“There is something about him that rather interests me, a sort of sauciness . . . he may be an agreeable [sic] flirt." --Jane Austen, Lady Susan
I love the proposition proposed by an LA Times writer some years back: “bring back flirting.” The author captures the essence of flirting beautifully and succinctly when he writes:
"Flirting, the delicious art of saying nothing and everything."
Indeed it is. Flirting can suggest great potential or it can be simply nothing more than a little teasing fun in the moment, a little repartee and…hey, back to business, life goes on. I confess though, it does put a little pep in my step and it’s perfectly ok with me if it goes absolutely nowhere beyond that one or two minutes of smiles and giggles.
So what’s happened to it?
What’s happened to us?
Have we forgotten how to do it?
Do we even know what a flirt is, or how to flirt? Better, how many of us can even identify when (or if) we’re being flirted with– beyond the cliché act of having a drink sent over to our tables? If you do know, are you open or are you closed to it? And what about all of those self-proclaimed flirts out there? Would you consider yourself a good one?
Flirting is fun! Flirting is whimsy and it's really really 'not that serious.' Yet, this would not seem to be the case, at least here in the DMV. Agreed, flirting with your friend's girl/guy is not appropriate, but a random person who catches your eye, why not? You may never ever see them again and wouldn't it be devilishly fun, for a hot minute, to raise their heart rate a beat or two?
Random DMVers, of all ages and backgrounds, seem a little surprised and even confused on the subject of flirting. Men were mostly confused, some men that is. Women, most women, were rather prudish or maybe just uptight. I can't say I fault them however. Some guys can be a little rough on a woman navigating the streets of D.C. Not all men behave like gentlemen and are sweet and charming (except if they're from Texas). Both sexes offered up some surprising, humorous, expected and even spooky replies when asked:
“What would you do, or think, if you were walking down the street or maybe exiting or entering the metro and a guy/girl winked at you?”
“If it was just in passing on the street, I’d be baffled and while I would want to take it as an indication of a desire for more interaction, I don’t think I would. I wouldn't count on it. If I decided to act on it would depend on how brave I was feeling at the moment.”
“I’d say he was trying to get my attention. He’s making a connection and he’s interested.”
“Is it flirting? No. I think it’s cheesy.”
“She’s acknowledging my existence in a positive way but the other thing I would wonder is if I misinterpreted it in an important way. One thing I have learned, from experience, created immediate self-doubt. The wink was meant for the guy behind me!”
"I happen to wink a lot actually and so I might give off different messages at different times. Sometimes I’ll wink if it just means acknowledgement, like to say “Hi ya” and then sometimes I’m definitely sending out a 'message,' but I make it very clear that that is the message I’m giving out.
“I would find it offensive and arrogant. It suggests an expectation of interaction and engagement. It’s like him saying “I can get you” and I’m just not going to engage him. It’s like the guy is saying he knows he’s "the stuff." Now, if it was in a different place, say in a bar? I might have a totally different response."
“I would wink or smile back," says the girl. Conversely, her date (a guy) replies, “What did she look like?”
What's in a flirt or in this specific case, a wink? Let's bring back the art of simple, sweet, innocent flirting. Your mission -should you decide to accept it- is to: "Lighten up, Francis." Have a little fun! Wink at a guy/girl, or both. Pretend you're in Paris, France...whatever it takes, but don't go all Pepe Le Pew on them, and then? Tell me about it, either below or at DCSociallifestyle@gmail.com.