Wednesday, 30 December 2015
Don't Look Down
So, it’s nearly New Year’s Eve and this is my final post of 2015. I could waffle on about this last year – the difficulties, the triumphs, the lessons learned. Or I could look to the year ahead – my plans, hopes and aspirations. Instead, I’m choosing to live in the moment, something I’m generally rubbish at doing. However, a good friend of mine who’s into mindfulness has got me trying to do exactly that - focusing on and enjoying what I’m doing now. I’m sure there’s more to it than that but it’ll do for the time being.
In the now I’m thinking about New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations. Parties in my younger days used to be an opportunity to go out with friends, dance, drink and wonder if Mr Right would show up and sweep me off my feet. These days, parties usually mean me ferrying small people to a venue with laser combat, Nerf guns, trampolines, cheerleading instructors, cupcake baking or go-karting, although not usually at the same time. I generally return two hours later to collect a hyperactive yet exhausted and pale-faced child to be whisked home at speed before they spread the entire contents of their party bag all over the back seat of the car.
But what about a New Year’s Eve party for us 40-something singletons? What are we supposed to do? Well, here’s your answer… Do what we did as kids or in our 20s and 30s – eat cake, have fun, make new friends and just maybe meet someone we might like to spend more time with. And how do we do that? Well, we need to flirt.
Ok, so I can hear the gasps of horror from my desk. Don’t panic ladies. I’m not sending you out there without the right preparation. I’ll be your wingman. I’ve done the groundwork, researched what seemed to come naturally all those years ago, and compiled my top ten tips for flirting in your forties!
Now, for all those planning to stay in this New Year, don’t think this let’s you off the hook. Oh no! We’re all in this together remember? If you’re having an evening in, presumably you’ll still need to go to the supermarket for supplies or take the kids/dog/bearded dragon for a breath of fresh air at the park/woods/beach. These tips are for you too!
And might I add, you happily married types need to read on too. There’s something quite luscious about flirting unexpectedly with your long-term partner. Give it a go and enjoy the outcome!
According to my research there are plenty of opportunities to flirt. That doesn’t mean pinning a guy to a wall until he capitulates and gives you his mobile number, favourite honeymoon destination and ring size. It means being open to possibilities. So, whether you find yourself at a party, café, art gallery, work conference or woodland park the rules are essentially the same.
But, don’t reserve your flirtation for “the one”. You need to practise! Very few of us, after all these years, are likely to get it right first time and I’d rather not send my knight in shining armour cantering for the hills because I was lazy and didn’t exercise my flirt muscles first.
Let me explain. This week, while the kids were with my ex, I took my dog for a walk along the coastal promenade and I made it my business to be open to opportunities. I was utterly rubbish!
I couldn’t look at any guy. My gaze seemed to be glued to the ground with only a brief glance up, the odd smirk rather than smile and disturbingly I also appeared to have become mute. It was not my finest hour. Even the rather lovely looking guy walking his dog on a skateboard (the owner not the dog) who smiled and said “Hi” got very little from me. Now don’t you start yelling “cougar” at me! He was around my age, perhaps a teensy bit younger, quite sporty looking and clearly had found an energy saving dog walking technique… or a quick mode of escape from cougars! Alas, due to my lack of preparation, I’ll never know.
Anyway, my point is, practice is essential! With it comes skill, confidence and a stack of amusing stories you’re free to share with us all in the comments section at the end of this blog! If I’m putting myself out there it’s only fair you fess up too!
So, let’s get down to business! Here are my top ten tips for forties flirting. Start with number 1 and work your way through the list!
1. Don’t Look Down
Unless you are fortunate enough to have a man already on their knees at your feet, don’t look down! You need to look up and maintain eye contact. Advice varies on how long this should be but most sources suggest about 3 seconds or, as one lovely friend once said, just a little longer than is comfortable!
Keep it natural! Demonic grins are a tad off putting. Notice how you smile or laugh when the kids say something amusing or your girlfriends relay a funny story. That’s what you’re trying to emulate. If that means showing teeth then so be it. But make sure you’ve flossed!
At this early stage of communication, merely being able to say “Hi” without your voice cracking is a good start. Say it a few times to yourself, in the bathroom if necessary, before attempting it on a living human being.
4. Use Your Body
Go easy here ladies. I’m not suggesting your start rubbing yourself against your chosen target lambada stylie. I’m talking about keeping your hands to yourself for now and merely leaning in. Then you can add smoothing your clothes, touching your face, parting your hair, stroking your glass, manipulating your drink stirrer, adjusting your jewellery and so on.
5. Light Conversation
Don’t open with anything along the lines of “my husband just died/ran off with the nanny/realized he was gay and now lives with his gym instructor.” Equally, suggesting a weekend away may be premature. Stick with talking about the event, food, drink, friends in common or, if you’re desperate, the weather.
6. Compliment Him
Girls compliment girls all the time on their hair, skin, make-up, clothes, shoes, bags etc. No one ever compliments a guy, with the possible exception of his Mum. Commenting on his eyes, smile or clothing is quite safe. Avoid the trouser area at all costs.
7. Touch Him
I said touch not grope! Briefly placing your hand on an arm or knee can be wonderfully sensual for you both whilst still remaining at a relatively safe level of contact.
8. Mirror Behaviour
This is one of my favourites! Couples over time tend to mimic each other’s behaviour without realising it. If you start to do this with someone you’ve just met it creates a sense of intimacy that can be quite tantalizing! Just don’t overdo it.
9. Progressing Conversation
Ask questions and be interested in the answers. Explore hobbies and passions, and don’t forget to open up about what you enjoy too. These conversations are more memorable and it gives you both an opportunity to see if you have anything in common or if there’s a spark worth nurturing.
10. Call To Action
Let’s be honest, guys don’t often pick up on our subtle ways and subliminal messages so let’s spell it out for them! If you’re interested, tell him. By that, I mean don’t just end on a polite “It’s been lovely chatting to you”. You need to add in “Maybe we could do this again sometime.” Unless you’re not interested of course, in which case get out of there and don’t leave any evidence of your identity!
How difficult does that sound???
So, ladies, this is your New Year’s challenge. Get your flirt on! That doesn’t mean you have to marry the first guy you smile at. You just need to get back into communicating with adult males, or females if you choose, in a way that doesn’t involve drop off logistics for a kids’ rugby match!
I’d love to hear your tips, success stories and anecdotes so feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you remember nothing else when you’re out and about this New Year, remember rule number one - don’t look down!
Happy New Year everyone!