30 Dates on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: Flirtology


As many of you will know from the time I normally write these posts, I’m not a morning person! (Something you can probably tell from the photo above!)  However there are a few things which will get me out of bed before midday, and one of those things is an invitation to join in with a debate on Woman’s Hour, on Radio 4.

The show broadcasts live at 10am each morning, presented by either Jane Garvey or Dame Jenni Murray.  This morning’s show was presented by Jane (who is genuinely really lovely, and so incredibly articulate!).

The topic at hand was ‘Flirtology’ – the art of flirting.  It’s interesting because the world of dating is notoriously small.  The key guest of the piece was Jean Smith, a dating expert who specialises in ‘Flirtology’ (it’s the name of her company), and the token man brought in to discuss flirting with us was the Tom Craine, the comedian who writes ‘Sex and the Single Man’ for Cosmopolitan magazine.  You might remember I reviewed his stand-up show at Edinburgh Fringe last month.

If you missed Woman’s Hour, you  can listen to a podcast of the show here.  The flirting debate starts around 32 minutes in, and you can hear Tom being put on the spot and asked to flirt with me on live radio!

I don’t think I had anything overly profound to say on the topic!  Because to be honest, flirting is something I rarely think about.  However it was interesting to discuss it – and in some ways a lot of the most interesting conversations I had about Flirting were in the green room before we went on air.

Womans Hour

With the lovely Jane Garvey from Woman’s Hour

Now, I will be reviewing one of Jean’s flirting tours next month, so I’ll be able to give you the full lowdown then, however from what she mentioned this morning, it struck me that her view of what ‘flirting’ is is more about picking up people.

I’ve never seen this as ‘flirting’.  By its very definition, flirting is playful.  It’s something you do without commitment – you flirt with an idea.  So to me it’s odd to directly equate flirting with asking someone out.  I see the two things as really different and separate.  For the most part, I think flirting is something most of us do inherently, and for the most part indiscriminately.  When you boil down the key elements of flirting, they’re not just things I do when I talk to men – they’re things I do when I talk to women.  Elements such as holding someone’s eye contact, using open body language or placing my hand on someone’s arm or shoulder when we’re talking are things which I do automatically with most people.  They’re characteristics I associate with being friendly and polite, as opposed to being flirtatious.

The ideas Jean discussed of overtly picking people out and asking them out, for me, are far beyond flirting.  I’d happily describe myself as playful and flirtatious, and yet I’d never go up to a guy and ask him out directly.  It’s actually something I’ve written about on the Huffington Post before – even in 2014 I think there’s an unwritten rule that men should ask women out.  And when us more forthright women break that rule, and try to turn the tables, it rarely works.  Yes, it might for less confident men, but I know I’m attracted to confident guys.  And the kind of men I like, would be put out by me asking them out, because I’d have ruined the chase.

It IS a really interesting topic, and one which can’t be easily condensed into one blog post, or a few minutes on the radio – so I will make sure to read Jean’s book, and to tell you guys about it next month, as well as her Flirtology flirting tour.  She certainly made some very interesting points in the green room about how different nations flirt and date differently, so I’ll be intrigued to read about it all in more detail!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

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