LONDON - The home of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle is the "most flirtatious city" of the modern world, a new study showed on Monday.
Athens topped a "World Flirtation League", which ranked cities by the number of online flirtations initiated per month by the average user in each on online social networking site Badoo.com.
Moscow came second, while Rome placed 8th and Madrid 31st, Paris 38th, London 57th, Berlin 79th, and New York 89th in the study of nearly 200 cities across the world in which Badoo analyzed 12 million flirtatious contacts made during a month, with 108 million users chatting and flirting in 180 countries.
The Lonely Planet Encounter Guide to Athens author Victoria Kyriakopoulous said the results are hardly surprising as the Greek capital is a seductive city, with a hedonistic lifestyle.
"Athenians love to party and they love to talk," she said. "Flirting and sexual banter are not just a means to an end but part of social interaction."
She said the Internet is just a new means to the age-old dance of attraction and love.
"Old people flirt, married people flirt, now young people are simply using technology to do what Athenians have always done."
The average Badoo user in Athens initiated 25.7 online flirtations per month -- over twice as many as in Rio (12.4) Warsaw (12.1) or Prague (12.6) and far more than in Paris (20.7), London (19.0), Berlin (17.7) or New York (16.1).
Tunis, birthplace of the "Jasmine Revolution", is among three Arab cities (with Kuwait and Beirut) to make the world top 10, along with three former Soviet ones (Moscow, Kiev and Baku in Azerbaijan) and three Italian (Turin, Rome and Bari).
Plato said "Love is a serious mental disease". The great man never shared his views on online flirting but he knew something at least about offline flirting, said Simon Hardy, British academic and author of "The Greeks, Eroticism and Ourselves".
He said ancient Athenians may have honed the art of flirtation at drinking parties known as symposia, drinking parties where men flirted with dancing girls among other entertainment.
"It is probably fair to say that the Athenians perfected the art of flirtation in ancient times, especially at the time of symposia described by Plato."