Who remembers this scene from the 1979 movie “Meatballs” starring Bill Murray: the tragic geek approaches an attractive girl and mutters, “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?” She responds by telling him that his fly is undone.
My boys and I found this clip on youtube and howl with laughter every time we watch it. Then recently, one of my son’s classmates hopped out of her mini-van at preschool and, prompted by her mother, said to him, “Hey good lookin’!” My son immediately glanced down at his fly and was more than a little relieved to find it zipped. But the look on his face afterward is what got me thinking. His cheeks were flushed and he had a cute little smile that told me that this little girl probably made his day by “flirting” with him.
Later that week I read an article about flirting on CNN.com called Turn on the charm – get what you want. Basically, the author argues that it doesn’t matter if you’re happily married, happily in a relationship, or single…flirting is fun. It makes the person flirting feel great and the object of the flirtation feel even better. It’s a harmless way to connect with someone, even if it’s a stranger, for a brief period of time and brighten your day.
The author goes on to say that, “when you hone your flirting skills, you’re also perfecting new ways to connect, charm, and, perhaps best of all, project confidence in yourself.” And I think everyone would agree that there’s nothing cooler (or sexier) than a confident man or woman.
The author lists several different flirting “techniques” based primarily on observing friends, but one particular technique caught my eye. When the flirter has the ability to totally focus all of his or her attention on the person they are speaking to… as if at that moment, there’s nobody else is in the room. She called this effective technique the Bill Clinton. Look at the way he’s greeting this supporter at a Democratic campaign rally. You can’t tell me that she doesn’t feel like she’s got his full, undivided attention at that moment.
I would add that flirting doesn’t even have to be with members of the opposite sex. The way I flirt with men isn’t much different than how I flirt with women. Everyone loves playful banter, even if you’re not single or looking for Mr. (or Ms.) Right. It’s light and fresh and can be a lot of fun (and let’s face it, there’s nothing more boring than being stuck talking to someone at a party without a sense of humor.) And not only does it not matter if your single or not, it’s probably easier when your not – there aren’t any expectations or fears from either party that this is more than just some fun, lively conversation.
Flirting is definitely an art form, but one that can be learned with a little practice. The basic rules are pretty simple:
Be confident in yourself (and even if you’re not, fake it…faking confidence has been shown to lead to increased confidence).
- Be approachable and look the person you’re speaking to directly in his/her eyes.
- Don’t be afraid of physical contact (for example a light touch on the forearm when you’re making a point, or getting to a good part in the story can be very effective if not overdone).
- Compliments can also be effective and flattering (but only if you mean them) when not overdone.
- Humor has got to be one of the single most effective ways to connect with someone. This doesn’t necessarily mean telling a joke – just don’t take yourself too seriously and be willing to laugh at yourself or tell a funny story if it’s related to the conversation.
- When flirting, you definitely need to be able to read a situation and understand the boundaries to make sure you don’t go too far. A little harmless flirting is one thing. Full on sexual innuendo is too much.
- I get good results when I approach someone by teasing them slightly, or go out on a limb and say something a bit unexpected. For example, I saw a cute guy in a bar in college once and asked him if he was aware that you weren’t supposed to wear white and off-white together (referring to his shirt and shorts). It really just flew out of my mouth, but I could tell he had a sense of humor and could take a little ribbing. He looked at me sort of quizzically, like he wasn’t sure exactly how to respond to a random girl giving him smart alec fashion advice, but he was a good sport. “These aren’t off-white,” he said, “they’re khaki.” We’ve been married for 15 years.
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