Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Art of the Flirt

I have wanted to write this for a long time but I keep putting it off as some people might find the topic to be off putting. But, after listening to some local talk show radio host tackle the subject the other day, I realized that the time has come for some words of wisdom on the subject. Being the only one available on the payroll, I will assume that task.

The ultimate flirt is not about sex at all. Actually, a good flirt is a one-time thing; a flash which you remember for its brightness and surprise. If you wind up taking it further than that it becomes a whole new ball game; lots of rules there. A flirt is spontaneous; and beyond any rules. An example;

I’m in my car riding along; stop for a red light outside one of the nicer malls. (This is an actual event - not one of those dream sequences.) Car pulls up next to me with a good looking woman in it. She’s doing her hair, fixing her lipstick, oblivious to my watching. She looks over; startled; and I give her the A-OK sign and a wink. 

Now, I never wink. That’s something only guys like Clark Gable, or really cool cab drivers can pull off well. But I did; she was caught off guard and blushing, gave a little wave of thanks as the light changed and we drove off, never to meet again.

The idea is that a good flirt makes both parties feel good about themselves; as well as displaying an attraction for the other person. Not necessarily physical, either. Just something between two people on a personal level; could be at the store where you shop. That fun little exchange of banter when you go through the checkout; it means something to both of you. You both get to feel special; and if you’re old, still viable.

But most flirting is instantaneous, and then the moment is gone. That magic has sailed. Remember the voyage; because that’s a moment you’ll never get back. They write songs about it.

I must be wrong; because most of the callers put it all down to sex and conquest. The men and women were equally predatory. I put that down to too much of TV’s “The Bachelorette.”

Here’s a poem I wrote in 1984 in New York City; a wonderful place for flirting. At least it used to be. This was my reaction to one of those moments. As I said, they write songs about it.

She Took Me

She took me;
quite by surprise;
as I was walking;
one hand grazing a sandstone stoop.

In passing,
I turned my head
to see her face and
the quizzical, puzzled look –

Not without affection or fondness
for whatever it was that she could see
at that moment.
A look as if
she wanted to know more…

East 73rd at Madison Avenue
August 22nd, 1985

The illustration at the top is Eugene Blaas' 1902 "Flirtation at the Well."

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