|Long eyelashes needed for flirting?|
Someone flirted with me the other day. That might not sound like an earth-shattering event, but for an old married woman like me, it’s pretty rare. In fact, I’ve almost forgotten how to do it and felt unsure how to respond!
I used to love flirting. That tiny frisson that runs through you when you notice that someone has noticed you. The frequent checking to see if they’re still checking you out. Then eye contact, perhaps an exchange of knowing looks or shared amusement at some joke. Finally, chatting, joking, talking in double entendres – saying one thing while your eyes are telling him something else. All very exciting and great fun, even if it doesn’t lead anywhere. (Although even better if it does, obviously!)
Yet, when you get married, you’re not supposed to do that sort of thing any more, so you stop (at least with other people).
But although I may have forgotten how to do it in real life, as a novelist, I love having my characters flirting. In fact, it’s absolutely essential! Because the best thing about a romantic novel (IMO) is the “will-they-won’t-they” part, where you know they’re probably going to get together in the end, but they have a lot of verbal sparring and flirting to do first.
I love the kind of hero who dares to gently tease the heroine, making her like him against her better judgement. A hero who has a sense of humour is always good, and if he can use it for flirting, so much the better. Some of Georgette Heyer’s heroes were superb at that, making the heroines flustered but excited. Absolutely perfect!
I also like the kind of novel where the hero and heroine start off by being annoyed with something the other did. This isn’t strictly flirting, but nonetheless it has the same effect. As Def Leppard say in their song, “when love and hate collide”, that’s when the sparks fly. And that’s when you know these two characters were actually made for each other, even if they can’t see it themselves.
When did you last enjoy a flirt? If it was in the pages of a book, please let me know the title so I can buy it!