Over instant messenger with Omst.
Me: With chinese flirtation, the man progresses in stages. In the first stage, he sits next to the girl he likes. No touching. He just sits next to her. After some time (perhaps across multiple encounters at parties), he advances to touching his shoulder to the girl's shoulder while they sit next to each other.
Me: Yes, both shoulders are clothed. Oftentimes, the girl will walk away, to play hard to get. She'll do this even if she likes the guy. He has to repeat the stage to figure out if she's playing coy, or if she actually isn't interested in him.
Omst: wow this is quite the ritual! he has to repeat? how does he know if it isn't going anywhere?
Me: If he does it ten times and she keeps walking away, he gives up. [pause] All right, the next part, if she seems okay with it, is that he can accidentally brush her arm with his arm.
Omst: this is stage 2?
Me: No, stage 3. Unless your counting is zero-based.
Omst: ok I'm 1-based.
Me: Stage 1 is sitting next to, with no touching. Stage 2 is sitting next to, and shoulders touching.
Omst: I integrated those two.
Me: Oh NO, you can't integrate those two steps! Remember that each step involves a number of repetitions before you can advance.
Omst: Ah. So is this what XXX did to you?
Me: Well, he liked me, and he was preparing to initiate stage 1. I was sitting on the arm of a couch, and he came and sat down next to me. Then, to his shock, I reached over and ruffled his hair, thereby skipping about 15 steps.
Omst: So what does he think of Americans now?