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The flirt expert: master the art of flirting to find your perfect match or mend that broken heart.

You've tried online dating, blind dates, Happy Hours at your local lesbian bar--and Ms. Right still eludes you. Perhaps you've overlooked a simple but misunderstood social skill--flirting.

Flirting can help you find love and win a promotion at work--so says Rachel DeAlto, trial attorney, communications expert, life coach, matchmaker and, yes, expert on flirting. The author of the bestseller Flirt Fearlessly is dedicated to redeeming the reputation of flirting, and using it to achieve your goals in life.

But how can lesbians flirt with finesse, and not come off looking like Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black!

"I think flirting is a way of making people feel like they're the center of the universe for however long you want to give them that honor," says DeAlto. "It can be done platonically. It can be done romantically. It doesn't have to be about seduction. It can be, but it's really about connecting on a human level. We've kind of forgotten how to do that."

Posting on Facebook doesn't teach people how to connect. Flirting is one way of breaking down the walls that technology has enabled us to put up. It's "not about a pickup line," stresses DeAlto. "It's about connecting with somebody and making them feel special."

For same-sex-attracted women, flirting can be complicated. Certain rules that have their roots in the socializiation of men and women may not apply between two women. As a gender we're already more relational: Kissing and touching can be part of a greeting even between friends. So how do you get the message across that you are romantically interested in another woman?

"Women are so much more naturally connected to each other that it needs to be stepped up a notch," says DeAlto. "But women are conditioned to not be sexually aggressive: You shouldn't be the pursuer because you're a woman. So in the lesbian community there's a condition that it's about stepping up that game. Let her know you're interested in her without saying it out loud. So if you're touching her on the small of her back, that's great--but leave your hand there for a while. Look into her eyes. Maintain your eye contact beyond what's normal for a platonic conversation. And then ask her for a drink. There's no harm in taking it to the next level and saying, 'I'd love to take you out.' Put it out there."

DeAlto says that lesbians flirt with her "all the time" and she takes notice, much like Lady Gaga, who famously says, "I find lesbians to be way more daring than straight men, when it comes to coming on to you. And I really like that."

"To me, it's all a compliment," says DeAlto. "It's a compliment to be thought to be attractive. But don't come on too strong. Some people are over-flirts. I'm a big fan of ramping it up a little bit, but get to know me, have a conversation with me.

"Telling someone they have a really great ass or great boobs is taking it over the line. Telling someone they have a really great smile, that it lights up the room--that's a really nice thing to hear."

The first rule is to be authentic. "I teach people to embrace who they are, to make their own connections in a way that's authentic to them."

The danger with flirting is that it is seen as--and can be--manipulative. "There are people who use their powers for evil," notes DeAlto, "being coercive with their charisma." DeAlto cautions that flirting should not be used just to "get some." Flirting requires an investment of time, and isn't just hit-and-run. A pickup line is intended to get someone else sexually interested. When you're flirting with someone, it's really about making an actual personal connection. It's about listening and having a conversation. It's not about how you look or flashing leg. It's about finding a shared interest."

DeAlto is so convinced of the positive power of flirting that she's bringing it out of the bar and the bedroom and into the boardroom.

"There are so many ways that the flirting strategies I use for my dating clients work for my corporate clients as well. I do networking training because networking is kind of like speed dating, and being able to present yourself and find your voice--talk about who you are as a professional--is almost the same as talking about who you are as a person to date. It might not be what some people perceive as flirtation, but it's really using or developing your charisma to be better and more successful in the workplace. It's the same thing, just a different goal."

Flirt at work? "I do not condone making out with people at the Christmas party," DeAlto laughs. "That's just a hot mess. Don't do it! There's a way to get ahead as a woman, whether you are a lesbian or not. Women bring a different perspective and so many values into the workplace that don't have to be sold sexually to everybody else. There's a way to get ahead by connecting with people without having to flash some cleavage." (racheldealto.com)

Four foolproof tips from the flirt expert

Manifest your dream woman:

(1)

Believe in the power of your thoughts and words. They will attract what you want.

(2)

Map your perfect mate: List the qualities you want in a woman, such as: "She is loving and kind, she is generous with her time and spirit, she loves to travel, she likes to eat cheese ...," laughs DeAlto. "Write it down and out it in your favorite book. It becomes this Message to the Universe of what you want."

(3)

Believe that you are flirt-worthy: Recognize your self-worth and get your confidence up. Believe that you have just as much power and are just as desirable as the person you want to date.

(4)

Remove your blinders: Your perfect match may not fit your mold. She may break it altogether. However, that love could last a lifetime ...

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Title Annotation:ROMANCE
Author:Johns, Merryn
Publication:Curve
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Words:1015
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