And then there are the flirt or redirection signals When an ape is being attacked it will often perform what looks like an entirely unrelated and counter-productive gesture, like yawning, grooming, or scratching Or it will even start to flirt You probably think you know what this is all about Humans flirt when they're with someone they like But what about flirting at work? What about those people who turn on the charm with everyone in the place, male, female, young, and old? Do they like everyone in the building? Are they corporate nymphomaniacs? Possibly, but probably not Human flirting can be similar to ape flirt signals . And apes employ flirt signals as part of what's called a distraction process Okay, so they flirt to have sex, but they also flirt to signal submission to a threatening ape This flirting is pretty full-on industrial-strength stuff, too, but it's not done to promote the sexual act, except in the bigger ape's mind . Faced with a muscle-bound ape, a weaker ape will often bend over and stick its bottom in the air This is to distract the stronger ape's mind from thoughts of violence and turn them toward sex instead Only not with the submissive ape . It's a ploy. Just as a lot of workplace flirting is done as a ploy, to keep harmony at work and to help avoid conflict Next time someone bats their eyelashes at you, flatters you, or leans over your desk to reach for the stapler, remember it might not be so much about seduction as keeping the peace
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