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how to flirt

published: 2015-02-27

Recently, friends have been telling me I should write a ten-step book on “How to Flirt (the old school way).” They think I’m good at that. I’d rather be good at other things, like connection.
It had me thinking about what it is I do when I meet someone. Indeed, I tend to touch someone quite briefly and casually on the arm when sharing excitement about what that person is telling me. I look at them, straight into the eyes without blinking, and if we’re in a bar or at a party, I might even be tempted to – out of the blue – shock them by saying the things you’re not supposed to say, like “ah, your wife is in Morocco and now you want to have sex with me, is that it?”
I do so with a joking smile. Meanwhile I’ve planted the thought and confronted them with their own primal desires. We are all animals.
To then leave that poor soul behind at the bar might seem cruel, but these days, that’s what I do. Perhaps it’s my delayed feminist response. Saying “no” used to be hard, simply because I felt obliged to finish off something I had started. I no longer feel the obligation to be a good girl.
I was giving all this more thought (“should I write a book? Really?”) and wondering whether there is an A-Z of do’s and don’ts, but I wasn’t able to decipher them. Then it hit me. A man who revealed it to me. He was hopping around my house in the morning and in a winning mood, while I just wanted him to leave and write. I wasn’t clear in my nonverbal communication.
“You make me feel so damn sexy,” he said.
Wait. Did he just say he was so damn sexy? Did he not even bother to say anything about me perhaps being nice or sexy?
“Really?” I said with a smile, “well you are very sexy, aren’t you.”
He didn’t pick up on the sarcasm. He didn’t want to. The thing is: I was telling him what I wanted to hear myself.
Consider the movie stars we fall in love with on screen, or pop idols. We’re not actually in love with them, we’re in love with what we identify with and how they make us feel along the way: Understood.
The essence to flirting is therefore this: To know that it’s about the other person. That person falls purely for whatever it is they need through you, in you, by you. They don’t fall for you, they fall for themselves.
Flirting is never about you.
I’ve reached midlife and have decided to stop flirting all together. Time for it to be about me.

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