Reading What French Women Know by Debra Ollivier, I am reminded why I am a Francophile at heart. For one, French women never apologize for who they are. And two, French women (and men) understand flirtation.
In France flirting is so integral to the culture it dictates where women and men sit in groups. For one, women sit next to men, not next to each other. Two, couples are generally separated for the evening. This seating arrangement encourages people to mingle, meet each other and of course, flirt. French people not only understand the importance of broadening their circle of friends and acquaintances by meeting new people, and not sticking to those they already know; but they also know a good flirt here and there is healthy for each individual and couples.
Truly, there is an art to flirting. Americans do not have this art learned. A good flirt gives a person a lift, but also only goes so far. This second part of the equation is where the art comes into play. Flirting should make someone feel fabulous, but it should not cross lines of personal space and propriety. Flirts should generally be innocent but with a hint of mischevousness. They should never make a person feel uncomfortable or pressured; especially if they are in a relationship. French women and men get a lift, too, when their partner gets a flirt; it’s a compliment that the person they are with are admired by others.
In the US, flirting not only goes too far, but partners feel jealous rather than proud when someone flirts with their significant other. Why does flirting go too far in the states? Generally, many things go too far in here. Partners feel the need to know everything about their S.O.’s. As conservative as Americans are in many aspects of interpersonal relations, they sure do love to talk them to death; it’s almost as if as long as it’s “only” verbal, it doesn’t count. And so, American flirting takes on an overly intimate twist the French balk at; and which, understandably, Americans in relationships would feel uncomfortable with their S.O.’s participating in.
Practicing the French flirt, partners will not only feel more secure in their relationships, but they will gain a new appreciation for their S.O.’s. Sometimes it’s good to see your S.O. through the eyes of someone else, you might find a surprize every now and then. For single women, the French flirt allows a woman to feel admired rather than objectified. In general, the French flirt inspires a respect for relationships and people that is obtrusively lacking in America.