I’ve always suffered slightly when it comes to flirting. Like the time I fell off a chair while trying to look sexy. Or when I smiled at a guy with a mouth full of cake. And then there was the ‘skirt tucked into the knickers’ incident. In fact, most of my flirting history is like an A-Z of ‘how not to win over the guy’.
And when a friend told me recently to give my latest ‘maybe’ a wink I couldn’t think of anything more disastrous. Without even attempting to do it I knew I’d probably just look like a girl with an eye defect rather than ‘possible date material’. I’m just not cool enough to pull it off.
In fact when I like someone I turn into an embarrassed teenager – I muddle up my words, go bright red if they happen to even turn their head in my direction and if I don’t trip, fall down a pot hole or accidentally head butt them (I have actually done this many times!) – I’d be very surprised. So when I was offered to attend a flirting seminar recently I didn’t need asking twice.
And apparently a bit of flirting every day helps us work, rest and play. Okay I made that bit up – but according to Jean (who runs the flirtology sessions) flirting shouldn’t just be confined to the nights when we’re guzzling down the vino. Why wait to flirt when your next date could be at your local bus stop, buying his ready meal for one in your local supermarket or perusing Balka’s latest artwork at the Tate?
But for a tongue tied no hoper like me, where do you even start? ‘Do you come here often?’ is too tacky, or just downright weird at a bus stop, ‘Get your coat you’ve pulled,’ isn’t really the start of a great romance and ‘Hi, I’m a freelance journalist,’ is probably a bit too much information when he’s just trying to buy his weekly shop.
“Be relevant,” Jean told us, “If you’re both in the wine aisle – ask if he can recommend a wine.” Wow who would have thought it was that easy? “Even if you start with a bad opener they’ll never remember,” she went on to say – phew that means even with my bad flirting experiences I may just have a few successes too.
But men, being men of course don't quite ‘get it’, even if were throwing all the right signals their way. For us an arm brush or even a ‘hi’ in our direction means they like us, for them it’s simply just a ‘hi’ and an arm brush. So if guys aren’t that great at detecting our flirting signals does that mean we should just pack our bags and go home empty handed? Nope, sometimes you just have to spell it out to them. As one man I spoke to recently said, “We’re not mind readers – if you want something just tell us.”
So what if we want a little bit more than just dating? When I started seeing Boss man recently nothing but dating was really on my mind. I was in a state of serial dating where three in one week wasn’t unusual. But after a while they all seem to merge into one another. Boss man stood out. Our first date was probably one of the best first dates I’ve been on and there was just something between us.
And as the dates kept on coming and other guys started dropping off my radar the more I wondered where it was going. I wasn’t demanding a five year plan which involved marriage, a mortgage and two kids from him, just a reassurance that he liked me. I was used to men making an effort with me. One guy I dated even googled ‘places to go on dates’ for me.
So when I said ‘I’m not dating anyone else,’ I thought it was the hint that would make him realise that I quite liked him – but either he was ignoring the ‘where is this going’ conversation or he was just being a typical man. So of course I had to bite the bullet and have ‘the chat’ with him – without, I hope, sounding too girly and pathetic.
It didn’t end like a fairytale should, but at least I knew where I stood – and isn’t that better than a ‘maybe’ or ‘I think he likes me, but I’m not sure.’ Life’s too short to be wondering if he’s on the same lines as you.
So Boss man didn’t have longevity, but maybe the ‘one’ is wandering down my favourite aisle in Sainsbury’s (the cake aisle if you were curious) or waiting for the 7.48 to St Pancras. I just need to be brave enough to not fluff my opening line, keep the conversation about wine/art/trains going and hope it doesn’t go horribly wrong so I have to either change my supermarket, stop my regular visits to art galleries (okay I never go anyway) or find an alternative route into London – fancy a hitchhiker anyone?
Wish me luck.