Tell me about flirting. There
must be etiquette involved with this favorite pastime. What's proper
and what's not proper?
Dear Need To Know: May I tell
you, first of all, that flirting according to the dictionary means: being
playfully romantic; something of little value or importance; speak or act
in a playful or flirting way; (to) toy (with). This certainly gives
us a place to start. How many people realize that romance is attached
to flirting but as such, has little value?
In searching through my library of
etiquette books including books by The First Lady of Etiquette, Emily Post,
there is no reference whatsoever to flirting except in books written by
Miss Manners, Judith Martin. We have been a flirting society for
years and years as documented in novels, poems, art, and drama yet no one
wanted to broach the subject in any etiquette book until 1983. Miss
Manners considers flirtation ?a gentle amusement? and is to be harmless
and not lead to anything.
To keep flirting as proper as possible,
it should be tastefully executed. This means if you are the one doing
the flirting, you should have tact and realize that flirting is done
in small quantities with consideration and good sense. You should be aware
of the individual preference of the person you are flirting with because
this is a coy game in which you ?toy? with someone. It really isn't
meant to hold much value or importance but has no room for rudeness.
If you are flirting you are to be in normal, everyday, ordinary places
because you wouldn't want others who are watching you to think, for one
moment, that you have lost your loyalty to your spouse while you are going
through these displays of meaningless antics towards another person.
Be advised that there are flirtation
props, although we seldom use them today. A lady walking passed a
gentleman who has caught her eye might drop a lace handkerchief as she
passes him with hopes that he will pick it up and run after her.
A gentleman on an aircraft, sitting next to a young lady, will glance quickly
at the book she is reading so he may make conversation with her and in
so doing, begin a flirtatious round of remarks. A young man at a
meeting notices a young lady's first name on her name tag and tells her
that her name is his favorite girls name. As you can see, things
as well as remarks fall into the category of flirtation props.
Now we come to the problem of unwanted
flirtatious manners. What's a person to do? If you do not want
someone to flirt with you, which to some is the same as being courted,
tell the person who is flirting with you that you are uncomfortable with
the behavior and you would prefer if your relationship remains at a different
level. Speak your mind if you are uncomfortable with remarks and
gestures made towards you. Do so right away.
Honking your horn or whistling at
a young lady falls into the flirtation category, too. And we all
know that a young lady does not honk her horn at anyone nor does she whistle
at a man. In the same light, if a young lady is walking down the
street and someone honks their horn at her or gives her a whistle, she
simply holds her head high, puts her nose up in the air, and continues
walking at her normal gait.