Why are we such bad flirts?

This may look like flirting to us, but it's reading to guys like she has an eye infection. (ThinkStock Photos) This may look like flirting to us, but it's reading to guys like she has an eye infection. …
A new global study found that American women are among some of the world's worst flirts. The social networking site Badoo compiled over 90 million romantic connections, to discover State-side ladies had the lowest track record for flirting, second only to Ecuadorian women.

How can this be? We've devoted a sector of the publishing industry to the laws of attraction. We created the term 'sexpert.' We've got relationship gurus, countless magazine articles, and few television series all dedicated to the fine art of flirting. And still, we're coming up short.

Perhaps that over-analyzation is the problem. We get lost in too much advice, and end up thinking we're flirting when we're not. Dating blogger Carley Spindel suggests that our micro-managed approaches to wooing the opposite sex end up sending arbitrary messages. Take body language. Lots of love experts suggest leg crossing, twisting your hair, leaning your shoulders in. But Spindel says, the actions are "difficult for men to understand." The only thing they really pick up on is the touch. It's so simple, but it's not nearly employed as frequently.

And if you're communicating online, it's impossible. But we're not good at online flirting either. Spindel notes that subtle attempts to communicate barely make an impact. Guys need more than just a wall post, an email with a link or a Facebook "like" tag to get the picture.

So what does work? Ask Spanish women. They ranked the most flirtatious in the Badoo study. Their tactic is simple: make the first move. According to the research, they were most likely to reach out to a prospective guy, and follow up by requesting a date.

It goes against every our mothers and the bestselling book, The Rules, taught us. Both clearly stipulate playing hard to get is key to romantic success. Turn down date requests, ignore phone calls and above all never ever make the first move, they dictate. But in today's online dating world, the same rules don't seem to apply.