Vector by Krisdog
My friend Betty is a born flirt. She is playful, attentive, frothy and light and men trip all over themselves to help pull out her chair, fetch her a drink, open her door.
The rest of us stand in awe. "How does she do it?" we ask ourselves. "And how can we get a little of what she's got?"
Being somewhat uninhibited, I am designated by my friends to be the one to ask Betty for her secret formula. I start out hesitantly -- a little fearful that perhaps Betty will misconstrue my interest as criticism.
Betty instantly puts me at ease, casually throwing an arm around my shoulder and leaning in close. "The secret is a good marriage," she whispers.
"A good marriage gives you confidence and the belief in yourself that you are a worthy person. And this confirmation comes from someone who knows you inside and out.
"My husband," continues Betty, "still loves me, reveres me and honors me in spite of my faults and shortcoming. Because of that, I feel tremendously valuable, confident and whole. Therefore I can flirt."
"Wait a minute," I said. "I don't get the connection."
"Look up flirting in the dictionary," Betty says lightly as she floats off to talk to her son's soccer coach.
I take her advice. Webster's says to flirt is to court triflingly or to act amorously without serious intentions.
Ah, I am starting to get it. The same skills she obviously employs with her husband, she carries out into the real world but playfully, without commitment or promise.
I call her cell phone. "Okay. Do it for fun. For frivolity. For laughs. But what if you come off like a bimbo? What if the guy has no sense of humor? What if you make a fool out of yourself?"
"Slow down," she cautions. "You are forgetting the Cardinal Rule of Flirting. You can't own the outcome. As long as you play loose, you're fine. Once you become concerned with how things will turn out, you are no longer flirting," she warns, "but courting disaster."
I go home to ponder her words.
I know I need some practice, but the building blocks are there. I've got a good marriage and the confidence that comes from knowing that no matter how silly, immature, inappropriate and downright nasty I can sometimes act, my husband loves me. And can still somehow manage to see the good in me, even when none is being exhibited.
So I decide to practice on him. After all, I reason, If I make a jackass out of myself in front of him, it certainly won't be the first time. Or the last.
So I'm taking a few deep breaths and plunging into waters that have long been too tranquil. When he comes home from work, I'm holding in my stomach, smiling coquettishly, leaning up against him and running my hands playfully through his thinning hair.
Instead of asking him what his opinion is on the Greek banking crisis and the rising cost of our homeowner's insurance, I'm asking him what pleases him -- what makes him happy -- what he finds romantic.
He checks my forehead to see if I am running a fever. He checks the outside of the house to see if he has walked into the right one. And I realize that it's been too long since I've asked such questions.
When he sees that I am serious, he pauses and then says softly, "I think the most romantic thing is to see you smile. Your whole face lights up."
This time, I look at him to see if he is joking, but he's not. I start to glow. My eyelashes start to flutter. My hips start to sashay, my body moves closer to his.
I think I am getting it now.
Who knows? Today my husband. Tomorrow, the world.