Today, I'd like to discuss a crucial aspect of any attempted flirtation: le time constraint.
As you'll recall, on Friday, when giving you Dating Coach John Keegan's tips for initiating conversations with strangers while holiday shopping, I emphasized the importance of having an exit strategy. It has occurred to me it might be worth discussing the importance of such a tactic.
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Last week, I had a minor flirtation at the gym with an attractive man we'll call Ashley Cole (because he looks a little like the international soccer star of the same name).
Ashley Cole had spoken to me once before at the gym, revealing his very sexy accent as he gave me some kind of advice about a better way to do some gluteal exercise I was doing. I'd seen him around a few times since then, and wondered if he was a former athlete or something, partly because he was in such amazing shape, and partly because he was always wearing so much Addidas stuff that he looked sponsored. But when a person gives you some serious advice about yoru butt muscles, it can feel pretty ridiculous. So after thanking him for his valuable insights about the state of my derriere, I scurried away.
Last week, however, when Ahsley and I ended up next to each other on the mats, stretching, he was smiling at me, a bit sheepishly, and I got the feeling he wanted to chat but was feeling shy.
So JUST BEFORE I WAS READY TO LEAVE, I said to him:
By the way, are you training for a marathon or something?
We ended up chatting for a bit, and I learned that he wasn't an athlete; he just took very good care of his body. Things went on from there.
HIM: Are *you* training for a marathon? You're in pretty good shape yourself.
ME: Nope. Just trying to stay healthy. Hey, anyway, where are you from? Your accent is very mysterious.
HIM: I was born in Togo, raised in Paris.
Then he wanted to know where I was from.
ME: Exotic New Jersey.
It seemed clear we could've continued chatting for a while ... but I was in a hurry to get home and get some work done before I went out that night. (Plus, as long-term readers will remember, I do not think it's a wise idea to flirt too much with guys from the gym.) So I stood up, shook his hand, and told him I'd see him around. I got the feeling that I left him wanting more. And I certainly did NOT get the feeling, as I have at other points in my life, that he'd decided, after too much conversation, that he just wasn't that into me.
Perhaps that's because, without quite realizing it, I'd put a time constraint on our conversation.
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WHY THE TIME CONSTRAINT WORKS
Usually, according to dating expert Neil "The Game" Strauss, when you begin a fliration, it's imporatant to mention almost immediately that you have a time constraint--an appointment or date that you need to get to--so that you can only spend a few minutes in conversation.
1) It signals to the person you're talking to that you won't try to talk his ear off all day.
2) It signals that you're a busy person--a valuable commodity, available only for a limited time! (Operators, smooth-talkers and other casanovas are standing by! Hoping to get a moment of your atttention!)
3) It signals that you're in control of the interaction.
What I realized thanks to my interaction with Ashley is that even if you don't mention a time constrain overtly, having one in mind helps to give you the power in a flirtation situation.
aw, thank you for making me feel so much better yesterday! i was really in a funky mood, but having gotten a great night's sleep--eleven hours!--I feel much, much better.
-Edwinna, you're always so sweet and so good at pointing out the good things! ...
-J.V., my dear, taking risks DOES get easier--if this year of living flirtatiously has taught me anything, it's that! really. the more you do it, the more used it to doing it you get. i think you were awesome to ask that chick to go on a dress-up date, and i think you should keep putting yoruself out there ...
-Paris, lady, lay some more of that Buddhist wisdom on us, sister. (And let us carpe diem before the glaciers drown us.)
-Lyonaria and D.: I like that you guys are as fond of good hosiery as I am.
Also, I loved all the great quotes, especially:
--"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us"--from Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, by way of Pari
-"The follies which a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity." Mark Twain, by way of Miss Money Penny
-"Take the risk. Because those who mind, don't matter: and those who matter, don't mind." -our commenter, Miss Camera Shy