(Eric Shansby)

A top 10 list of “Ways to Flirt Sexually” arrived on the Internet a few weeks ago on a dating site called AskMen.com. It was so spectacularly lame I wanted to write about it, but it literally disappeared before my eyes, taken down quicker than Pee-wee Herman in a steel-cage grudge match with Gavin “The Human Hate Machine” Alexander. A Google search still delivers links to it, but they send you harmlessly to AskMen’s home page; Stalin-esquely, most histories were also wiped out.

So, unfortunately, I’ll just have to drop the subject entirely and write about something else.

Ha-ha. Just kidding. I immediately put a team of Internet sleuths on the job; they joyfully descended like the NSA on bin Laden’s hard drive, and we have now pieced together the original article in its entirety.

I sent the reconstructed article to several women of my acquaintance. From their reactions, I realized I had to ask the author an important question. But he didn’t respond to my request for an interview. So I’ll ask it here: “Have you ever actually talked to a real, live woman?”

The article recommends that men communicate with women they wish to bed by turning all conversation, however innocuous, into double-entendre. For example:

“If you find out a woman is from Spain, you can say to her, ‘Hmm ... you know what they say about women from Spain, don’t you?’ Then, let your sly smile and rock-solid eye contact suggest that you know Spanish women are ... well, let’s just say a lot of fun.”

Also: “Let’s suppose you bring a female guest a cup of tea. You can follow by saying, ‘Looks like you’re on the receiving end today. Do you always receive, or do you like to give at times, too?’ Crack a slight smile, and she will know exactly what you’re talking about.”

And: “If she says her drink is big, you can reply with something like, ‘Big can be a good thing, don’t you think?’ ”

If a woman tells you she is vacuuming, the article says, you should “show that you’re sex-savvy” by informing her that she is probably ovulating, since women are known to vacuum as a way of “cleaning the nest” before “laying their egg.”

Some reviews:

My friend Caitlin Gibson: “This might conceivably land you a date to the junior prom.”

My friend Gina Barreca: “This sounds like dating advice from ‘Grease.’ But not from Travolta. From his loser friends Kenickie, Doody and Putzie.”

My friend Christine Lavin, whose folk songs are often about relationships gone awry, read the article and then immediately rerecorded her voice mail message, now a throaty, sex-drenched, Bacall-like purr. She can’t come to the phone, she says, because she is (long pause) vacuuming. You can find her message at bitly.com/genevoicemail here.

Anyway, I decided that Askmen.com can use a little help. So I’m offering it free pointers for its next dating feature:

1. If you spot a hottie in a skirt or dress, a good way to show that you are attracted is to sidle up next to her with a mirror taped to the top of your shoe.

2. A good ice-breaker: Tell a lady that your entire collection of pornography is of women who look like her.

3. Don’t be bashful about touting physical assets; i.e., mention that you still have all your teeth. Offer to let her count them.

4. Women love hearing that smoochy sound as they walk past you, but nonverbal communication is also important. Practice basic semaphores, such as tracing that hourglass figure in the air with your hands.

5. Stay up to date on the best techniques via AskMen.com.

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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