Thursday, 16 July 2009


“If you're a gifted flirt, talking about the price of eggs will do as well as any other subject.” - Mignon McLaughlin

I had an extremely busy day today, with a workshop that involved staff from all of our campuses that are visiting Melbourne for two days in order to resolve some issues and plan ahead for the next semester. It was an intense day with much happening, presentations, discussions, work groups, activities and then dinner out for about 40 people. This dinner provided a good opportunity to relax and to talk with colleagues on a social level rather than a professional one. These social activities are a good way to build the teams and to relate to people that one works with.

Dinner was at Max’s restaurant in Hardware Lane in the City. This is a great restaurant with a good menu and wine list, reasonably priced and with great service. Although the food is down to earth, simple and not adventurous, it is done well and with style. We were served very quickly considering there 40 or so of us and we all enjoyed it immensely.

Another reason for the dinner was that we were saying farewell to a member of staff who is leaving our organisation and going back home to the USA. He has been with us for three years and as his contract is up (and his family wants to go back home) he thought it best to go back. He was an excellent professional and a good co-worker and he will be missed.

We gave him a couple of Australian art pieces as a farewell gift and we had the regulation speeches. In his speech he said how much he enjoyed living in Australia and how he would miss the place. One thing he said he would miss a lot would be the “flirting”. He said that a lot of the innocent flirting that went on in the workplace in Australia would lead to serious trouble in the USA and possibly people could get sued. That is so sad…

Flirting if done well is such fun. Max O'Rell said, “flirtation in attention without intention” and this is so true. It is a mark of high civilisation and the playfulness that is implicit in it is harmless. As I said, it must be done delicately and there is an element of innocent humour and good natured fun that underlies it (especially so in the workplace). Now to be sued for that, is completely crazy, in my opinion.

flirt |flərt| verb
1 [ intrans. ] Behave as though attracted to or trying to attract someone, but for amusement rather than with serious intentions: It amused him to flirt with her.
• ( flirt with) Experiment with or show a superficial interest in (an idea, activity, or movement) without committing oneself to it seriously: A painter who had flirted briefly with Cubism.
• ( flirt with) Deliberately expose oneself to (danger or difficulty): The need of some individuals to flirt with death.
2 [ trans. ] (of a bird) Wave or open and shut (its wings or tail) with a quick flicking motion.
• [ intrans. ] Move back and forth with a flicking or fluttering motion: The lark was flirting around the site.
A person who habitually flirts.

flirtation |-ˈtā sh ən| noun
flirtatious |-ˈtā sh əs| adjective
flirtatiously |-ˈtā sh əslē| adverb
flirtatiousness |-ˈtā sh əsnəs| noun
flirty |ˈflərdi| ( flirtier |ˈflərdiər|, flirtiest |ˈflərdi1st|).

ORIGIN mid 16th century: Apparently symbolic, the elements fl- and -irt both suggesting sudden movement; compare with flick and spurt . The original verb senses were [give someone a sharp blow] and [sneer at]; the earliest noun senses were [joke, gibe] and [flighty girl] (defined by Dr. Johnson as [a pert young hussey] ), with a notion originally of cheeky behaviour, later of playfully amorous behaviour.

Jacqui BB hosts Word Thursday


  1. Good word. And it is true we do take the fun out of flirting over here. I must say I like the way the Navy handles it with "lights". If the flirting starts getting a bit out of hand the offended person just calls yellow light warning the flirter to cool it. And a Red light means stop it.

    The light calling can be a bit flirtatious in and of itself. I used to be the only girl engineer in a major construction firm and one had to learn to cope with flirting and also to set limits without offending anyone.

  2. Mignon McLaughlin got it absolutely right!

    One either has "it" or doesn't have "it". It is a 'gift' (a gift???)that one is born with and it never goes away!

  3. I like flirting and getting flirted with, but sometimes it has been misunderstood (and gotten me in trouble)! Since then I am very careful.

  4. Love the comparison to birds - to flirt like wrens or fantails, dancing around ;)

  5. I am a completely inept flirt, and I have always greatly envied gifted flirts.

  6. Unfortunately, I beg to differ with your friend's opinion here with regards to flirting at the work place.
    First off, he passes it off as something "harmless" and as something very "fun filled and desirable" Unfortunately the target of many an undesirable flirting doesn't think of it as neither harmless nor fun.
    There is a big difference between how the perpetrator and the victim view this behavior at the workplace.
    The people who are trying to flirt with work colleagues are doing so because somewhere they are getting something out of it,,some hormonal boost, some feeling of well being, some happiness but when they call it harmless, all they are reiterating is that they have no real serious intentions of taking it any further in terms of dating or having a relationship with that basically , flirting for harmless fun is an irresponsible act of a coward.Either ways, workplace is no place for flirting.
    It might be entertaining for the person wanting to flirt this way but for the person being unnecessarily and repeatedly subjected to uninvited flirting, it is annoying, distressing and undesirable to say the least.
    If there are no set rules to where to draw the line, it borders on harassment especially when the person attempting to flirt with you is your boss or professional superior and you fear to even aptly make it known that you are hating this uninvited flirting.
    Infact, I am glad we have strict workplace rules in the US.
    Because at the end of the day I have zero respect for people who try to entertain themselves at the work place at the cost of someone else's time and peace of mind.
    A work place is a work place.It is not a night bar.
    If you are romantically interested in a person you might as well ask them out on a date and then flirt with them on that first date.If on the other hand you are married/not really looking for romance or a serious relationship and have no interest in taking this flirting any further , why flirt at all? is it coz ,inspite of your inability to take it any further you still need that hormonal boost ?Not fair.
    Flirting at a party is still okay , coz ofcourse the occasion is all casual, but then even at a party trying to flirt with someone with whom you have no real intention of having a real relationship even if the other person responds to your flirting, is a clear act of irresponsible cowardice..Ya know, a situation where you know you just use the other person for your temporary entertainment.
    So, well, i think, Australia must have clear work place harassment rules too.
    I am sure men who want to harmlessly flirt might find sexual harassment rules at the workplace a great hindrance but for women and certain men who actually just come to work to work and work alone, these rules are such a blessing.
    Just had to pitch in my two cents coz sexual harassment at the work place is so rampant and can cause such mental anguish to the victims I can't begin to tell ya!

  7. Guacomole c'est si bon - first off, I'm sorry for the bad experiences you've had too.

    But I just had to reply - I think you well illustrate what flirting *is* - flirting, like sex, always has to be consensual, otherwise it's not really that at all, is it, it's instead annoying and distressing as you described. And then, surely, it has its basis in power games, and not in playfulness as true flirting has ...

    Not intending to sound as if I think I know all about it! Just offering some analysis and thoughts ...

  8. I think Jacqui above has the right idea. Yellow light and Red light sound like a good idea to me.
    For me it depends on the "Flirter". In its true definition flirting is harmless fun, a compliment and an appreciation of the attractiveness of another person (not necessarily the exterior appearance).
    Some "Flirters" are slimy and offensive - they do not understand the meaning of the word and their motive is not paying a compliment.