Lovelies:

As I mentioned on Friday, I had a minorly-disastrous flirting escapade last week. In brief, for those of you who missed the last post: I marched up to a stranger at a bar and said, "I thought I'd just come over and say hello!" We shook hands, chatted for a few amiable minutes, and then I said, "Well, I should take off, but maybe we can grab coffee sometime?" At which point he introduced the lovely woman who'd been standing next to him ...

She was his fiancee.

Lesson learned?

You might think it would be: Maura Kelly, thou shalt never again go near a hetero male at a bar with the intention to flirt IF he is standing next to a hetero woman.

But that conclusion would be wrong-headed, methinks.

Why? In answering that, let me start with a quote from Mark Twain:

"The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either."

In other words, I could cut myself off from plenty of perfectly good flirtatious opportunities if I vowed never to speak to a man standing next to a woman again.

So, okay the real lesson learned ...

FLIRTATIOUS EMBARRASSMENTS ARE REALLY NOT THAT EMBARRASSING

I'm going to let my darling friend Zac Frank* explain why this is the case.

After I told him about what happened, he said, "I think that was a great encounter for you to have. Experience a few more interactions like that, and eventually you'll begin to realize that embarrassment is meaningless. That will encourage you to engage in more potentially 'embarrassing' behavior--which really isn't all that embarrassing at all--and suddenly you'll be meeting new people all the time!"

Exactly!

The fact is, though I felt a little goofy and silly after the flirt-scapade went bad, there was no harm done. Afterwards, I just skated out the door--and no one was any wiser. In fact, I actually giggled to myself about it the whole ride home--and knew it would be a great story to tell my friends. (And you!)

If you're like me, I bet you think that if you try to flirt with someone, and you're shot down, the whole world is going to know! But the truth is, often the only peeps who know are you (the flirter) and the flirtee, and maybe some of the flirtee's friends. And the flirtee and his friends are, in most cases, complete strangers. So who cares if you are ever so slightly embarrassed in front of people you will probably never see again? Are you with me?

AT THE SAME TIME ...

HERE'S SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO MAKE SURE FLIRTATIONS WITH STRANGERS ARE REALLY NOT THAT EMBARRASSING

-Aim for a friendly dude.

I will admit that part of what made the whole experience so low-impact was the guy himself: He was a total mensch about the whole thing; a truly nice guy. And if you'll recall, his friendly face was the main thing that drew me to him.

-Remind yourself you're just going over for a friendly "Hello, how do you do?"--not a ring.

In other words, the stakes are really low. The thought I had in my head when I marched over to this guy was NOT: I hope I will marry him! Neither was it: I hope he will fall madly for me! Also not: This man is going to be the father of my love-child!

All I was thinking was: I want to make the most of this party; I want to meet that nice-looking dude and find out what his deal is. So that's what I did. I asked him how he ended up at the party, and if he--like most of the other people there--was a writer, and that was enough to get a chat going.

-Aim low.

Seriously. Just till you get used to flirting, and you develop a thicker skin. The guy I flirted with at the bar was cute, but he was wearing beat-up jeans and an old T-shirt. He wasn't the best-looking or best-dressed guy in the place by a long shot; he wasn't a flashy Casanova sending drinks all over the bar. With a guy like that, you might be more likely to have an awkward interaction. With a low-key dude--with most dudes, I think--even if they're not terribly interested, chances are low that are going to be complete donkeys when approached by lovely ladies such as yourselves. You know?

So ... all right, guys. You with me on this?

xxx!

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*Zac Frank is his real name!

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DEAR COMMENTERS:

Sorry I've been a little lax in responding! Busy times over here at Maura Kelly HQ.

Marissa: we're glad to have you on the site, finally! Thanks for pushing through! (Other readers: If you are having trouble commenting, it may be your browser that's the problem. If you're using Internet Explorer, try Safari instead.)

Xen: Yes, why not try moving forward with your Buddhism stuff, and see how that feels?

And Proud Canadian: My dad IS pretty cute, I have to admit. It's funny to actually say that, given how many times I've wanted to kill him in the past, but he is.

S-25: Hang in there, and don't give up hope!

What Do You Think?