Ask an Egyptian male about his thoughts on his wife or girlfriend soliciting any form of male attention and the first thing you’ll notice is his sudden change in posture, slightly clenched jaw and an immediate “Why? Is somebody hitting on my girl?” The fact that some guy might find his girl attractive is enough to get him started on rolling up his sleeves. Interestingly enough though, it is not so dangerous to compliment a French woman in the company of her husband or boyfriend. French men do not find it offensive that their female counterparts attract the admiration of other men. If anything there is a sense of pride in knowing that their woman still has ‘it’.
That’s not to say that the same French man will watch idly as another bloke makes a move on his woman, but discreet admiration aka ‘flirting’ is highly acceptable in France. And according to one of my favorite books called ‘What French Women Know About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind’, flirting there is a civic duty. It is the lifeblood that beats at the core of French society. The women not only relish the seductive flirtation. They have come to expect it.
From another little book called ‘Women and Men: A Philosophical Conversation’ comes this little excerpt. It is what one feminist said to a man she liked: “Did I really set out to do my best to charm you? I’m sure I must have done it spontaneously, because you were a good-looking, dynamic young man and it amused me to catch your attention. But for what purpose? For nothing. For a moment of pleasure, the pleasure of being able, fleetingly, to charm another person. I must confess I’ve enjoyed that pleasure my whole life.”
God bless the French for always looking out for their pleasure. Nothing more. Nothing less. Could we be missing out on something here? Their message is quite straightforward. Flirting is just another pleasurable part in life that when done in good taste should be appreciated. Now taking a closer look at how we Egyptians feel about flirting, we might secretly love it just as much as the French but we are programmed to rebuff any advances. A guy I know who recently became single again saw this beautiful girl at a wedding. The girl kept looking over at him and catching his eyes and so he felt encouraged. He walked over to her and started a conversation. In a split second the very same sweet looking girl who’d been smiling his way stiffened up and blew him off.
“I really don’t get!” he complained to me. “I didn’t offend her in anyway. All I asked was if she was a friend to the bride or groom and if we’d graduated from the same college. She acted pissed off and only answered in monosyllabic words. What the f***?”
The ironic thing was that the girl actually did like him and made several inquiries about him the very next day but that’s the way we’re programmed. If we are friendly when a man we don’t know talks to us, then we think it means we’re easy.
But my argument is this. What harm can there really be in some harmless flirting? If someone decides to tell me that I look far younger than my real age, and I am genuinely flattered, what good will it do me to shoot him in the face? The only thing I can think of is that I’ll eventually wind up fishing for compliments later on after I become known as the ‘mean-watch-what-you-say-to-her-b****’.
So in the spirit of enjoying all the good things in life, why don’t we just flirt a little? Why not try to engage in that same little pleasure that the French are committed to? We just might learn to appreciate the opposite sex a little more.