Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I love to flirt. I had an excellent teacher and learned very early in life that the subtleties of flirting could actually move mountains. My 85-year old grandmother was a notorious flirt in her day and after experiencing her in action it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that such a talent could get a woman far if she were so inclined.

Nowadays, when we see sex and relationships being marketed no differently from milk and cookies, young women have no reason to flirt nor do they even bother with learning the nuances of how. Watch a music video today and one would think all a woman needs to do is throw on a thong and gyrate, or all a man needs is a set of rims on his ride and gold grills in his mouth. Young folks is just puttin' it out there and there is nothing subtle about their game. They're leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination.

Back in my grandmother’s day, women dressed impeccably, carried themselves like royalty and their conduct was typically (to the public eye) beyond reproach. I remembered vividly accompanying my grandmother out to places a five-year-old probably had no business being. I’d be decked out in these very elaborate lace and ruffle dresses, white ankle socks, and black patent leather shoes. And Granny would be rocking everything in silk: designer dresses and stockings (the kind you wore with a garter belt), and her signature furs. Granny loved her furs! I can see her right now, crossing her ankles as we settled down at a table, then pulling off her gloves one finger at a time before tossing them next to her purse. She’d inevitably catch some suitor’s eye and then the games would begin!

When one knows how to flirt, one knows instinctively when, where, with whom, and in what matter to flirt. The rules of flirting follow what some think is a very complex set of unwritten laws of etiquette. But there is nothing complex about it. Common sense should tell you that flirting with the deceased spouse at the funeral or with your best friend’s partner when they’re not around is going to break one or more of those laws.

Flirting is about eye contact, an exchange of admiring glances, then a smile. Smiles serve up energy. They make the smiler and the smilee feel good. Then the initiation of conversation opens many a door. A little light-hearted banter can brighten the day, raise self-esteem, and strengthen social bonds. Flirting can be harmless fun, and only a wet blanket could possibly have any objections.

My grandmother’s laugh would warm a room. It would draw people to her. Her eyes would speak volumes so there was no mistaking when the fun she was having was indeed harmless or if there was something else on her mind. The gesture of her head, her hand movements, the tilt of her body, was a language all its own. But it was universal and an essential aspect of her interactions with people and them with her.

Flirting doesn’t have to be about pickup lines or sexual challenges and conquests. It’s actually more successful when its about an exchange of conversation and humor. It’s a casual, comfortable interaction with another person. Some excel at it more than others, and many a man could teach some women how to take their flirting skills to a higher level. Flirting can do wonders for the human spirit. Many a man walked away from my grandmother thinking he’d actually accomplished something, his fragile ego soaring sky high. It would be the laughter in her eyes that told the truth of the exchange, a wondrous glow that spoke volumes about her being a woman who loved being a woman.

And so I flirt. Do you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want that FINE brother!