Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I’m of the sanguine/melancholic personality temperament. This means I’m an extrovert, the perfect person to invite to a party, randomly seeking and thriving on spontaneous acts of communication with strangers, or alternatively, in the quiet solitude, sadly wading through the fetid pond of tragedy and cruelty. I’ve developed a fondness for both.
Extroversion is often mistaken for flirtation. Regardless of the difference however, I’m a natural. Some of the lesser evolved amongst us consider flirting shameful, a come-on, a threat to the natural (relational) order of things. From my point of view, the reality is very different; there’s nothing remotely sexual about it. I see it as engaging in the art of interpersonal communication, exploring the links that connect us, the differences, similarities. The primary thing that interests and excites me, besides my kids and writing of course, is people. How they think, feel, act. I’m thankful therefore for my Italian-ness, as flirting, a noble tradition in the land of my ancestors, and akin to running a bath, is something I do well, and enjoy. And it’s not hard. Really! I’ve thought about running classes in it! You’ve just got to be a bit expressive, show who you are through your face, accentuate the positive, and be interested. Ask questions. Men love it, love to talk about themselves. So do women of course but women are far more adept at conversation than men. I see flirting as an opportunity to practise confidence, self-assuredness. God knows we need that kind of medicine much as we need breath. When you live alone in the boondocks and listen to the sound of your own voice 24/7, a continent of space and time and silence between you and your twin, the social butterfly, one’s melancholic tendencies can’t resist the opportunity to swing violently between self-deprecation and turbulent emotion. Keeping the drama on the page is a useful technique in redirection, but despite my practises to quieten this lumpy terrain, eliminating the negative can be hard work. Needless to say, when I pop on a frock and venture out of the hills, I pop out of my self-centred maudlinism and into the space that encompasses others, that invites dialogue, that craves their knowledge and stories. It’s an elixir, the wheels that turn this woman’s lot into a fortunate life.
Sooner or later my well-honed skill is going to attract somebody strong enough, open to be challenged enough, charismatic enough, or interesting/interested enough to make flirting a thing of the past. Or will it?
Lessons in the art of flirting offered for a reasonable exchange.