How to Avoid an Embarrassing Flirtation Situation

Was the elevator flirtation successful? I think so ... and here's why I think it worked for me, and why it could work for YOU, too.

My lovelies:

On Friday, I told the story of my last-ditch effort to flirt at a party, just as I was walking out the door. The (quite cute) object of my (admittedly random) affection seemed skeptical at first, when I said to him, "Hey, look, I'm too tired to stay, but I didn't get any flirting in up at there at the penthouse fiesta, so now I'm going to flirt with you, okay?" ... But after a minute, he started to smile, and in the end, I had the feeling he was actually quite pleased, maybe even touched, that I'd accosted him.

A bunch of you guys wrote in or Twittered to say you were impressed by my boldness. Much as I'd like to claim credit for my courage, it was more of an automatic response than a conscious decision.

But in that, maybe there's a flirting tip: As Neil Strauss advised me a while back, there is a benefit to flirting without goals. He said that by simply making an effort to engage in small talk with people, you get your flirting muscles warmed up. And similarly, ever since I started writing this blog, I've been saying to myself every night that I go out to a party or a bar: Look, kiddo, you can't leave without saying hello to at least one dude you've never met before. Okay?

Now, a lot of times, as I think you know, I haven't been able to meet my own goal: I've skated out of bars without introducing myself to a single person, feeling too shy or too low-self-esteem or too whatever. I've also introduced myself to the exact WRONG person on occasion. But I think simply having this goal in mind--one flirt a night!--has helped me get used to the idea of doing it. So when an opportunity strides towards me--in the form of a man walking down the corridor towards the elevator at me, for instance--I don't over-think things. I just do it.

Another thought: A really simple pick-up line seems to work well. In the case of my recent failed flirtation mission, all I said was Hey, I wanted to introduce myself to you, so here I am. Hello! And I think that line actually worked fairly well ... it's just too bad I used it on a guy who happened to be engaged.

And in the elevator situation last week, I was clear about my intentions: I was flirting. Admitting that seemed to disarm my victim. I was also ever so slightly funny: The sub-text to my line was: Yeah, yeah, flirting, it's supposed to be fun, I just want to get it over with so I can go home, so can you help me out here buddy?

I think another thing that made my flirtation successful was that there was a time constraint involved: The closing elevator door! And the fact that I was on my way out. Both of these things helped to make it clear I wasn't going to chew this guy's ear off. I was going to demand his attention for a limited time only ... and then I was going to disappear. It's the good ol' law of supply-and-demand: Make yourself scarce, and you've made yourself a little more valuable.

Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking: Listen, Maura, girl, what are you crowing about? How do you know your flirtation techniques were even successful? How do you know that guy you stopped on his way to the elevator doesn't think you're a lunatic?

Good question, my lovely readers, and that's one of the many reasons I like you guys: You're keeping me honest, keeping me on my toes.

But I think we can safely say the flirtation went all right, because the next day I received an email from the fellow in question.

He wrote to say:

Hey maura--thanks for flirting with me last night. arbitrary as it may have been, i'm glad i was the guy in the hall when you came out of the elevator. so tell me, how do you know Duval [the party hostess]?"

Not bad, right? And we're supposed to get a drink this week ... so ... I'm not holding my breath, but it's certainly something to look forward to.



also, dear commenters:

thanks for the love on friday, edwinna and rae!