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March 3, 2011

The Currency of Flirting

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_currency_of_flirting_20110303/

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Awards Season is over! Thank God! While I wasn’t at the Academy Awards Sunday night, I along with the rest of the city’s scenesters have been all over the city in the last few weeks for awards parties, luncheons, and celebrations. As fun as it all is, it’s also a lot of work – for every shared moments with a C-list celeb, you have to talk to plenty of creepy awardsters who work some job in Hollywood that apparently requires no social skills. Anyway, I’ve been a little under the weather, recuperating from all the excitement.

After the Hollywood Reporter party, I was talking with my Dad and he asked if I had brought this guy that I had been seeing for a few weeks prior. I sort of laughed at the thought of it. For me, showing up to that party with a date in tow would have been a huge deal – it would have meant that I wouldn’t be able to flirt with other men which impacts not just meeting men in a relationship context but also in a career context. It also would have meant introducing him to people like my boss or other acquaintances who might then put me in the category of people out of the single’s box. Career-wise, I’m not sure I want to be out of that box yet.

Before you get all high fallutin’ about my failure as a woman to want to breed immediately, please take note that I didn’t make the rules of the game, I just play by them. And the ability to flirt with men, (especially accomplished men which often means especially older men), is a networking tool just as useful as Linked-in. We live in tough times. Using every tool at our disposal to get ahead separates the wheat from chaff in competitive industries. Who really wins if the girls who choose to take the high road and never engage in this type of flirting end up without the careers they wanted?

When you work in a business that relies heavily on networking, single girls have an advantage. Like it or not, a man will treat you differently if he knows you’re “single.” In Hollywood, that’s currency and to not trade on it, is simply a wasted opportunity.

An older single male Director friend of mine took me to a movie screening this week. I enjoy his company and it’s completely plutonic and comfortable and not really that flirtatious. But at the same time, I would feel weird putting myself in that situation if I were in a relationship. Even if my boyfriend said he was fine with me going to the movie with a straight new male friend, the entire situation would just feel a little off. I’m not saying it’s wrong if it happens. But I would just be aware of the situation more and I wouldn’t feel as comfortable making the plans. Plus, I’m not sure that I would have been invited in the first place. Most guys would feel weird inviting another man’s girlfriend out for a meal or a movie even if his intentions were purely platonic. But I’ve been glad for the chance to get to know him and who knows how we might be able to work together in the future?

Furthermore, when you show up with a date, you don’t create the opportunity to get hit on. At a Hollywood party during awards season, every time a guy hits on you, it’s an opportunity – for a relationship yes, but also an opportunity to work together and in a one-industry town like L.A., plenty of movies are made and deals are entered into because of chance meetings like this.

Is this all a good reason not to be in a relationship? Of course not. Being in a rewarding relationship is well worth sacrificing being able to flirt for any reason. I’m just not willing to give that up, until I’m in that kind of relationship. But in the meantime, is it so bad that I enjoy make the most of showing up alone?


Tamara Shayne Kagel is a writer living in Santa Monica, CA. To find out more about her, visit www.tamarashaynekagel.com and follow her on twitter @tamaraskagel. © Copyright 2011.

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