Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Dave: Flirting

Perhaps it’s nostalgic misrepresentation, but flirting seemed so much easier in our youth. You could read the signals far more competently. You and your mates would be loitering in one of the local parks, drinking Merrydown Cider and giving each other spinning blow-backs off a single joint. You’d plonk yourself down on a vacant bench and she’d come and sit on your lap. And you could tender your intentions with equal clarity by ripping the piss out of her then stuffing clumps of mud down her top. Ah, great days.

We just went with what we felt. The potential consequences didn’t appear to bother us so much. Or at least we lacked the experiences life throws at us over the years, to corrupt our hopes and courage.

Now however, we are perpetually surrounded by the medium of fantasy. Engulfed by literary characters and heroes of the silver screen. To the point where it has created expectations, as we lose our grip on reality. Confused between desirable and down right fictional.

Flirting – isn’t it supposed to be subtle? The more discreet, the sexier? Potent glances across the bar. A shy smile. A flick of the hair. All highly impractical in a world (or at least society) whereby we struggle even to read the signals from our own gender. What? Are you feeling unhappy, angry, confused, horny, flatulent?

Flirting is the sexiest part of the ritual. When it works. Solely because of the uncertainty, the mystery and above all the fantasy. It’s entirely an act. Albeit a pretty sexy one. Nobody wants honesty. We want to be dazzled, seduced by the sexy siren or the international man of mystery. Performances. Certainly we want to belief a truth of being desired but as long as it is charismatically swathed in bubble-wrap.

That wonderful scene in Tootsie when Julie (played by Jessica Lange), frustrated with men and their flirting techniques, vents to Dustin Hoffman’s Dorothy how she wishes a man would just be up front and come up and tell her “I find you very interesting and I’d really like to make love to you” So Michael, as himself, tries the very same line on her at a party and receives a glass of champagne in the face. Predictable? Of course. But that’s the point.

Honesty no longer has a place in flirting. In fact, it’s the most likely quality to kill any sexual yearning on her part. If however you have a particular fetish for pitying expressions and sibling-style hugs, then let the truth out in all its unadulterated glory.

Bring back the days when sexual blossoming negated any personal expectations. Before women became truly aware of their sexual clout and the insecurities that come with that. Bring back the shyness, the giggles, the headlocks, and the exuberant groping. And rid the world of expensive dinners, cheesy grins, prosaic yarns, and unambiguous social roles. Strip down the responsibilities of financier and mannequin. And restore the joy of flirting.


Silicon Limey said...

Interesting piece, and true in a lot of ways. As adults we're constantly being conditioned to avoid such free and easy ways in case we're thought of as sluts/himbos and yet I can't help feeling we'd all be happier if a little more honest was applied.

But it's not all bad news, especially in Britain. Be it after too much alcohol in a pub or too many pills in a club, the Brits when inebriated are just as freewheeling as in the days of yore

Anonymous said...

Don't remember it like that. I recall being chatted up by a grunt and nod of the head vaguely in your direction, slobbery snogs and clumsy gropes, and the universe - apart from your mother- conspiring to make you hide your disgust and feign nonchalance. And then there was the seering embarassment that cut you to the core at the slightest slight or social failing.....wouldn't be a teenager again for anything. I think it might be worse now too because of the pervasiveness of media stereotyping of what is normal and what is success........and so many young people are self-harming and committing suicide.

Boy said...

Life would be easier if girls just came up and said "you're attractive, let's talk". It wouldn't be as much fun though, by a long way. I love flirting, but I think it's only fun when you're pretty sure of success.