Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lois Greiman

Did you know some people consider flirting sinful?

I, on the other hand, think of it more as an art form. Like watercolors…relaxing and probably good for your soul. And it’s not my fault. It’s a family thing. My mother recently turned 91. A bunch of us got together to celebrate her birthday. After Mom toddled from the room, my niece turned to my sister and said, “Was Grandma just flirting with my boyfriend?” We all looked at her like she was a couple lures short of a full tackle box and said, “Well, duh.”

She always flirting with my boyfriends. Nothing icky or embarrassing. Just that little something that makes people sparkle. And you know what? The boys always flirted back. Which maybe goes to prove that some things do improve with age. How great would that be? I mean, flirting is such a kick even if it’s just a spectator sport. Think of some of the great ‘meets’ you’ve seen in movies. My own fictional characters often have a kind of take no prisoner sort of connection, more sarcasm than sweetness, but there are all kinds of fun interactions.

One of my favorites is an early scene in Meet Joe Black…when Brad Pitt meets Clair Forlani. There’s nothing particularly clever about it. It’s just sweet and alluring.

There are several scenes in Love Actually between Collin Firth (the horror writer) and Lucia Moniz (his...maid?). I can’t think of any of those without smiling.

And it’s not as if this flirting thing is new. Do you remember the film Indiscreet? When Cary Grant first meets Ingrid Bergman it's a thing of beauty. Flirtation at its best! Great dialogue, wonderful chemistry, pretty people.

Here are a few interesting flirting facts I just learned:

Statistics vary but most experts agree it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if we’re attracted to someone. As much as we’d like to believe it all rests on that witty opening one-liner — sorry, it doesn’t.

55% of the impression we perceive from someone is through our body language.

33% is from the tone, speed and nuance of our voice.

Only 7% is from what we’re actually saying.

But how about you? Got any favorite movie scenes that make you sigh. Or maybe it’s a real encounter. Something you experienced yourself or something you witnessed. It’s all good.


Laurie said...

Favorite movie scene-
Pretty Woman- When Richard sees Vivienne for the first time in the bar after her transformation. There's this intense chemistry, eye contact and beautiful Vivaldi music playing in the background.

Betina Krahn said...

Lois, I haven't flirted since 1972. Unless you count the time a bug flew into my eye at Disney and a guy thought I was winking at him. His wife was not amused.

But on the movie screen, I occasionally see a winner. Like Owen Wilson in the Wedding Crashers. Even when he was portraying a cad, he was still adorable. That "I think we only use 10% of our hearts" line was so good. . . I'd have been dragging him into the closest hotel room myself!

Betina Krahn said...

And I almost forgot-- that line from "To Have and Have Not" where Lauren Bacall says to Bogey:

"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."

Yeow. Scorchin' hot.

Terry Odell said...

Anyone else remember the food scene from Tom Jones?

lois greiman said...

Pretty Woman really worked on a chemistry level didn't it, Laurie?

Betina, :) I've actually seen you flirt and there were no bugs involved.

And I loved Wedding Crashers, but I don't admit that to just everyone. Just everyone on this blog. :)

Pamela Keener said...

Great blog!!
I don't think I am ahy good at flirting just like I think I look like a clown when I have make-up on. Guess that is because for 25 years as a police officer I couldn't wear makeup to work. We couldn't wear perfume but I always wore some on my off duty time.......go figure! LOL
Love & Hugs,
Pam Keener in PA

Helen Brenna said...

LOL - fun blog Lois. And, Betina, you crack me up. Don't listen to her, folks, she was born flirting!

Terry, nope, don't remember the food scene from Tom Jones.

Gawd, for the life of me I can't think of a single flirty scene. Kills me! I'll be back.

Kathleen Eagle said...

What a loaded topic--at least in my household. Clyde's culture is a bit different from mine. According to him, any of the behavior you describe on a woman's part is "cutsie pie." In the back of his mind it's a little unseemly. And it only holds for women, not men.

Mama was a Southern Lady. Remember Scarlett? Southern ladies are Clyde's "cutsie pie." Not that he didn't adore her, but that cultural identity runs deep. We've had a discussion or two over the 39 years about whether I was flirting. But does he flash the smile in the eyes or the universally understood wink? You bet. What's the male version of "cutsie pie"? I spell M-A-N.

Culture runs deep. It's fascinating, and important to remember nowadays.

Michele Hauf said...

Having just seen Bright Star this weekend I am reminded how flirtation was once so subtle and the slightest brush of a coat sleeve against a skirt could show some sign of interest. A glance followed by a repressed smile. And those love letters. SIgh...

lois greiman said...

Pam, yeah, you probably don't want to be toooo flirty as a police officer huh?

Except wait...I remember once at a party for Tami Hoag at Kathleen Eagle's house there was this wait...I guess he was a stripper. ;)

lois greiman said...

Kathy, don't let Clyde get away with that. I bet he'd flirt if he were catatonic.

Cindy Gerard said...

Fun post, Lois. And some good harmless flirting is good for one's soul. They REALLY know how to flirt in Italy and Spain. The men are shameless and from my experience have a thing for short, pleasantly plump (ahem) middle aged women because I got about a dozen ego boosts every day. Everything from hand kissing to winks to a pinch on the ass (yes, I got pinched and I loved it!!). There's nothing chauvinistic about Italian and Spanish men when they flirt. They're in it for the fun and it's great!!

lois greiman said...

Cincy, that's what I'm talking about. Harmless fun. Makes you aware that you're still alive. I remember you telling us about Italy. Obviously they have fantastic taste there. :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Lois, you're right. I was just telling him about today's post, and his end of the discussion proves that we're talking past each other.

I'm thinking it runs even deeper than culture. You've got your alpha instincts, your biology, your ticking clock, your community needs, cultural standards, and then you have social mores trying to keep a lid on the whole thing.

It's so interesting! And I do try to reflect some of this in my fiction. It's part of the character. Read a book a year or so ago called Self Storage involving an American woman--now, I don't know how to characterize the WASP woman in a PC way anymore--who gets involved in helping a Muslim woman who's very traditional. The American woman wonders about the Birka, the apparent restrictions, etc. The two can only communicate through a mutual (female) friend. The story makes you think about all the assumptions we make through our own social filter. I've spent a lifetime sort of living in two worlds and realizing that at the heart of it, we women are sisters. But culture plays such an interesting role in the way we behave.

Am I complicating this way beyond the idea of simple flirtation? Probably. Ima be me.

lois greiman said...

Kathy, the beauty of flirting is that the emotions are complicated, but the act is so simplistic. Act, react, watch it play out. But to me a lot of the simplest things are flirting. Like Hauf was talking about. A touch, a glance, a grin. Some people don't know they're flirting when they're flirting. Or, at least the way I think of flirting.
Men especially seem to delude themselves.

catslady said...

I have a big thing about tone of voice. My husband still doesn't get it - it's not what he says, it's how he says it.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, I love flirting! It's the national past time. Fortunately hubby is indulgent and never worried. Especially since I didn't give him grief about all the women he works with who adore him.

Betina Krahn said...

lois, thank you soooo much for quantifying this mystifying phenomenon for us! I LOVE this blog! And I can't wait to pull out these statistics in conversation!

As Kathy says, I gotta be me!