What this article describes as a “flirt” is more commonly known today as a “stalker.” The piece below, as you will see, was written as a response to a personal attack on the author.
“He-flirt” more deadly than “she”
His tribe thrives in large cities
by Anna Carroll
Editor’s Note [from 1916]: Recently in Los Angeles, Cal., Mrs Anna Carroll found it necessary to have a man arrested because he persistently attempted to flirt with her. He grew insulting when she rebuffed him and burned holes in her silk dress with his cigar. She wrote the following story as a result of her experience.
A flirt is a person, usually male, whom you never saw before in your life and who persists in forcing his attention upon you.
Every woman who finds it necessary to go unescorted on the streets of any large city has the flirt to contend with. The flirt is most obnoxious to the woman battling her way alone in the world.
The “he” species of flirt is much more virulent than the “she” species. It is seldom that a woman flirt is a menace to society. As a rule, the male flirt always is.
The male flirt preys continually upon the womanhood of the nation, not discriminating particularly between the married and unmarried. He is responsible for half the divorces and nearly all the broken hearts along the highway of sorrow.
The he-flirt is a type that infests all large cities. It is also found in the country towns, but not in such plentiful numbers. The city is its favorite habitat, because in picking its victims it prefers to run the entire gamut of human nature. The city affords this opportunity.
In general actions, all flirts are similar. They smile on the slightest provovation, ogle with their eyes and endeavor to convey the impression that they are rather shy. Some times their gaze is direct, and at other times it is castin a sidelong manner from beneath lowered eyelashes. The she-flirt is much more subtle then the he-flirt.
Flirts are divided into various classes, each distinct in itself and each variety manifesting its own characteristics and peculiarities. The most important divisions of the flirt are probably these: The street flirt, the street car flirt, the jitney flirt, the restaurant flirt, the automobile flirt the phone flirt, the picture-show flirt, the police flirt — and even the vegetable man, you will find, is willing to flirt.
Of all these divisions, the street flirt is perhaps the most insidious. He has greater opportunity to work without detection than any of the other knights of the ogling eye.
Married men are the most willing flirts. Men with marriageable daughters will flirt.
Ninety-nine and a half percent of flirts are men.
If a woman flirts, it is generally because she is lonely.
Society’s only chance is to inform itself regarding the flirt’s methods and take proper action for protection. The automobile flirt is the most irresistible of them all. Let there be the slightest suspicion in a woman’s glance, and the man begins to dust his coat and arrange his tie.