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.