Who wouldn’t agree that flirting is fun? It’s a dance that makes you feel attractive and strokes the ego. Like everything thrilling, there’s an element of danger. In my world, there are three levels of flirting:
Harmless: These are the people you’ve known forever. They trust you; you trust them. They pat you or kiss you. You know their spouses and their children. They tell you that you look pretty and then they go back to good behavior.
Medium: The hand strays a bit. The kiss is too long. The compliments get a little lewd. Some sort of sexual innuendo comes into play.
Over the Top: I will kiss you hello but please don’t try to put your tongue in my mouth. I will hug you but please don’t grope me. I will dance with you but please don’t throw me around like I’m your play doll of the moment.
I love to flirt. I love men. Most of all, I love my husband. That doesn’t stop me from finding other men interesting or him from finding other women attractive. As long as everyone behaves, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
Hmm. I have a really different view. I don’t consider the “harmless” displays of affection with a good friend actually flirting – especially when you’re all out together with your respective spouses/significant others. To me they are what they are. I do, however, think the ongoing “medium” grade (and above) flirting Sheri refers to can be fodder for the danger zone, and I’ve seen these innocent encounters turn into full-blown affairs – many times – especially when one is “lonely” or “not happy in their current relationship”. In my opinion, body language is the key and tells all.
My thought? Keep the flirtations in private if you’re going to truly flirt or be prepared to join the rumor mill wall of fame. You never know who’s watching or listening. Things can be misconstrued, taken out of context and passed on as gossip. I see and hear it each and every day. I’ll give you an example. I was in a coffee shop one afternoon and a really nice looking guy about my age walked in. He was by himself until two very cute, bouncy high school girls walked in. One girl immediately appeared to be “all over him”. I thought to myself, “What a scumbag. He’s going for a teenager!” I had to hang my head in shame. When the girls left, one of them said “Thank you for the coffee, dad!”. I hear gossip at least once a week about this person or that person and how they are having an affair – and I know it’s just not true. That’s how juicy rumors begin.
Me? Like everything else in my life, I would be a private flirter. I walked into the shopping mall 2 weeks ago and a nice (cute) high school boy held the door for me. Then, he told me to have a good day. Then, he said “You’re a** looks really good in those white pants”. Instead of being flattered at this over the top flirtation, I ran for the nearest dress rack, totally embarrassed!
Inappropriate? Yes. Over-the-top? No.
Body language is certainly a key factor. Having an unwelcome tongue stuck down your throat is another. Obviously, people define flirting in different ways.
Regardless, the rumor mill will keep on churning.