A boyfriend once said to me that he couldn’t imagine me flirting and suggested I should be less shy and flirt more. Inside I felt self-righteous, that I didn’t stoop that low and incredulous that he should suggest such a thing. Another part of my reaction was feeling sad that I wasn’t accepted the way I was.
FLIRTING – IT’S IN THE EYES
We discussed what constitutes flirting and I concluded that it is about trying to attract another and that it had sexual undertones. However, this boyfriend having said that I should flirt more, recalled a house party that I hosted before we got together, he said, “I felt like you were flirting with your eyes”.
FLIRTING FOR HIS ATTENTION
The party had a dress up theme so I wore a cute outfit with animal ears, deep blue contact lenses and smoky eye makeup, adding allure to my naturally brown Asian eyes. We sat around the fire, which accentuated my eyes and I remember feeling shy but wanting his attention. I didn’t touch him, nor did I gaze intently at him, and I didn’t giggle, all of which was what I thought flirting was – being forward and explicitly alluring. But I was trying to captivate him with my eyes. There was a feeling of wanting some control over him by using myself as bait in order to get him to like me. My goal wasn’t to sleep with him, but I wanted the chase and the romance and to know that he thought I was lovely.
This game continued after we were together as a couple. I craved his admiration and attention, but he was often distracted, thinking about how to change the world. I would sulk and eventually give him ultimatums or the silent treatment.
I saw this (now ex) boyfriend recently and he was able to clarify what he meant when he said I should flirt more: that I should be more playful and open to meeting more people.
FLIRTING FROM SELF DOUBT
Flirting is a bigger package than I had realised. When I go into flirting with men, there is often no romantic desire, but an air of awkwardness lingering and not knowing how to be me. My flirty interactions seem to happen when I have self doubt and lack confidence. Do I look good? What should I say next? How can I impress? How can I be admired and understood?! Flirting has been my way to get attention and confirmation that I am lovely and worth being with.
What I long for is connection through conversation or quality time.
When I am feeling at home with myself, I feel at home with others, naturally open and playful, and flirting does not happen. It is usually easier to connect with people in this way, when I enjoy my own connection with me.
I am slowly learning that I don’t need to try to be anything for anyone. When I stop fighting for attention from others and allow myself to feel the love and completeness that I am made of, I discover a natural beauty that shines. This true beauty is admired by men and women alike, and… it is in everybody.
There is no need for flirting or alluring when I choose to be All of me.
by Annie, Australia