On Flirting: The Meeting of Eyes and Ayes and Is: Part 2–Practice
December 11, 2008 1 Comment
Dear Carla Fran,
Migraine struck again, but as it happened it worked out well. I have further results to report!
To continue where I left off in Part 1 (available here): Our mission was to flirt in the time-honored way through eye contact, smiles, coy glances etc. My friend was more experienced in this than I, but neither of us was exactly proficient at this sort of thing.
Before setting off, we were advised by male friends to play with our hair. Several demonstrated the art of concentrating all one’s “come-hitherness” into a glance–which yielded funny, if not particularly seductive, results. Flirting out of context is kind of hilarious. The most helpful advice came from a friend of mine, D, who called the activity in question “sparkling.”
“Sparkle,” D said. “For you maybe it’s not about the eyes. That’s fine. But it’s that thing that makes you fabulous to be around. You want to convey that you’re amazing, that anyone with you is lucky and shinier because of their contact with you, and that there just might be something magical between your legs.”
It was a charming little place, dark, with barber chairs instead of barstools. There was a dance floor and a wall COVERED with pink glitter. However, try as we might—and we tried hard—nobody met our gaze except for a loner who sat next to us, took one look, and turned around to drink alone. Hmph. From our end, there was only one genuinely attractivish guy–hampered by an appalling ironic moustache, and busy chatting up two ladies.
Mildly depressed, we went to Bar #2. Great lighting, deep shades of red, tiny round tables, big outdoor patio, great music—the place, in fact, where I tried working in a previous letter to you. I stood in line for the bathroom and chatted up a couple of Danish girls while my friend sat at a central table (ideal, we thought, for scoping out prospective objects on which to practice).
This was the sort of bar, it turned out, where everybody’s a) sitting down and b) already in groups, so breaking off or approaching amounts to a major (and highly visible) statement.
We decided not to get drinks there and got up to leave. At this point two gentlemen at the table next to us waved and smiled. It seemed too awkward to turn back, so we continued on our way and got ferociously ogled by two or three other men, one of whom was homeless.
At this point I’m ashamed to say we’d more or less given up. We came up with a story we’d tell our friends: that we’d hooked someone—we made him an architect, in what I think might have been an unconscious homage to Seinfeld’s Art Vandelay—didn’t like him, turned him loose.
A band—or some sort of group requiring sound equipment—was just leaving. We wondered whether there would be another. I went up to a guy in a tight red shirt who was fiddling with the microphone and asked him.
Which brings me to…
Me: “Are you guys setting up for another band?”
Him (eager): “Are you looking for live music?”
Me: “Not really. We were just wondering if there was another band coming.”
Him: “There’s a DJ. That’s music.”
Me: “Okay. Thanks.”
Him: “What kind of music are you looking for?”
Me. “Not looking specially. Just wondering.”
Him: “This was a spoken word thing. Not music. Who told you there was music here?”
Me: “Nobody. We just thought–”
Him: “If you want blues, you should try ******.”
Me (giving up): “Okay.”
Him: “There’s not a lot of live music around here. Used to be. Now the scene’s really dead.”
Me (a little desperately): “Huh. Uh. Do you play?”
Him: “As a matter of fact, I’m mixing with three bands on Sunday. You should come.”
Him: “I’m Jack.”
Me: “Hey,” and introduced myself.
Him: “So maybe I’ll see you Sunday.”
Me: “Maybe. Okay. Thanks.”
I thought that was that, but my friend told me I should try to catch his eye again during the course of the evening. I felt I’d done my job, but glanced at him a few times before he left. Alas, never caught him looking back at me. Oh well.
We were relaxed, enjoying our last drink of the evening and chatting, the experiment concluded, when, lo and behold …
He popped up in front of us, out of the blue, and leaned over a program that had been sitting on our table. He was wearing a scarf, glasses. Pretty cute. Slightly scruffy. Wanted to know if the spoken word thing was over. For which we mocked him.
My friend wasn’t into him, but he stuck around until we left. Published writer–publishes well–travels a lot. Plays an instrument, plays a sport. Possibly a little new-agey–possible red flag. He asked for our e-mail addresses, gave us his card.
Notwithstanding my pal’s underwhelmedness, I was a little excited about him. The moral, as I see it, is that the minute I stop trying to flirt, but am still in the spirit of flirting—still sparkling a little, in my friend D’s terminology—my odds go up.
I wondered whether he’d e-mail. D said to wait 3 days to a week. Remembering Swingers, I told myself 3 days was surely still standard. Nothing came. On the fourth day an e-mail popped up in my mailbox.
A couple of e-mails later, I’m a little pleased and a little surprised to report that there may be a meeting of some kind, sometime in the near future, to be arranged by phone. In “friends” mode, but still.
I still don’t understand how one establishes agency in this whole thing. I refuse to play with my hair. I think I scare people with my eyes. From the objective point of view the experiment was a failure—we didn’t initiate the contact that resulted in a bite. But for the time being, and until I perfect my sparkle, I’ll take it.