Back in eighth grade I was convinced I'd never marry because I was painfully shy, and see, marrying a guy would entail speaking to one first, and like that was ever going to happen.
Fortunately, I broke out of my shell a bit in high school and ended up with lots of guy friends. So that issue resolved itself.
But I never, ever learned to flirt.
It's this void in my female psyche. A gene I lack. Or something. I seriously don't get it and never have.
I had a friend back from our high school years (rival high school, but I loved her anyway . . . bulldogs, schmulldogs . . .) who was so brilliant at flirting to the point that she often didn't realize she was doing it.
We were both in Into the Woods together. She had a boyfriend. Yet she constantly flirted with the guy who played Jack. Jack, poor kid, had no prayer of ever winning her heart, but she flirted with him so much that he hung on for the entire show, thinking that maybe, just maybe . . .
More than once I had to tell her to knock it off, she's doing it again. But I watched in open fascination. How does one do that flirting thing? It was almost a scientific phenomenon to me at that point. I could identify that she was flirting, but I couldn't figure out how such a thing was accomplished.
Later, as BYU freshman, she and I had a class together. On one of the first days of class, she pointed to a guy in the back of the room and said, "By the end of the semester, he's going to ask me out."
Talk about stalking prey. I was stunned and amazed.
But also a bit disgusted. Because I knew one ingredient to her flirtiness, and I wanted none of it: she pretended to be stupid. She was actually exceedingly intelligent. She got several 5s on AP tests, including on the Calculus test her junior (not senior) year. She was a Stirling Scholar. And so on. But in front of guys, you'd think she couldn't count to 20 with her shoes on.
I knew there had to be more to flirting than acting dumb, but I never did figure it out. And I never believed people when they said that the first few days of university classes were a waste because of guys and girls checking each other out.
Me? I was checking out the syllabus.
About ten years after getting married, a friend of mine said she'd gone back to BYU campus for something and was sad that the guys no longer checked her out, that she was obviously an "old" lady now.
My brow furrowed. Yet again, my lack of some feminine gene was apparent. I was never aware of guys checking or NOT checking me out. Guys actually DID that? I wish I'd known to look for it. Maybe if I'd noticed some guy checking me out, I wouldn't have felt like such a dork.
When walking across campus, I was always thinking about my term paper or (very likely) actually reading one of the many books I was assigned. (I got rather good at avoiding people and navigating stairs and the like while reading.)
So it's no surprise, really, that I didn't meet my husband in a flirty environment. As cha cha partners on a summer ballroom dance team, we had two months of becoming friends before our first date.
When I realized I kinda liked this guy, I decided to test him. We were chatting in the hall outside the practice room when he mentioned an assignment that had him worried. It was a big part of his grade, and if he didn't get a good enough score, he might lose his scholarship.
Really? Man, tough. . . . And then I worked the fact into the conversation that I had a scholarship TOO, just to see his reaction. See? Your dance partner is a smart girl. Whaddaya think of that?
Didn't faze him. That's, I believe, the closest I ever got to actual flirting.
It's also the first big point he got in my book.
The second was when he quoted Shakespeare.