Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hi, Are You Flirting With Me?

Hey, a personal blog! Read more about my flirting- or lack thereof- by clicking the link below.

I spent the night before last enjoying a late-night buffalo-wing and blue cheese chowdown and let's-reminisce-about-old-times-and-affirm-our-friendship rendezvous with my best friend at Denny's. It was nice; lately our friendship has been floundering, for a variety of reasons, and the midnight snack felt like old times again- wandering memory lane through high school before it ever felt like our lives would diverge down different paths, commiserating about our weight, failed exercise regimens, and how a basket each of buffalo wings certainly doesn't help, and, eventually, like all our good conversations do, turning towards relationships and our romantic woes.

This time, though, there seemed to finally be something more than just abstract hypotheticals to the chatter, and I unfortunately was quite unprepared for it. You see, there was a deliciously appealing Denny's hostess. Sitting in my booth, I had the perfect view of her over my friend's shoulder. I actually at first thought she was a boy- she had that wonderful sort of androgyny that you can't call butchness, because it simply isn't butch, but more like fay, elvish beauty that doesn't require makeup or other feminine accoutrements to manifest itself. Suffice to say, I stared and surreptitiously watched her the entire time, fascinated. I certainly didn't hide it, but I really didn't feel like I was being noticed in my watching, either.

But then, long after the check has been paid, our waitress has taken off, and we're simply wasting time, she comes by and stops at our table. There's an almost a palpable, uncomfortable silence as she stands there, and we finally look up- another strange silence, and she produces a rag and asks to clean up our table, if we'd just lift our glasses there, yes, thanks, guys, now your arms won't get all sticky. A slight laugh and very warm smile. Then she trots off- having cleaned not a single other table, and apparently not having taken over any sort of bussing or cleaning duties.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe it was late and slow (it had to be approaching 1 o'clock in the morning) and she had nothing better to do. Maybe she really was concerned with making our table cleaner; quite honestly it was rather sticky from the cherry coke syrup. But then we go to leave, and just before we're out the door, she catches sight of us and calls out an almost frantic "Bye, guys, thanks!" with a finger-curling wave of her hand. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Or maybe she noticed me noticing her and took the initiative to get a little closer; do a little flirting.

And that, right there, is my problem.

I don't know how to flirt. I don't know how to recognize it. Somehow, in all the hulabaloo of high school's education on proper social conduct for young boys and girls, I was off reading, practicing Wicca, and focusing far too hard on my school studies. It wasn't that I didn't want a boyfriend . . . but my dreams roughly involved being pursued by a dedicated suitor, without any work on my part but to blush and maybe play hard to get, or forming a casual male friendship that would eventually lead to a hesitant kiss over the homework we were doing together in my room, which would transform into a highschool-sweetheart relationship that would finally end in marriage. I simply didn't want to expend any effort, to tell the truth, and what's more, I did not want to have to become one of "those girls".

"Those girls" being, of course, pretty much any girl who put thought into her appearance in the hopes of impressing the boys. I hated- and still pretty much do hate- the courtship dance that men and women do. I didn't want to have to flirt and preen and be silly and stupid. Every girl who seemed adept at it also seemed to be the exact opposite of the person I wanted to become, the person that I was. And it wasn't just about the masculine-feminine divide, because the lesbian butch-femme dance, that twirling trade off opposing energies, is beautiful and alluring to me. Perhaps it's simply the sheer normalcy and the taking for granted that it's the way it's supposed to be. Maybe I buck and rebelled at the heteronormativity that put me in place of the preening female to the aggressive male, that oppressive model. I've always wanted to be different, after all.

But the point is that I've missed out on this crucial skill. I'm sure I could probably muster up some flirty behavior if pressed, but when it comes to recognizing it when it's directed at me . . . I suck. Is it just being friendly, or is it more? I couldn't tell you at all. And while I know people struggle with reading the signs all the time, I just feel much more helpless than anyone else.

Besides, how do you flirt with a hostess at Denny's? She's not even a waitress who occasionally can be flagged down to ask for extra and unnecessary napkins. What ought I have done? I certainly would have liked to see my friend's face if I tried to flirt with a girl (this being the same friend who has never mentioned my bisexuality since I told her about it, and continues to talk about relationships in straight terms only) right in front of her.

All I know is that the event impressed itself upon me, enough to want to write a blog about it. I obviously need flirting lessons.

I wonder, though . . . I do want to go back to Denny's in the hopes of seeing her again.

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