Thursday, November 4, 2010

How NOT to Flirt

When I was about 13 or so, my family went on a road trip. I don't remember where we went, but I know it must not have been a usual destination, because we had to use a phone book to find a Catholic church for Sunday Mass.

Well, I had a thing in those days for altar boys. I had a crush on several high school altar boys at our parish... even then I knew the good catches were the active parishioners.

So anyway, here we were at a strange parish, far from home, and I thought one of the altar boys was uncommonly cute. Knowing I'd never see him again, I thought I'd test out my flirting capabilities. So, bypassing recollected devotion and forfeiting all grace, I spent the First Reading, the Responsorial Psalm and the Second Reading trying inconspicuously to catch the eye of the albed assistant. Finally, during the Gospel (Lord, forgive me!), I made and kept eye contact.

I strained to remember every bit of etiquette my mother had been trying to instill in me since birth... I wanted to appear a gracious lady. I filed through the mental catalog. "Keep your shoulders back, don't slouch, fold your hands over your lap, the fork goes on the left..." check, check, check, n/a... oh! Yes!! Now for the crown jewel. "Open your eyes wide -- it makes them prettier."

I tried it. Suddenly, the altar boy looked more interested. Schweet success! My fledgling flirting skillz were sharp.

A minute or two into the homily and my eyes were starting to ache. How long did I have to keep this up?

Then I discovered, undoubtedly an inspiration for the salvation of my soul, that if I lowered my brow I could keep my eyes wide open without any strain.

The altar boy smiled.

I blinked my eyelashes delicately, and picked a new eyes-wide-open-brow-dropped position.

He laughed. "I think he's really into me," I thought. Then he nudged the other altar boy and nodded in my direction. The other altar boy erupted in laughter and quickly smothered it into a cough.

Things were getting dangerous. I was drawing far too much attention to myself... "I must be really hot stuff," I thought, feeling a little guilty for being so alluring in Church, so I backed off. The homily came to an end and besides a few eyes-wide-open moments scattered throughout the rest of Mass, I laid low.

It was only when we got back to the hotel that I went into the bathroom and tried out my foolproof man-catcher glances in the mirror.

Semi-normal smile with eyes a little more open than usual (during the Gospel).

Pin-in-the-rear-end "my eyes are wide open" look (which garnered a smile).

Ultra-creepy "eyes-open-brow-dropped" look (which got the laugh).

Crazed fugitive on the run "eyes-open brow dropped look" (got his buddy to laugh).

I was thoroughly self-chastised.

I didn't come out of the bathroom for another half hour, and I never flirted again.

1 comment:

Jen and Eric said...

hahahaha! You know, I tried a similar thing at church when I was about the same age... only (since my brother was the altar boy) I turned my attentions on a homeless guy in the adjacent pew. (Ours was an inner city parish and there were lots of homeless in the pews -- especially in summer. I picked this guy for his awful looks -- you know, like St. Elizabeth of Hungary taking in the lepar as though he were Christ.) I didn't have your eyebrow skills -- I merely made eye contact and smiled [what I thought to be] my most saintly and beautiful smile (afterall, I told myself, this could be Christ in disguise, right?!) This lasted through an hour of adoration, and then the guy followed us out to our car. He looked awful and smelled worse. I could tell my mom was nervous... and so, of course, I panicked! Like you, I never flirted again. Ever. (I guess my husband overlooked my lack of flirtation-skills while we were dating... just as he now overlooks my inability to notice he's low on white T-shirts until the drawer is empty. What a guy!)

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