answer

Dear Perplexed Penelope,

This question makes me laugh. The longer I live, the more I realize how similar men and women truly are. Boys and Girls may go about things differently and often appear to speak different languages, but in the end, we have more similarities in what we like and don't like than differences. After all, we're both human and us "beings" are almost identical. That's super good news — if you're paying attention. Moreover, women are the founding fathers — errr mothers — of the "tease" and isn't a man flirting — yet unavailable — just being a tease? You know, like when a girl walks into a bar flaunting major cleavage, a super short skirt, and playing with her hair yet doesn't have the slightest intention of having sex with any of us. Isn't Flirt Boy just doing what women have done for hundreds of years?

Teasing is one of the things men and women differ in; men can tease you by pulling your hair, but women tease on a much more visceral level, right down to the loins. Men don't tease. If we weren't so horny all the time maybe we would, but we are so we can't. Teasing implies we could actually "hold out" if you showed us you wanted to have sex. Very few of us can.

The Male Facts when it comes to flirting while in a relationship:

  1. We do it because we enjoy the art of flirting
  2. We do it because we're smart and know you have to keep the engine warm in case things fall apart with the current flame.
  3. It's an ego boost when women respond
  4. It helps us have a reality check to make sure "we still got it".
  5. It's naughty and mischievous (obsessions any man, worth his salt, will not lose with age). It's like playing with fire because we know we have to be loyal, but it allows us to fantasize with the "what if".

The Female Solution:

  1. Don't just talk to a man because you want a man. That's too cut and dry. Talk to him because you want to enjoy the person, enjoy the opposite sex, learn something that you can utilize when the right one comes along — Stop boyfriend/husband hunting.
  2. See how far you can push Mr. Committed into crossing the line. It's not nice but you'll learn a lot about how good your game is and you'll be one step closer to understanding why bad girls finish first!
  3. Enjoy the fact that you can do something us guys can't; tease. Teasing is one of those things that can define a woman; but just the right amount of sexy, too much and she's classless. The girls of Hooters have it down to a science.
  4. Realize it's a cruel joke that most of the people we'll find ourselves attracted to will be taken. That's life. But I said it's a "joke" and jokes are meant to be laughed at, not cause anxiety.

Check out his Bad Girls Finish First tee shirts and, for individual attention, visit Steve at or email him at


Andrew2627468 Andrew2627468 5 years
For the women who said that a guy is morally wrong to have options available if the current relationship falls through, because the men should just love their partners wholeheartedly is simply being selfish, in a relationship, there simply isn't any guarantees and there is no question that a female stands at an advantage when it comes to finding another partner.I have been in a relationship where i gave my all, 100% devoted but she still left me for another guy, why should the men be subjected to such scrutiny when they're equally as vulnerable to be hurt? being 100% committed only ensures that you'd be devastated when things don't work out so the next best option is to not to be fully committed and thus roll with the punches as they comes along.    The thing is, females often places themselves in a position of perceived weakness and vulnerability, truth is they do cheat just like men, they do flirt just like men, they still do keep their options open just like men and they're also accountable for a fair share of broken hearts.
krrn krrn 8 years
i don't see it as THAT big of a deal. steve's posts are his point of view.. you don't always have to like what he's saying, he's just trying to be honest. i mean honestly, i've flirted with guys just to get free drinks out of them. yeah a lot of times they are attractive but i think most people are guilty of flirting with men who they don't have any intentions of getting with. i do agree with #1 of the female solution though. i don't just talk to guys hoping that it will turn into a serious relationship. several times i have talked to taken men and i have fun and then go on my way. it doesn't add any extra stress in my life to have flirted with a guy for a while and then find out he is taken. i do however disagree with trying to see how far you can get with a married man. i don't think that flirting is not that big of a deal either. when (or if) i get married, i would not want my husband flirting with other women.
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
I agree with tons of these for and against comments! everybody makes great points for their arguments! very interesting...
fabulouslady87 fabulouslady87 8 years
Barely wearing anything? Are you kidding me? It's a tank top and shorts and pantyhose so thick they might as well be leggings. That's more than what some women wear during the summer time. And since when does wearing a certain outfit indicate that a woman is flirting? It doesn't matter if its a uniform or not, if the peron wearing that outfit isn't flirting then its not flirting! Duh! And when did I say Hooters was classy? It's a sports bar for goodness sake! Beer, wings, and football does not equal classy! And it is their job to serve food. It's not their job to flirt, because if it was Hooters would not be a restaurant. There's a girl that takes your order and brings you food in exchange for a tip, I think that's called a waitress, not a flirt. And no the uniform isn't a shirt and pants like most restaurants simply because it doesn't have to be. Get over it. It's ridiculous to make generalizations about a person just because they work at Hooters. Those girls are not made from the same mold, they're not robots that are programmed to be sluts on and off the clock. Of course there are classless women at Hooters. There are classless women who are doctors, teachers, lawyers, CEOs. Don't be like most people in this society who bash women. "They still aren't required to do anything with the guys of course, but it's pretty obvious that they aren't just there for their own fun like the one woman that goes out is." I don't think anyone who has a job does it just for their own fun. Regardless of if they enjoy what they do or not, people work to make a living. It's something people have to do if they don't want to live on the streets. You act as if these girls have a gun to their head, like they have to flirt with these guys. The only time I ever flirted with any of my customers was when it was my boyfriend sitting at my table.
AlexE70 AlexE70 8 years
KatE I know just what you mean. Guys offer to buy my g/f drinks every time she in the bar when I'm working. And the kicker is them coming to me and asking for the drinks to be sent to her. We have a great system of hand gestures we use and it's a kick when I tell her she has a drink coming her way and she signals that she knows! LOL! It's all in fun, as you said. If you have the kind of relationship where you can both flirt and know that flirting is all it is, then there's nothing wrong with it. ;-)
Kat-E Kat-E 8 years
My boyfriend owns 2 bars and it's happened more than a few times now when he's been bartending that they've asked him to send me a drink. I always accept because it makes him money haha, and because he and I know it's all in fun.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
fabulouslady87: I didn't know that Hooters any charity, that's good. And it's good they watch out for their workers. wear uniforms inappropriately? I thought they already were, without any changes... And yes, I support a woman's choice to wear clothing like that, and work somewhere like that and be confident about it. But DO NOT try and call all the people who do that, classy! That's the problem I had with what Steve said, people who wear clothes like that and work pretty much just to entertain guys, are not classy. I don't have a problem with people working at Hooter's, enjoying it, etc. "Hooters girls know how to flirt subtly." Umm, how exactly are Hooter's girls subtle...ever? You are working in a restaurant that is MADE to entertain men, that kind of takes away from the subtly in the first place. You are barely wearing any clothes and the clothes you do wear are made to point out boobs and butts, how is that subtle? The restaurant is called Hooter's for goodness sake!! If the waitresses at Hooter's are "just trying to serve food rather than flirt with middle aged men" then why aren't the uniforms like other restaurants, a t-shirt and pants? Your JOB is flirting with men, just by how you look if nothing else. And there is a difference between one woman, who wants to get dressed up, look sexy, and go out and have some fun, and an entire restaurant of women barely wearing anything. -The one woman should not be expected to do anything for any guys. She might just be out to have fun and dance/party etc., not entertain guys. So that woman isn't being a tease as Steve said, b/c she isn't even interested in the guys. She isn't required to have sex with those guys just b/c they get turned on. -The restaurant full of Hooter's waitresses is a bit different. They still aren't required to do anything with the guys of course, but it's pretty obvious that they aren't just there for their own fun like the one woman that goes out is. They are there to attract guys. So their job is pretty much to be a tease.
fabulouslady87 fabulouslady87 8 years
Wow so much hate towards Hooters girls! I actually worked as a Hooters girl for a year and it was a great experience. The managers advocate for the girls, they don't let customers treat the girls with disrespect. I've seen people get banned from my restaurant because of disrespectful behavior. Also, Hooters works hard to make a difference in communities. Each restaurant is mandated to perform a minimum of charity services each year. We raised money for local hospices, sent care packages to the troops, sponsored parades and community events, and of course raised money for breast cancer research in honor of Kelly Jo Dowd. As for the uniforms, company policy states that the girls are not supposed to wear their uniforms inappropriately... Basically shorts and tops are supposed to be large enough so that girls don't hang out all over the place. Of course there are girls that try to hike their shorts up or whatnot, but they're supposed to. And a lot of people on here say that it's a woman's choice to wear provocative clothing and its great that she's confident... shouldn't that same sentiment be applied to women that work at Hooters? Such a double standard! I don't agree with everything in this article, but come on, leave Hooters girls alone! Plus, I don't think he was saying that being a Hooters girl is the pinnacle of our existence as women, just that Hooters girls know how to flirt subtly. Honestly, most Hooters girls are just trying to serve food rather than flirt with middle aged men... men just think its flirting because they don't know any better.
meeshee meeshee 8 years
i completely agree with meike and bella's "I'm tired of the 'boys will be boys' mentality continually being used to excuse crappy character and boorish behavior." That quote is the story of my life! i understand that most men think with their penises before their brains&heart, but they CAN control it. they just believe that society says it's okay. the truly loyal boyfriends/husbands love their wives and don't need the reassurance to see if they "still have it." meike's answer said it all. i understand that steve is just telling it how it is, but frankly, i'm sick of guys feeling like it's okay to be that way. if you're in a relationship that makes you feel as if you need to keep options open, then get out of the relationship! stop flirting with other women - make YOUR woman feel so incredibly loved and desired that you don't need the attention from anyone else. it is hurtful when your boyfriend wants more attention from another woman or some sort of fantasy escape away from you. oh, and the "You know, like when a girl walks into a bar flaunting major cleavage, a super short skirt, and playing with her hair yet doesn't have the slightest intention of having sex with any of us" annoys me too.. a woman can flaunt major cleavage, wear a super short skirt and play with her hair because she is confident in her beauty/sexuality. she probably doesn't even give a damn about the drooling guys all around her. so because she's confident and sexy, she's teasing you? are you that important? please, guys & their egos.... INFURIATING
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
pixelhaze: It's ok! Lol, yeah, I probably took your comment a bit to seriously, b/c this topic is very serious to me, ha, sorry! I get it now! Very funny, and totally true, LOL LOL. :-P :D
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
Muirnea: whoops sorry I didn't mean to imply that it was ok, I just meant that men are dogs :P And even that was meant to be a joke, I always thought that quote was funny.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Thanks Meike!! :) pixelhaze:"for the same reason dogs lick their balls. because they can." I agree with you pixel, but we humans are conscious of our actions and how they affect others, that's what differentiates us from other animals. So when we hurt someone else, we have no excuse, b/c we easily could have prevented the hurt, while other animals have no idea, or way to prevent hurt they are causing. If we don't use the brains we have, then what exactly does differentiate us from animals that aren't conscious of their actions? Nothing...that's what.
Meike Meike 8 years
Kudos, Muirnea and Jazzy. 'Pushing it as far as you can' is not innocent flirting. Greeting friends, co-workers, and the like with one liners like "Hey, Good-looking!" or "So-and-So is looking foxy/fabulous, today!" and leaving it at that is. I have no problem with this because no one is actually trying to get a committed person to cave. I don't believe any one poster here who enjoys flirting goes through great lengths to see how far they can go with a person in a committed relationship which is what this douche is suggesting people do. That's disgusting. Even my husband is repelled by guys and women like him and muttered something along the lines of "No wonder the divorce rates are so high in America. A lot of jerks only see their wives as a temporary commodity. Divorce is so easy when you know you got someone on the side waiting for you". Real loyalty as Muirnea explained isn't something married people feel like they HAVE to do just because they're suppose to. Real loyalty stems from a strong foundation of trust and respect for the person they love and they WANT to remain loyal. "You're sexy but I can't be with you because I have to be loyal to my wife." versus "You're sexy but I don't want to be with you because I love my wife and am loyal to her." Big difference.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
I believe the answer is much more simple. To paraphrase a certain popular TV show: "for the same reason dogs lick their balls. because they can."
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
jazzy: "How is trying to get a married guy to f*ck you and then turning him down make you a person who finishes first? First in what? f*cking over other women?" ...I'm extremely offended that Steve has such a low opinion of the women here on Dearsugar. I don't want to speak up for everyone here, b/c I know plenty of people prob. disagree with everything I've said, but geez, I'm not that easy! And this is why maturity isn't based on age...I don't think most guys ever fully mature.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Thank you jazzy!!!!!!! Agreed!!!
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Thanks Michelin! I agree with you too. I have spent tons of time trying to find a guy that ISN'T like this, b/c one's that are like this run rampant, I really don't need to hear any more from them. So I would rather go ask my bf what he thinks about stuff like this, I respect his opinion b/c he uses his brain and cares about me very much. Thank goodness he doesn't need the attention of other women to love me. And I just felt the need to make an additional list about "The Female Soulion" now. 1)I already do that. Everyone is a possible friend, no matter gender or anything, and if something more comes, then great. 2) "it's not nice" yup that's right. So you're telling people to only think about themselves. It's not nice, but you will learn something about your flirting techniques, so do it anyway. And bad girls only finish first for sex and fun, not serious loving commitments. 3)You obviously have no class, and neither do Hooter's girls. Classy is not flaunting your boobs and butt around, classy is not attracting mostly male customers b/c of scantily clad women (AKA: good wings). Classy has nothing what-so-ever to do with sex. It's innate elegance, real beauty in a non-sexual way, being conscious of other people and their feelings, confidence without being cocky, and social knowledge in general. 4)Yeah, it is "life", as you say, that a lot of the people you are attracted to could be taken. That's not the part that causes the anxiety. What causes the anxiety is when those taken men, act like they aren't taken just for their own fun (flirting). So we women get our hopes up that we may have found a good guy we like, and then it's gone. Of course you and the other guys can laugh, you are the one's making the "jokes", it's not so funny when your the butt of the "joke" (the women). Maybe if you tried putting yourself in our shoes for once you would understand, rather than argue a point you've only looked at from one perspective. And yes, I've looked at it from a guy's perspective as well as I can, it's fun and makes you feel good, I know. But no one should ever have fun at the expense of another person, that's where the line should be drawn.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
"See how far you can push Mr. Committed into crossing the line. It's not nice, but you will learn how good your game is and you'll be one step closer to finding out why bad girls finish first!" Are you kidding me right now? How is trying to get a married guy to fuck you and then turning him down make you a person who finishes first? First in what? Fucking over other women? This is the kind of crap I would expect from a 17 year old boy, not a grown man. Some of the things you say I believe, Steve, but this is total horseshit... I am actually embarrassed for you that you wrote this.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Muirnea, I agree. I know how the average guy thinks and I'd rather not see any more of it. Why would DearSugar want to pretend this sort of attitude is acceptable? I'll just skip the 'Ask a Bad Boy' threads from now on.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Sorry, posted that last one before I meant too... I was going to also say: Guys like Steve seem to be the "average" guy. If a girl is dating, or has ever dated, she has run into multiple "Steves". So I for one at least, have had my share of encounters with this type of guy. I would rather hear from a nice guy who cares, that would be refreshing and nice to know there are some out there. There's a reason I'm not with a guy like this. And there is a reason girls don't settle down with "bad boys"...they are fun, not relationship material. I would like to hear what guys that I would actually consider dating have to say. That way, I would know more about how my bf thinks, not how all the jerks of the world think. I'm tired of hearing "advice" from cocky uncaring guys, I can get that by walking out my door.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
AlexE70: I wasn't trying to say that the two things are was just what it reminded me of. I'm just saying that both examples are guys blaming girls for the problem, when it's really the guys that can't control themselves. SaucySassy: "Why is this guy even part of Sugar - this guy is a douche - and thats not only what I think but what my boyfriend and several of his guy friends said. I move to take his posts and answers down. anyone else?" I second that!!!! And my bf agrees too!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Did this guy really just encourage single women to push taken men to see how far they can get? Wow... Single women, please don't disrespect yourselves like that.
AlexE70 AlexE70 8 years
It's interesting to see the various range of responses on this topic. Especially the negative ones. Steve's not saying anything that's crude or, for that matter, untrue. Women CAN tease and men can't. Flirting is a guy's nearest equilivant. Perhaps he could have chosen better words when talking about not being able to follow through with a flirt because the guy is taken, but that's the entire point of it all. It's just flirting. I'm sure not every woman who teases a guy (or flirts with him, for that matter) has the sole intention of taking him to bed. The same can be said of guys who flirt. They don't all want to bed the women they flirt with. It's more like honing their skills, much like an artist has to continue to draw or paint or skulpt to keep his skills refined. And remember, Steve is telling you things from a "Bad Boy's" point of view. he's not claiming to be an angel and a shoulder to cry on. He's being real. Cut him some slack.
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