I love this question because in this very digital world we live in, so many others are thinking the same thing as you. I personally have used the apps for years, and they worked fine and dandy for some time, giving me the opportunity to meet new and interesting people outside of my circle. However, after a year or so of the experiences getting worse and worse (think, handsome man shows up to date, raises hand to order a drink for us, and low-and-behold is wearing a wedding ring…”I’m in an open marriage, is that a problem?”), I too began to wonder, “how can I meet more people IRL”. People have done it for THOUSANDS of years, so why all the sudden are we in an epidemic where now more than ever we are having trouble meeting new people? Because we’re too busy looking down on our phones instead of engaging with the world around us.
A couple of months ago, my godmother was in town visiting. Now, my godmother is a bonafide vixen. She never leaves the house undone, her voice is husky like Marilyn, and oozes sensuality like honey. As if Venus plotted her onto Earth herself, my godmother not only always looks *gorgeous* but she knows how to bring a smile to everyone’s face. She’s chatty, uplifting, and can make almost anyone laugh with her quick-witted humor. I almost feel as though I am reading of one of the women in my favorite book, Seductress by Betsy Prioleau. These women knew how to flirt with the world and have a ball.
On this particular night, she blew my mind, mostly because I think this very topic was ruminating through my head on how do we make ourselves more open to meeting new people, how do we master the art of communication and small talk so that we can say to hi to anyone and everyone, and possibly, just possibly, even meet The One, just by flashing a smile?
After arriving to dinner later than the rest of us, with a big smile on her face she waved and kissed each of us hello before sitting next to my godfather.
The waiter came over to her and asked, “Excuse me, miss, do you have any allergies?”
She replied almost immediately with a big smile, “Just to cute men…achoo, achoo!”
Now this waiter wasn’t even particularly cute. A young man, taxed from the night of standing on his feet, serving many on a Friday eve in SoHo. When she made this hilariously cute comment, it brought the biggest smile to his face and he beamed with pride the rest of the night. The whole table had a good laugh as well. He brought her a free drink and even had a newfound pep in his step. And the most important thing is how it uplifted everyone: he suddenly felt like a handsome kind and she felt playful and joyous, all while having zero expectations of the outcome other than to make him smile.
The reason I loved this exchange so much is because my godmother reminded me that she is a master at the Art of Flirting, in caps as this is a chapter in one of my favorite books Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. As Mama Gena says, “Flirtation is a woman’s access to the life force… A woman in the act of flirting can beguile the entire world with her enthusiasm. She is in the state of her highest glory. She looks beautiful, she is always having fun, she feels powerful. She senses what is right for herself and others, she trusts her instincts. She needs no man, no one, and she can enjoy everyone around her. She demands the best from herself and others, knowing that gratification is not only possible, it is her birthright. Are you not humble before your own talents? It’s not just Helen of Troy who could launch a thousand ships. Baby, it’s you!”
If you want to have better experiences off the apps, you have to learn how to flirt with the world. When I noticed a cute new guy in the neighborhood, I called my godmother, wondering what the master would do. She said next time you see him, chin up, chest out, smile big and say, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” and keep on walking baby…make him wonder. Now mind you, this does NOT mean be a ho. Flirting means learning the art of fun and playful conversations, with men and women alike. It takes practice so start small. Make small talk with the barista, say hi to the mailman, ask the girl at the register while you’re buying that cute dress how her weekend was? Practice makes perfect and you never know who you may chat up next…