Basically, we’re shit at flirting.
I am a terrible flirt. I don’t mean in the cheeky “ooh you’re a TERRIBLE flirt” way – I mean I am pretty dreadful at performing A Flirt. Lots of people think they’re bad too – I know. And the people who are good (not sure what “good” means – will get to that) – or well-practiced at it always ends up seeming a bit sleazy don’t they.
No one had done any flirting on me for years (on account of having been in a long-term relationship), but I definitely remember noticing it more now as a grown up, now that we’re not clouded by teenage hormones and “snog? lunchtime? back of science block?” note-passing. I even distinctly remember when I first noticed A Flirt being done on me since The Single Years began. At a party about 2 years ago when a friend of a friend made some sort of saucy but not sleazy comment about my outfit to which I turned to a girlfriend and yelped OH MY GOD IS HE DOING FLIRTING ON ME??? I responded by dropping quite a bit of my drink on his shoes as I turned back around to face him, obviously. Took my seat firmly in the friend zone in record time with that one. Ah well.
Anyway – my inability to flirt probably ties in nicely with my inability to spot it being done to me, unless it’s horribly obvious (ie borderline sleazy-style). For example, the lovely chap who recently told me he owned a very comprehensive book about oral sex. Blatant I can understand. Blatant is good and helpful. Blatant works.
There are basic signs, right? Touching… eye contact… smiles… but all easily misinterpreted, aren’t they? I mean – I like to get a bit handsy. Not in a slutty way – just in a (I suspect, over)familiar way. Like in an “ol’ buddy ol’ pal” shoulder pat sort of way. And I’m a girl – so I like greeting people with a cuddle. If you want it to go flirty it’s easy to take it from there with a subtle grab of the bottom. No? Oh. A little stroke of the neck then. That’s perfectly harmless, right? I can’t wink, on account of only really having 1 fully functioning eye anyway. I do like holding eye contact for an uncomfortably long time, though. Always fun.
Can’t use my hair in any sort of sexy ladylike way either on account of it usually being held in place with 300 bobby-pins, a couple of flowers, a bird, probably a bit of lunch, a lot of hairspray… well… we’ve discussed the hair problem before. I’m not a particularly hot or sexy looking lady – that’s fine. I have other qualities. Like a detailed knowledge of Georgian chimney designs. And I can make my tongue wiggle in to the shape of a flower. And despite my general overall wobbly exterior, I have an OK-ish bottom and ample bosom.
I’m not great at ‘selling myself'(clearly) in that flirty way where you somehow manage to explain in a sexy list of harmless yet ever-so charming innuendos how you’re brilliant in bed and handy with a pingpong ball and can tie cherry stalks in to knots with your tongue and don’t mind a bit of light bondage etc – you know – the classics. My ‘flirting’ banter usually just involves brutal honesty, shame, tales of past failure, and often, quite a bit of dribble escaping my mouth either mid-conversation, whilst ‘sexily’ sucking on a straw as a lump of lime from a gin and tonic shoots up and becomes lodged in my throat/teeth, or during an over-dramatic gasp whilst playing out one of those near-scripted conversations about “ooh aren’t you good with your hands” “oh you don’t know the half of it” and so on.
At a friend’s BBQ recently, I was subjected to some amazing examples of flirting (I was basically the only single girl there, so that helped, in some very sad and slightly uncomfortable way) which made me actually consider what would be better or more effective. My favourite was “so… your phone is red… it matches… your dress. And hair… cool.” At a close second was a lengthy ‘discussion’ about how I was waiting around for a sausage.
Needless to say – I’m a straight forward type of gal. And from Essex. Whilst I do love a bit of cheesy flirty banter, it does make my cheeks go awfully pink and I do often need to relay every single detail of the entire conversation to others (usually Panda – thanks/sorry) before they’re able to correctly interpret for me and say YES – YOU HAVE BEEN FLIRTED and I can attempt to proceed. I’m more of a cheeky boob-grab, playful slap on the bum, laugh in a mocking way at my pronunciation of founTAIN and mounTAIN, then grab my face for a proper snog as I drop my bag on the floor in a fumbly bumbly frenzy kind of gal.
I’ve been casting my mind back to my single days and thinking about my flirting style and realised I never really did it. Well I guess in my head I thought I was but I’ve since realised that instead of coming across like I was interested in that person I actually looked like I hated them deeply. I used to try to do the eye gaze thing but was told my ‘sexy eyes’ actually looked like a death stare and if we ended up having a conversation I’ve been told my voice is so monotone that I seem totally disinterested and sarcastic. Add to that the fact that If I did like you, It was programmed in me not to show it, the conversation would mostly consist of me taking the piss out of you.
This probably explains why I never got asked out on many dates.
Because of this cool (psychopathic) exterior I never really had a lot of flirting done on me either. The ones that dared to were always a bit, well for want of a better word – WACKY, Comedy Colin, Crazy Dave, you know the sort. When I was a barmaid one started serenading me ……Actual singing to me in a public place with other people watching, laughing, fucking mortifying. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?? STOP THAT!! STOP FUCKING SINGING!!
I never went for the charming flirt in my 20’s, the few times it was attempted on me ‘Wow I could get lost in your eyes’ I rolled my eyes and walked away. The ones that took the piss out of me, the cocky ones, the complete WRONGUNS they were the ones that caught my attention.
Then I got in a relationship and was a flirt free zone for a very long time. So when I found myself single again EVERYTHING was different. For a start a lot of my social life was now on a computer. INTERFLIRTING!! This was shiny new and exciting with added LOLS and smiley faces. Also confusing (see Crumpets post about xxx’s) ‘Ooooh he put a x on the end of that Tweet WHAT DOES IT MEEEEEAN??????’ ‘Shall I friend request him on Facebook? Oh no I can’t, but I wanna OH GOD’
I met my other half on Twitter, we were both shit at flirting. Our tweets sometimes had a mild undercurrent, he once commented on a picture of me and said it made his knees turn to trifle. I bloody love trifle so I knew we were on to something. But as he’s a lovely friendly bloke to everyone I never thought he fancied me. Then we ended up meeting to go to the cinema (Not a date) I had said I was taking my son to see Ghostbusters and he pretty much invited himself along. There was no flirting then (Would have been mega sleazy with a six-year-old in tow) But once he did lean slightly near me in the cinema WAS THIS FLIRTING??
Like all 30 year olds it took someone else to tell me he liked me ‘My mate fancies you’ type thing. I was mega surprise but excited as we were meeting up for some Twitter thing. Crumpet was subtle, when we arrived she announced loudly that J should sit in the middle of us, which he did. We then spent the rest of the day ‘Flirting’; (Slightly leaning on each other with arm touching)
Fast forward a few hours and we were down the pub, I was managing to do nice eye contact and actual smiles, at one point he sniffed my hair SNIFFED MY HAIR!! I knew I was totally in there. But then Crumpet my wing man was going so I went to go too but she was all ‘No you stay, J you’ll look after her right RIGHT??’ With lots of winking and giggling and me trying to subtlety kick her.
Nothing actually happened that night, we were back to INTERFLIRTING which we were both crap at, even hiding behind our computers we didn’t have the guts to flirt. We didn’t actually end up going on a date till a good 6 weeks later, even then we were both useless. More arm touching and leaning in the cinema….We’re the King and Queen of the leany flirt. We held hands right at the end of the date although he’ll tell you it was after dinner IT WASN’T.
So I’m not really any better at flirting now than I’ve ever been. When I’m trying to be all nice and flirty with Mr P I do that hair twiddling thing, and I definitely have a ‘Look’ now which I think is more sexy than psycho (Hopefully) and I think he definitely knows when I say ‘Put the kettle on Spaz head’ It actually means ‘I really love you, you handsome beast’ or something.
I dunno I think there’s something quite creepy and calculating about the ‘Expert flirt’. I’d take a bumbling, embarrassed, clumsy spaz over a smooth talking, charming Romeo any day of the week.