I recently complained about being flirted with, saying, "How do straight men get laid? Flirting seems to involve objectification and amplification of power systems." But I've been thinking that seems to be an over-broad generalization.
First, I want my male readers to imagine what they would think if they went out one day and "straight" men were flirting with them that day. What would you do? Stop shaving for a while? Quit wearing your Pancakes for Pinkos T-shirt? Complain in your blog? There used to be something called the "gay panic" defense which straight men would use to get away with murder. It was basically the idea that a man flirting with you was SO upsetting that it's ok to kill him. Why would the murder want to kill him? Because when he's treating you like an object you know what he's thinking and what it means?
I think the golden rule should apply: flirt as you would want to be flirted with and don't murder.
Men only flirt with me very occasionally. It annoys me when I'm trying to have a professional conversation and he makes it inappropriately personal or, like the car guy on Friday, highlights a power imbalance. Flirting in social settings is less annoying, although it can have many of the aspects of power imbalance which just sucks and drives me nuts. One time, when I was in London, a drunk guy kept asking if he could buy me songs on the juke box and then apologizing because he knew I was probably not interested. The beer seemed to be controlling his brain. Oddly, though, it was kind of charming. He was approaching me on equal footing. Treating somebody as your social equal is way more charming than treating her as lesser than you, as an object, or as something you are empowered over and qualified to judge.
My own flirting technique is so atrocious that I can't believe I've ever had any luck. Generally, I let women chase me. It's good for the ego. The trick is getting their attention. I find playing music in concerts works well for this. If you're in a community or whatever where people will see you around and see you play a few times, generally somebody in the audience will be smitten with you and if she keeps seeing you around, eventually, she will let you know somehow that she's smitten with you. The quality of performance doesn't matter. If you play music, you will get laid.
During this process, I giggle foolishly a lot. This works for some reason. So therefore, in the future, when men want to flirt with me, I think they should giggle stupidly. They still won't get anywhere, but I won't want to kill them and it might be oddly charming.