It was my birthday, and The Man, our girls, and I were awaiting our appetizers at TGI Fridays, my fav chain restaurant. (I’d scale a wall of fire ants to get to that Jack Daniels sauce.) I guess our waiter, who kept randomly coming over to make chit chat, kept directing most of his conversation at me, but I thought that was because I was the birthday girl. I was wearing a tiara and a pin on my shirt collar that said so, just in case anybody missed my beaming declarations. (Yeah, I’m one of those people.)
After some time, I noticed that The Man had kind of lost his spunk so I playfully jabbed him in the ribs and asked him if the cook had sprinkled a dash of attitude in his chicken parm. He raised his eyebrow and verbalized his sourness.
“You were flirting with that dude right in front of my face.”
“Who?” I frowned, all caught off guard.
“Our waiter,” he frowned back, face all balled up in irritation.
My name is Janelle Harris, and I’m a recovering flirtaholic. I used to be the grand dame of the art of effective flirtation. I’m not hot or sexy or even altogether fetching, honestly. I just know how to hit on that just right combination of mystique and flattery that seems to bring the boys to the yard. You know — do the Daisy Duck eyes, switch the hips like Jessica Rabbit. (Apparently I get instruction for how to employ my womanly wiles from animated characters.) And sometimes, even without my express permission, it still seeps out.
I didn’t even realize I was flirting with the dude and in all honesty, I still don’t think I was. It sure wasn’t intentional. I couldn’t even fully enjoy dousing my food in that sticky, sweet Jack Daniels sauce because The Man thought I had purposefully disrespected him. My little inner birthday banner sagged in dismay.
From that point, I really had to put my churning flirt machine in check, not because he’s insecure but because I have consideration for his feelings. Besides, if hardcore flirting is an ends to a means to get to know somebody, then it doesn’t make sense to invest that kind of energy if I’m already off the market.
You ever run into some dude you haven’t seen in a long time or have a conversation with a stranger, walk away, pause, and wonder, “was he just flirting with me?” That’s the kind of flirting I do now, that subtle, under-the-radar, harmless flirting that’s just as casual as talking about the weather or commenting on the ridiculousness of traffic. I never did the whole suggestive remarks, draping-myself-over-a-guy physical kind of flirting, anyway.
That behavior is too overt and besides that, it’ll give a gal a bad reputation quicker than you can say “easy lay.” It’s just been little compliments and sassy remarks that lead to playful teasing. The you-little-rascal taps on the shoulder or arm. That kind of thing that seems to resonate with the opposite sex — until The Man hit the scene and let me know, in very clear and explicit terms, that he wasn’t digging my inadvertent projecting.
Everybody has their personal determination between innocent flirting that’s not worth mentioning and the kind of in-your-face flirting that crosses the line into cheating. Just to be on the safe side, I think I have it scaled back to a harmless friendliness, though it hasn’t been re-tested on Friday’s waiters as of yet.
What’s your flirting style? How far is too far when it comes to flirting?
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