A Woman Visible

Search for beauty. Search for adventure. Search for the visible you.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Never Knew Protestants Could Go to Confessional!

I have a confession to make. It's embarrassing, like most confessions, but also like most confessions, it needs to be said.

I am scared to flirt, and therefore have trouble knowing how to flirt.

There, I said it. What used to come easy, is now a feat of great proportions for me. I don't even know where to begin. What's even worse is that I don't know when a man is flirting with me.

So, I've lost my entire surveilance and reconnaissance system.

This loss was highly emphasized this past week when Mike, one of my office spouses, tried to set me up with the Prentice-Hall book salesman that came by to sell me English books for the new year.

The books were great by the way.

This guy was really nice, and he was attractive in a book salesman kind of way (what ever that means). We were all talking, and Mike observed that I was single and noted that the salesman was single. Then he just blurts out, "Jess is looking for a boyfriend." While this is a very true statement (it's my goal every year), it took me off guard and the sales man off guard. I think salesguy even blushed a bit. It was awkward, and then we laughed and it was over--sort-of. The salesguy then followed me to my office, and we talked--books. I wanted to flirt, I wanted to try to get closer (he was attractive), but we took the high road and talked business. I think we were both a little nervous under the sales pitch. I gave him my card, and that was that.

The whole experience scared me, and I think, scared salesguy to death.

Mike, and then Lorainne were very excited that I might have a date with salesguy. Unfortunately, I blew it, and salesguy seemed reticent as well. When he left, I felt sad, and disappointed. I wasn't up to the task. I wasn't able to turn on the charm that was so easy to turn on twenty years ago. I was just lame. Salesguy probably went out thinking, "She's a nice professional woman, and thankfully, she didn't hit on me." He keeps e-mailing me, trying to sell me his books. This is normal procedure--he needs that sale. So, he's being professional too. I guess this isn't all my fault. He didn't hit on me either. I like men that pursue me. I want a man to pursue me. There's a part of me that doesn't want to make the first move. I've done that most of my life, and I want to know that there's a man out there that sees my worth in large enough terms to pursue me. I know that means I have to be visible, and perhaps that means that I have to flirt and make myself visible.

I think, if salesguy had been really interested, he would have made some sort of pursuit. If I had been really interested, I wouldn't have hid behind the professional guise of shopping for books.

Why I'm Scared of Flirting

More confessional--I think I'm scared of flirting because I historically flirt with the wrong men. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's like I have no sense of danger, or in some cases, I put that sense on ignore. I've flirted with lots of men.I could give specifics, but since this isn't a completely confessional blog, and there are people who would get hurt, I will stay silent about the who and when. The ones that pay attention to my misguided flirtations are not always the best men for me. This is scary, especially since usually I have a pretty strong sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, sometimes that sense doesn't work when I'm attracted to men.

So rather than trust myself, or work hard at flirting with the right guys (I'm still not sure who they are), I think I've made a subconscious decision to not try flirting at all. That way I'm safe. That way my kids are safe. That way my heart is safe.

The fear doesn't compensate for the loneliness.

Lately, I've been trying to get over this fear and try stuff. So, I step out and mess up again. I need help.

Flirting: There are Rules

I did a bit of research. That's what I do when I have a problem, or fear something. I study it, I read about it, and I decide how to deal with the problem based on what my research turns up. This is one of the differences between normal people and geeks. Normal people just keep trying until they discover the right path. Geeks run to the Internet in an attempt to circumvent anymore embarrassing situations than they've already experienced.

I'm not sure which method is more effective.

Anyway, I did some research and found a few websites and articles that actually go into detail about effective flirting. One site I landed on is Cyber00.com. This site has a whole section focused on flirting, including a section for the six rules to flirting. Most of the rules are common sense rules, and, as you can see from the wording of some of the pages, Cyber00 is geared for teens. So, the rules still apply, but the site as a whole makes me feel like an immature chestnut.

Then I found an article entitled, "Rules of Flirting" in The Sydney Morning Herald. It is a few years old, but I think the thoughts still apply. Apparently, the subject of this article, Susan Bradley, has a simple approach that is effective. The crazy thing is that this "Repeated Contact Rule" makes perfect sense. Maybe I should try and apply it. I also like that she points out that "People meet someone and they expect instant chemistry." She goes on to point out that the chemistry thing is just the beginning and sometimes doesn't happen right away. I think that sometimes I miss good possibilities because I don't "feel something." I also think that sometimes I grab the wrong guy because I do "feel something." Chemistry is just chemistry, it isn't exactly, really love.

The article I found most useful comes from the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, England. Not only does it define flirting, but it explains what works and what doesn't (in general terms, of course), as well as cultural differences in flirting. It's more "clinical" than the other articles, but it makes a lot of sense, and addresses such things as office romances and how to manage them

Will I Apply These Ideas?

After doing all this research, I believe I am going to attempt to try some of the things suggested in these articles. The worst that could happen is that I make more mistakes, or scare the men I'm interested in. Mike promised me that he would continue to look for prospective dates for me, and I promised to practice my flirting. I just need to find a venue. Lucky for me, Willena is having a birthday party next weekend, and has invited me. I'm not going to go overboard, but if there are interesting men there, I should at least try some flirting. I'd try at work, but unfortunately, there are no single candidates in my building. I'm surrounded by nice, married men. While that's not a bad thing (in fact, it's a comfort), I can't go around flirting with the married population without expected consequences of the worst type.

Is My Journey in Visibility Just about Flirting and Getting a Man?

Some people will read this and think that all my talk about being visibly has nothing to do with self-discovery and everything to do with "getting a man." I suppose if a reader just saw this post, he or she might get that idea. My answer is pretty simple:

Yes, I would love to "get a man." I would love to be someone's girlfriend, or sweetheart, or lady. I miss having a man in my life, not because I need a man to make my life complete. I have a complete life, believe me. I have God, children, a career, an education, and lots to do with each. I don't need a man. I need companionship, friendship. I need a closeness I haven't had in my whole life (going to prove that marriage does not necessarily indicate that you are really close to the person sleeping in your bed). The right man will fulfill those needs, and I will fulfill those same needs for him. I don't need a man to live or survive, I need a man to help me enjoy the wonder and magic that I encounter every day.

I want to visible so that I may know myself, and so that I may know how to share myself with others.

Consider what makes visibility so desirable (if it is something you desire), if it's something you want in your life too. I think that most bloggers want some level of visibility, or we wouldn't lay bare our souls in a place where the entire online world has a way to view those moments of vulnerabilty.

Do you want visibility?


  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Sali said…

    Hi there! I know this is sort of past due (a month late in responding) but I wanted to share...I'm a visible person. I've been in the public eye for a long time, from having hosted a Japanese TV show to singing before an audience of 10,000. No one knows who I am here at home (LOL) but I'm working on it. OK, I have a pretty good thing going with my indie CD and perfume (thank you btw!). My point in saying all this is to let you know that as much chutzpah as I have developed in the professional world, I flirted badly and ended up being the girl who never went out on a date. As a teen, my friends all had dates--I did not. I held their coats when they danced.

    I also have a history of flirting with the wrong types of men so I think at some point I stopped flirting. But something interesting happened when I got my TV gig and I learned how to interview people. All this is is asking people questions about their lives without being too nosy about personal things, and being (or atleast appearing) genuinely interested. I find that this works better than flirting because most people like to have their moment in the spotlight and they wanna talk if it makes them feel good to talk to you.

    So maybe you could think of meeting people as mini-interviews. "What do you do? That's interesting and I think that's really a good/cool/brave/fascinating/thing you do". Then if this person has brains and a genuine interest in what you have to say, he'll respond and ask you something about yourself (and if not, move on). Well, it's worked for me...even when I'm not trying. You seem like such a fabulous person! And as for the person who put you on the spot by announcing your dating status, use humor and say, "no, the fact that I need a "date" is just a polite euphemism..." *rolls eyes* j/k ;-) It is all an interview anyway...to see who's worth *you*. Good luck!

  • At 7:40 PM, Blogger nappel said…

    I maybe not the wright person to give a flirting advise, but maybe I am... I like to flirt and sometimes I don't even know I', doing it. I think you are just thinking about it too much, just be yourself (as quarky as it sounds). Men like to talk, so ask them about them, and if something sounds interesting ask more or make fun of something they say... they'll love it. Or try just look at him across the room and when your eyes meet smile. Good luck!

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger JessN said…


    Your advice is well taken. I think you might have something in saying that I overthink this flirting. I will test your advice and see what happens.

    Thanks and keep reading and commenting!


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