There’s this girl you see. No, not that one. And no, not that one either.
We see each other every now and then. We have a few drinks, have a few laughs and it’s great. But then – nothing more.
I say that not just to mutilate a quote from Good Will Hunting and sampled by The Ataris, but to emphasise how casual our friendship is. It can be intense for an evening, even a few times in close succession. And then we won’t see each other for months.
But this is Christmas; what have I done, another year over, and a new one soon to begin. The time of year when we don’t just sing dreadful songs, but tend to be a bit more casual with our affections; ever so slightly more daring with our words and actions. As we’re Christians it’s rather muted, not exactly the raucous Christmas party shenanigans of folklore, just the understated, passive aggressive annoyance that no one is noticing that our lip is slightly curled at the edge to indicate our pleasure at seeing someone. Or being mean to the person we like because Christian flirting is a bit like the pre-teen demonstrations of interest.
It’s a chance to break-out of the friend zone, show a bit of courage and pull a U-turn, before hitting a dead end. But all my words come back to me with shades of mediocrity. Like emptiness and harmony, I need someone to comfort me. And not just Simon and Garfunkel.
So I’m a bit more forward than normal, throwing off my normal hate for these blurred lines – I’m not linking to that video – I might hug her a little closer, linger a little longer, divide my attention in her favour. Because it is the season for flirting.
Maybe it’s the thought of a family full of married couples that makes me think it’ll be lonely this Christmas. When being solo is never commented on, but the gentle questions are asked silently, demanding an answer that the nature of my presence answers their unspoken questions.
This seems like one of those perpetual Christian questions that no one seems to have an answer to: is it okay to flirt? Sometimes I think guys are supposed to pursue girls, but not act differently around them just in case she might realise what he’s up to, but is that all flirting is? Acting differently around someone you like and who you want to like you.
What about flirting with people you don’t plan on getting together with? How is it that I’m more flirty around those I don’t have this week’s crush on, than she who I can’t get out of my head?! With someone I really like, I hide my affection, but that girl who is fun to hang around with? I’ll push the boundaries.
Relationships are complicated, and among Christians they’re ridiculous, but my heart is a package tangled up in knots someone else tied, as one Irish lyricist put it. What if I want to flirt, have a bit of fun? Is it a sideshow, a distraction or an integral part of getting to know the woman of Boy About Town’s dreams? Is it a recipe for more tangled knots, or the way to get them straightened out?
Before I head off to the final round of festive frolics this weekend – before going home to my single bed – I could do with threads’ advice as to whether I should be a festive flirt.