Saturday, September 5, 2009

To Flirt or Not to Flirt?

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a huge flirt. I'm not always aware I do it, although I'm more conscious of it lately as Sandy reminds me of this fairly regularly. I'm blessed to have a wonderful wife who, if not encourages this behaviour, at least accepts it as part of who I am. Sandy also shamelessly enjoys this sort of interaction whether on the giving or receiving end and can keep up with the best of them. I get a kick out of hearing stories of Mr. Butcher Flirtypants, Mr. Hunky Flirtiliscious Shoeguy, etc. Where stories such as these can instill feelings of intense jealousy in partners, to me it's further affirmation that we're still desirable and it should be openly welcomed.

I love these moments. If variety is the spice of life then flirtatious encounters are coloured candy sprinkles. Not everyone will agree. We all have a line that we draw, some of us are just more generous with our chalk. Is it okay to flirt when you're married or is it another form of cheating, a kind of verbal dry-humping? Perhaps as married folk we're doomed to burn in the eternal fires of hell for even noticing members of the opposite sex. The good thing is that many of the people who are flirting back with us will be down there too, so the fun will never end. And we'll be warmer through the winter months. Win-win.

So how do we define flirting? What makes its shallow waters so inviting to swim in? How do we keep it at once fun yet safe? I have my own guidelines, I started listing them but scrapped it after it started to sound like a cheesy primer on "How to pick up chicks". Cringe.

One thing I will say is that familiarity can breed trouble. I've seen innocuous flirting escalate to affairs that have broken up relationships. Yes, there's an element of danger involved in flirting which requires those involved to determine where their lines are drawn and stay within them.

Through this I've learned that it's best to keep it away from those we're around regularly. The occasional wink, smile or blush between strangers is enough to add some candy sprinkles to my days. As long as I remember where I get my dessert .


  1. LOL! OK I loved this post because I understand it in a lot of ways. T. is not a flirt. I can be a flirt but it's always pretty overt when I am single because I am not a subtle wench.

    Now, since I am in love with T. I would say that I am not a flirt unless it is with people who are "safe" which means our friends who are happily coupled. Then it comes out as playful banter and everyone has a giggle about it.

    The more dangerous stuff is when people think someone is flirting when they are not (I got accused of this a lot in the past and I still feel that many people misconstrue an interest in getting to know about a person as flirting since our society is jam-packed with superficial realtionships and interactions).

    As well, there is the spice factor.

    When people struggle (or have struggled) with self-esteem issues, I can state from my own past experiences that people then tend to seek validation from outside sources.

    So I think that's where my chalk lines are -- going there would be crossing them.

  2. Thanks S.C., that's an interesting read! For myself, even though I feel my self-esteem is in check (Sandy will even say I'm too cocky sometimes!) I have to admit the attention can be at times quite flattering; a smile or a kind word can make my day. But that's as far as it goes.

    I enjoy being in the company of women, Sandy likes being around men. Seems pretty natural to me. If there's a flirtatious exchange here or there I don't see any harm in it, as long as we take it for what it is and nothing more. A person can only be lead down a path if they allow themselves to be.

    And I SO agree with what you said about people mistaking showing interest for flirting. It's something I was going to touch on before I deleted it. This has such an impact on budding friendships between men and women (and is one of the things that can make them so $@^&%$* complicated).

    It also speaks to why I've held back genuine compliments far too often, for fear of being misunderstood. It's sad really, because there are so many people who appreciate them.

    I think ultimately the acceptability of flirting comes down to the viewpoints of all parties involved. In other words, if my wife wasn't comfortable with the idea of me flirting (which isn't that often), then I wouldn't out of respect for her.

    I believe by definition flirting isn't flirting unless the recipient accepts it. If not, it's harrassment and should cease.

    In fact if anyone sees flirting as harmful it should stop immediately. While it can be one of life's little pleasures it's not worth a broken heart.

  3. Well said, my dear!

    I've actually been pondering a blog post on along a similar vein and yours was just lovely to see since, by my verbose reply, you can see it's been on my mind.


  4. I say flirt away! Although I've had instances where my friendliness has been misconstrued as flirtiness... I need to be careful. Not sure how it will all be if I was attached to a better half. I have no clue how I would feel so I guess it's TBD. As of right now, I say flirt away!!!!

  5. Cindy, when one is single - of course one can flirt as much as one wants :>

  6. It's funny, I never viewed flirting as inappropriate in a relationship, I guess because we've both always been comfortable with it.

    Some would consider it disrespectful to their partner, and I respect that view. I guess we all have to determine what works for us.

  7. Ok, so being the wife of Mr. Flirty, I thought I'd add my two cents to this chain.

    I think I'm partly to "blame" for Barry's flirtiness. He learned from me. I have never denied that I am very openly flirty. A good friend of mine (hey LeeAnn) would definitely agree. She's seen me in action. Not necessarily one of my finer moments ... was having a VERY bad day ... but she can certainly attest to my ways.

    Anyway, the way I see it, and I TOTALLY respect everyone's view on this matter because it is a VERY personally matter. I think it's ok to flirt with someone you've never met before, someone you have little to do with or see only occasionally. My observation, and experience, is that the trouble starts when you are flirting with someone who you work with, see often, make a point of seeing, etc. As Barry has said, it's a fine line. And I think we have different ideas on what flirting is. I'll flash a big smile and guys will go the extra mile. It's a little different from just being friendly but it's harmless. Is getting into sex talk and arranging to meet drawing the line ... absolutely! Or at least in my mind it is.

    I could go on and on (which Barry will probably attest to) but I'm tired and 4:15 comes awfully early in the morning. Suffice it to say, that in my view, if both people are confident enough in themselves and their significant others, and they're both ok with it, then it's ok do some harmless firting. But if either party (and people have to be honest with their partners) are at all uncomfortable with the idea, then the "flirty one" should respect their partner enough to refrain.

    Yeah, I know, this was more like a dollar's worth than 2 cents, but hey ... that life!

    Have a great day everuone!