Welcome to the fourth installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! This week, Laurie, a Mastery and Boot Camp Grad from Michigan, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Flirtation!
Laurie, Age 65 – Retired Nonprofit Director
The Art of Flirtation is so simple and yet I really tried my best to make it hard. Mama Gena defines flirtation as “enjoying yourself in the presence of others.” That should not be hard to do, right? The problem was, I didn’t understand what true flirtation meant.
I thought flirtation meant that I was looking for a sexual relationship and that flirting was a way to attract men. I pictured old movies where a woman bats her eyelashes and fawns over a guy, telling him all the things she thinks he wants to hear, leading towards some kind of sexual outcome. I never had much time for people who only told others what they thought that person wanted to hear. It felt so fake. I had no interest in flirting and never ever thought I could be good at it, even if I wanted to!
As a gay woman I was even more skeptical of flirting — I was not interested in attracting and flirting with men, and was convinced this was not the Art for me. I thought flirting was all about the other person and making them feel good with no regard for how I felt.
After all that I learned from Mama Gena, the School of Womanly Arts and my Sister Goddess community, I now understand that true flirtation is all about enjoying myself, and uplifting someone else as a wonderful by-product of my flirt.
One thing I love about flirtation is that it just removes so many barriers that we create between ourselves and others. It’s like walking into a room and turning on your light, and letting everyone else bask in the glow. It is plugging into my power source, and attracting everyone in that room who cares to participate in my happiness to join in.
I believe that happiness and flirtation go together. It’s hard not to flirt when you are happy! When I’m happy with myself, and comfortable within myself, I reach out more to people, I uplift them, I do anything I can to bring them into their own power and joy…while taking myself deeper into my own power and joy as well.
There is no room for negativity if one is practicing the Art of Flirtation. Practicing flirtation has removed criticism and fault finding from my life. It has relieved my depression, given me great happiness and allowed so much space for me to attract happier people into my life. Flirting is a win-win situation. No one loses!
Honestly, out of all the things I’ve learned at the school, Flirtation has changed my life the most. This tool has enabled me to stop trying to control the outcome of a situation, and just stay right in the moment and be positive about it. It’s like walking through life with my hands open instead of my fists clenched. It relaxes my body and releases tension. I know that I can find my joy, bring others higher alongside me, and get out of any tough situation by using flirtation.
Every woman has her own style, or brand, of flirtation. How would you describe yours?
I’d say my style of flirtation is humour and empathy.
I always try to lighten up a situation by making someone laugh (and making myself laugh)!
I try to have an awareness about people, sensing when they need to be flirted with. I take so much pleasure in giving someone a compliment and making them smile.
I work with our scholarship program at the YMCA for low income families, and I remember one woman in particular. She was having a really hard time asking for help, speaking in a very low voice so no one would hear her. She had just lost her job, and things were so rough for her. I smiled and said, “Ok, let’s go sit over here and have a little chat.” That’s flirtation — it’s me paying special attention to her. By the end, we were both laughing. We had formed a mutual admiration society, that just took away all the barriers.
Flirting, for me, is about finding all the rights, and not all the wrongs. Really, there is plenty to find wrong in this world. I flirt with love, I flirt with what’s right…I flirt with babies and I flirt with grumpy people. I flirt with men (I am really good at this) and I flirt with women (I am even better at this)!
The Art of Flirtation is such a joyous, happy tool, and I realized that flirting with anything and anybody is what I am all about. It is the essence of me. It makes me have tears in my eyes talking about it because I so much want everyone to practice this art on a daily basis. Flirting is a life force — my life force.
What are the obstacles to flirting, in your own experience or what you’ve observed from others?
1. Self doubt
2. Fear of doing it wrong
3. Overthinking the outcome
Before I tried the Art of Flirtation for the first time, I was convinced I wouldn’t be good at it, that I’d do it wrong, and most certainly be rejected. Why would I even start, from that place?
For me, it was generating just enough confidence to take a risk. I decided I really wanted to change, and if I was going to really practice the Womanly Arts, I had to get out of my own way, stop overthinking it, and just do it.
So I finally did, with a grocery clerk. I knew that I wasn’t going to hurt anyone because I didn’t even know this person. So I made a decision to flirt in a safe situation.
And lo and behold the world did not end!
I couldn’t stop smiling when I walked out of the store. I was thinking, “This really works!” The first time is the scariest. But then you experience success and it encourages you to try more, building the confidence to the ramp up the game and have fun with it.
In the beginning, I was also really stuck on this idea that a successful flirt meant seducing someone in a romantic or sexual way. Not true! A successful flirt ends with taking myself and the other person higher. Simple as that.
How did you come to the School of Womanly Arts?
Before I participated in Boot Camp for the first time in 2012, I had just retired and relocated and was extremely unhappy with myself and ultimately with my entire life. I felt like my insides and my outsides did not match and that I had nothing in my life to look forward to. I had no purpose, no partner, no close friends nor did I think that I really ever would. I was very mixed up about how I would live the rest of my life and if I could ever be truly happy. I was tired and grumpy all of the time!
Boot Camp was truly one of the best investments I have ever made in myself. I am returning for the 3rd time this year, and I’m so excited! I always learn something new each time, and can’t get enough of being immersed in the Sister Goddess community. Every course I have taken at SWA has changed me in so many ways; Mama Gena always keeps me on my toes, teaching me how to use the tools in a deeper way.
Don’t get me wrong — I wasn’t always such a proud and confident Sister Goddess. Quite the opposite. I was an extremely resistant woman to this type of change — I thought I just needed to go to therapy and lose weight, and then I would find love and everything I desired. I had no idea and no real hope that joining in this program would produce all the changes it has.
In fact, I tried to quit the program many times. The only reason I signed up was because it was virtual, so that meant I didn’t have to see anyone face to face. (You should see me now, standing on my chair at Mastery, every chance I get!) I finally signed up for Boot Camp because a dear friend and coach said to me, “This is going to change your life. I know you, and I know this is going to be a good thing. Just do it.” I had gotten to the point where I had to trust what she said because what I was doing wasn’t working.
After I did Boot Camp, I went to a live event in Miami. I remember walking to the Convention Center and back to the hotel three times before I finally went in there. That’s what it took to get me in the door. I was just so scared, thinking, “I can’t do this. My hair will be wrong. I’ll be too big. I’ll be too old. No one will like me. I won’t fit in. There’s nothing here for me.”
I threw out every excuse, every road block I could possibly think of to put in my own way, until eventually I looked at the back of my truck and it was empty, with no more roadblocks to throw. : ) And I was home.
What I’ve experienced since has been life-changing in every way. And what I now know is that The School of Womanly Arts is about love. It’s not about who you love, or how you love. It’s about allowing yourself to love and be loved.
I’m so grateful none of those roadblocks stuck around.
Tell us some true stories in the daily life of a flirt!
I flirt on a daily basis as many times as I can because I love to see how people react. I love to upride people, to make their day.
I distinctly remember the very first time I deliberately practiced the art of flirtation. I was checking out at a grocery store; the clerk was so frazzled and cranky, throwing groceries around. I could tell something was wrong. I said to her, with so much pleasure, “Thanks so much for the great job of packing my groceries and by the way, I love your earrings!” She stopped dead in her tracks, and I thought she would burst into tears (in a good way) from the kindness. The whole interaction changed the situation for the better, and that was the beginning of my adventures in the Art of Flirtation!
Turning a bad day into a good one:
When people have bad days, it’s contagious. And when people have flirtatious days, that’s also contagious. I remember one day I came to my part-time job, and I was in a bad mood. I was really tired. So anything anyone said was not going to be the right thing, because I was already so exhausted. I could see the day was NOT going in a positive direction, so I turned around, walked out the door, and came back in again to start my day over. I couldn’t bear being around myself in such a bad mood and I’m sure no one else could either. From the moment I walked through the door (for a second time), I flirted with everyone, which took me and them higher.
Changing the staff meeting for the better!
Practicing the Art of Flirtation, especially in a boring or negative situation, is such a fun challenge. I love asking myself “let’s see if I can change the power in the room.” In a recent staff meeting everyone had something to complain about. Instead of buying into all of that negative energy, and making things even more negative, I flirted like a true Sister Goddess. I responded with a flirt every chance I got, saying things like, “You know, what you just said was so brilliant” and “What a great idea.” And I really meant it (a good flirt has to be authentic)! The energy in the room totally shifted.
Flirting through a conflict with family:
Especially with family, things can get a little dicey sometimes, and my habit was always to revert directly to anger. Recently, I found myself in a conversation with my sister that was going nowhere good — she started to get angry, and so did I. No one was going to be a winner in that situation! I stopped and said, “You know, I can remember so many good times that you and I have had together.” She stopped and said, “What??!” and that started the whole flirtation — I could turn the conflict around and de-escalate the tension, by helping us stop and talk about all the things that are really right about being sisters, instead of all the things that are wrong.
Going from social anxiety to the life of the party:
Here’s one example. I was way far out of my comfort zone going to a function at the yacht club recently. I was in slippery territory, feeling like I didn’t want to go, that these people all had more money than me, or were smarter than me, better than me, and on and on. It was a huge event and I was so nervous about going. All of a sudden, I remembered that I know and practice the Art of Flirtation. So I walked into the party and flirted with that whole crowd. I had so much fun. When I could focus on my flirt, enjoying myself in the presence of these people, I made such great connections and had a blast. The Art of Flirtation took me out of the self-doubting mind chatter and into the pleasure of the experience. I used to pretend I was comfortable and trying to fit into social situations. Now, I actually am comfortable.
Being able to flirt has also helped to accept and receive the flirtation of others, which is huge. Now, I can believe someone when they flirt with me by paying me a compliment or asking me out. I can receive that flirtation and believe it. And I can take it in with no expected outcome, except for the pure joy of flirting. I have had some pretty magical experiences that I NEVER would have believed were possible before SWA.
Flirting with yourself:
Oh, I definitely flirt with myself! That’s what turned my life all around. It’s really just making myself right, and enjoying being with me. As I began to love myself more, it allowed me to accept the fact that other people felt that way about me, too.
I have fun with it. Like walking by a store window, and thinking “you are one hot mama.” Winking at myself in the mirror and blowing kisses at myself — I am at my best when flirting with myself.
When things are going badly, I just look at myself and say, “Ok, you are the bomb, you are just the best. Period.” I flirt shamelessly with myself. It is so hard to feel bad about yourself when you’re flirting. Sometimes I pick a part of myself that I’m not comfortable with. Then I really challenge that — I look in the mirror and make an extra effort to appreciate that part of myself, and find the good.
I just turned a red-hot 65 years of age on the 5th of July, and am looking forward to flirting for another 30-plus years!!
Now, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Do you flirt? How? Do you have fears, doubts, or hesitations around flirting? Success stories in the Art of Flirtation? I’d love to hear from you. (Oh — and are you coming to Boot Camp with me? I hope so!)
— Sister Goddess Laurie (aka “Rockstar”)
In case you missed it, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of The Womanly Arts Unplugged. And stay tuned for Part 5 next week. (Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates!)
This summer series is our way of pre-partying for Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp, which is currently open for enrollment! Boot Camp is a distance-learning program that takes a woman deep inside each of the Womanly Arts. It includes live teleclasses with Mama Gena, carefully crafted weekly exercises, and a thriving online community. Click here for all the details!