“During the holidays my husband and I always have a crazy schedule of parties and obligations. We get dressed up and spend more time out together than we do all year, but December is a tough time to actually connect with one another. How can we enjoy each other this exhausting season?” – Sari, 45
Everyone remembers the moment when you were standing in a crowded party and you made eye contact with someone standing across the room. The electricity. The frisson. The delicious possibility of circling this attractive stranger the entire evening. You looked up, then looked away. And so it began.
The word “flirt” comes from the French word “fleuret” — in English translation means “foil” — one of the three swords used in fencing. When using a foil, points can only be won using the tip of the weapon. To flirt is to play with the tip of the sword. To tease. To gently touch. To tantalize. It’s about playing with possibility, not going in for the kill.
You want to see flirting in action? Watch *this.
This dance piece of human’s imitating animal mating rituals shows us the active game of give and take that is flirtation. It’s called pacing in the animal kingdom. Humans do it too. We advance and withdraw. We circle. This is an essential, playful ingredient of seduction and excitement. It is about possibility. Anticipation. Fantasy.
With a long-term partner, it can feel as if the dance is over. However, we can bring back a sense of excitement and anticipation to our relationships. But we must do it with intentionality. No different than the intentionality that lurked behind the first glance. Here’s a little menu of ideas to create space for flirtation. Pick one you like, and give it a try this month.
Think of the whole evening as a canvas for seduction
Even though you may know the outcome, there are so many ways to be playful with each other through the course of the night.
- Make a playful pact not to talk or touch for part of the party, only to make eye contact.
- Send a suggestive text during the course of the evening. It’s all about talking about sex, without talking about sex. Hint, allow the anticipation to mount, and stoke curiosity — refrain from throwing the idea of sex onto the other person’s face.
- In lieu of departing for a night out from your home together, drop a note that says, ”I saw you in the elevator, has anyone told you how bright and piercing your eyes are? If you are available this evening, I will meet you at 8pm in front of [Fill in the blank of the address of your event].” And meet there.
- Introduce yourself to your partner at the party, as if you are meeting them for the first time. Remember, you cannot be self-conscious and play, so really go for it – give your best acting 101 performance.
Break your own rules
We experience freedom when we break rules. Any small incursion into the illicit and the transgressive with your partner can be really enlivening.
- Let go of guilt and don’t follow the typical schedule for the day or the evening ahead. Leave the party early and get a drink together on the way home.
- Close the bedroom door after the babysitter arrives and dedicate the beginning of the evening to each other. Then go to the party late.
- Skip the event altogether, and go for a walk instead.
Flip the script
Columnist Dan Savage often recommends couples to “fuck first.” You pick out the perfect outfit, bake the cookies, buy the wine with a matching bow, and travel to the event. After hours socializing, stuffing yourself, and drinking, by the end of the evening, the last thing you want to do is seduce your partner. Instead, get intimate before leaving the house, so you’re energized and avoid performance anxiety and disappointment if nothing happens when you get home.
To make this season more enjoyable, remember that anything that takes you out of the predictable or introduces risk or disobedience, opens the door to pleasure. Happy holidays.
Are you struggling to connect with your partner during this busy season? What was flirting like in the beginning between you and your partner? Leave a comment on the blog. I would like to hear your stories.