Japanese courtesans had another form of flirting, emphasizing non-verbal relationships by hiding the lips and showing the eyes, as depicted in much Shunga art, the most popular print media at the time, until the late 19th century.

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Flirting or coquetry is a social and sometimes sexual behavior involving verbal or written communication, as well as body language, by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, or if done playfully, for amusement.

In most cultures, it is socially disapproved for a person to make explicit sexual advances in public, or in private to someone not romantically acquainted, but indirect or suggestive advances (i.e. Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest in the given setting.

This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony.

Double entendres, with one meaning more formally appropriate and another more suggestive, may be used.

Flirting for fun can take place between friends, co-workers, or total strangers that wish to get to know each other.

This type of flirting does not intend to lead to sexual intercourse or a romantic relationship, but increases the bonds between two people.

The use of the fan was not limited to women, as men also carried fans and learned how to convey messages with them.

For instance, placing the fan near the heart meant "I love you", while opening a fan wide meant "Wait for me".

While old-fashioned, this expression is still used in French, often mockingly, but the English gallicism to flirt has made its way and has now become an anglicism.