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Berlin students get a course on flirting

Today is the day that I wish I’d been born in Berlin, enrolled at Potsdam University, and taken my Master’s…

By Sarah Stenabaugh , in Feminizer: Western cultural values , on January 20, 2009 Tags: , ,

Today is the day that I wish I’d been born in Berlin, enrolled at Potsdam University, and taken my Master’s in IT engineering.


Not only would I pay less tuition and be able to stuff my face with as much sauerkraut as humanly possible, but I would also gain a credit for learning the inherent human behaviour known as flirting.

An article in the National Post last week found that the German university has enrolled its socially awkward, soon-to-be engineers into a “flirting course.” The course is supposed to boost their social skills professionally as well as privately.

When Canadian math and science professors were asked whether they think their students would benefit from a flirting course the majority of their answers were less than enthusiastic. Basically, they said let’s keep it professional in the classroom.

Personally, I like the idea. I think, if done tastefully, that a course aimed at improving social skills beyond public speaking would help a lot of socially uncomfortable Canadians.

Out of all the skills we learn in school, mingling with the opposite sex is not one of them. And let’s face it, IT engineering students aren’t the only ones wasting away hours on the computer.

The Press-Enterprise posted one scientist’s concerns over the digital age’s affects on human interaction. Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist at UCLA, argues that the longer teens spend glued online means the less time they spend with other people, affecting simple social skills like reading facial expressions and non-verbal communication.

In other word, in sixty years, the timeless wink, smile, or double glance will be forever forgotten.

This is a scary notion, especially since an article in the BBC said that it takes roughly between ninety seconds and four minutes to decide whether or not we like somebody. 55% is based on body language, 38% is based on the tone and speed of our voice, and a whopping 7% is based on what we say.

Point taken.

Well, I am one person that would love to see Canadian universities follow in the steps of Berlin’s “flirting course.” Quite frankly, I hope it’s offered next semester before we’re all expressing ourselves through dreaded emoticons:)