Do we flirt with a person, or do we flirt with excitement? Can flirting be sincere, or is there inevitably something cheap about it—something sneaky, even cowardly? When you flirt, do you take some little dying (but not quite dead) part inside of you, squeeze it up, and send it out to someone as if this were your real essence? (“I am sexually wild and available, even though I live in a dead marriage, have unhappy children and a meaningless job that drains my strength, owe money everywhere, watch television five nights a week, have become fascinated with food, and dreaming of my next possession…”)
Flirting is often false, a projection of a deceptive image of oneself intended to fascinate someone with a similarly deceptive image of himself or herself. However, is it possible that there is a higher kind of flirting, too—an overflow of freedom in some people because freedom genuinely prospers in their relationships and their lives?
I can imagine, though can’t often generate, a kind of flirting that is quite sincere. The message is not, “Hey baby, I’m a good lay!” but rather, “Hey person, I’m a good person. Not worked out, but alive: working, thinking, feeling, sometimes even brave. It isn’t going to be easy, but you may find me worth knowing.”