As some of you know … on Friday night I went out to the Vancouver Art Gallery Fuse event. I went with friends, there were lots of people of all shapes, sizes and ages, interesting venue, things to do and see all built right in. A perfect place to practise the Lost Art of Flirting. Or so I thought.
Turns out I have lost what was once one of my distinguishing behaviour patterns. Now to be fair I have known for some time that I have let my flirting credentials lapse, and I have many a great reason for it (which will be addressed in another blog post – stay tuned). But here is the thing … I used to love flirting, I mean LOVE it. It was fun for me, a game of sorts, a playful way to interact and express myself. It wasn’t a mating dance for me, it was a dance.
When I graduated university, and came out to BC, I put it away under the guise of “professionalism”… Like Grown Ups don’t do that. And it will reduce my credibility. And apparently it isn’t something that I can do only on the weekends, or in the right company … I am betting that since it is such a part of who I am as a person that to “turn it off” in one segment of my life I have had to turn it off everywhere. And so I do it on very rare occasions in very specific circumstances.
Now I don’t want to suggest that my flirting abstinence is what has led to my single status, but I bet it doesn’t help. There is a way where I used to transmit the message: come get me. I now transmit: don’t bother me. So while it might not be the cause … it might be a part of the remedy. In this whole new adventure of “getting myself out there” it isn’t just about dates, it is about being available, including for small, fun interactions and communication.
So it is time to start exploring this idea of flirting, from a whole different lens than I did in university, where it just happened unconsciously and freely.
I mentioned in my video about this concept that occurred to me on Friday … that of Performance Flirting. It is a bit like On Demand Flirting, in that it is not about the object of my flirtation, or whether I am or am not attracted to them, but rather it is about being able to flirt with everyone and even everything. It is about the Practise of flirting – a bit like mindfulness or kindness can be a practise, something we commit to doing everyday to develop an ability or a muscle so that it grows stronger. And we do it whether we feel it or not in that moment. Like doing squash skill drills, so that when you get to the big game you are in top mental and physical shape for the game. It has become clear to me that this is something that I need to do.
And in stepping out into this Brave New World there are a few things I want to keep in mind.
The Triple Tools of Flirting…
- Doing vs Being. Most of associate certain actions with flirting. The long held gaze, the partial or full smile, maybe playing with our hair or touching their arm. And those things sure pack a punch. And yes, I will be dabbling in the exploration of all of those. But I think the real depth of the experience comes from how we are BEING while we are flirting. Does our energy reflect the actions, or are we just going through the motions? For me the BEING of flirting, really flirting … is open, engaged, playful, inviting, receptive and unattached. That’s the key. And then bring that together with the doing of flirting – intoxicatingly irresistible cocktail.
- Who’s it for? Once when I was leading a CTI workshop one of my co-leaders helped me to make a really important distinction. Flirting, the traditional kind of flirting anyway … is mostly for the other person. It is signalling, letting them know that I am available, interested in them, etc. It is giving them the green light. Being sexy, letting myself be my sexiest self, that is not for anyone else but me. That is not a signal (although I suspect there will be moths straight for that flame when I finally pull that out), as much as an internal experience that I don’t keep private. Letting myself enjoy having this body. Revelling in the pleasure of being alive, with all that entails, experiencing every event as fully as possible. That translates to being sexy, and to being a magnet, even when that is not the intended outcome. I want to play in that land, too.
- Calibration. That last thing I want to talk about is the “Degrees of Flirting”. Some time ago, when I noticed that the way I was reacting to someone I was attracted to was to ignore them and specifically avoid eye contact with them, I knew that something was WAAAYYYYY off. So I made a little flirting scale and used it to evaluate where I am over-calibrating and under-calibrating around flirting. And I discovered that there is a middle ground, my sweet spot … that goes all the way from the “The Invitation” (intense locked eye contact, big warm smile, open heart) to “Mischief” (intense, held eye contact, with a little twinkle of … you guessed it, mischief, a half smile, a cocked eyebrow and a kind of come play with me energy) to “Come Hither” (intense eye contact, little smirk, come get me if you dare energy). For me, the next stage of my exploration into the adventure of flirting involves sticking there, no running and hiding, no playing small … and doing it daily, with everyone I come into contact with.
It’s going to be a stretch and feel uncomfortable (trying on these Triple Tools of Flirting listed above) … but that is how I will return to my fighting weight when it comes to flirting.